by Dana Paxton
Whilst the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider sails into the conclusion at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères, one day remains to qualify for the medal round on Saturday. Today marked the return of the French mistral wind and with it continued improvement on overall performance.
Finn action - 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
Top performance went to Sydney Bolger and Sarah Lihan who scored another race win to put them into the Women’s 470 top 10. They join their team mates Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha, who are in third overall. Full results are posted online at the event’s website.
For the second day in a row Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Sarah Lihan (New York, N.Y.) won a race in Women’s 470. With the win they catapulted up to 10th overall. They are only equaled by the Brazilian team in first, with two wins apiece.
Lihan explained how the final race came together. 'With the advice of our local knowledge, our coach Romain Bonnaud, we decided that the left side was favored with more pressure and a consistent angle at the top of the beat,' she said. 'We setup ourselves up for a start that would let us hold on starboard, off the line, for a long time. We did that and tacked once. That put us into a really good position, tacking before the majority of the fleet. We rounded first and stayed first and finished first.'
As they go into Friday’s final two races, their goal is to advance to the medal round. 'We haven’t been looking at results until today,' said Lihan. 'We know where we stand and what our goals are. We’ll be looking to post some good scores.'
Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) continued in the top three overall and now sit in third overall behind Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) and Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA).
'A big goal for us for this regatta was starting and today we definitely made serious progress with that goal,' said Haeger. 'Even though our races didn’t end up how we would have liked, we hit the dock feeling like we accomplished something and improved as a team.'
For Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) in the Finn class, the week has had its ups and downs, with his race results spanning from second to a 23rd. 'It’s going alright and I’m learning a lot,' he said. 'I’m looking forward to the last couple races. It’s been a variety of conditions. It’s nice to sail and see where you stack up.'
At this regatta, he and Gordon Lamphere are coached by High Performance Director Charlie McKee, who Paine explained has been valuable to his improvement. 'He has helped with getting the (starting) line sight and making sure I’m always in front of the pack I’m starting with.'
With only two races to go, Paine was clear on his intent. 'Making the top 10,' he said. 'Tomorrow it’s all on the line and I have to crank out two good ones.'
The final series of racing concludes on Friday, April 26 where the top 10 in each Olympic class (top eight in 49er and 49er FX) advance to the medal series on Saturday, April 27. Racing starts at 11am local time.
Standings to date for U.S. athletes:
Overall, Class, Sailor (hometown), races scores (At the start of the final series, sailors take their cumulative score from the qualifying series as their 'carry forward' score. It is reflected in the scoreline as the first result.)
3rd, 470 Women - Anne Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)* 6-2-4-9-8
10th, 470 Women – Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Sarah Lihan (New York, N.Y.) * ** 23-14-1-18-1
26th, 49er - Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.)* retired from racing
34th, 49er - Ryan Pesch (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)* 15-6-14-2-11-10-15 – silver fleet
42nd, 49er – Brad Funk (Miami, Fla.) and Erik Aakhus (Corona del Mar, Calif.)** 11-14-20-DNF-8-7-13 – silver fleet
15th, 49er FX - Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.) and Christine Neville (Oakland, Calif.) ** 18-14-13-15-20
15th, Finn – Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)* 9-20-13-15-BFD – gold fleet
43rd, Finn – Gordon Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.)* 4-7-11-11-17 – silver fleet
23rd, Laser - Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)* 34-36-6-20-26 – gold fleet
63rd, Laser – Erik Bowers (Excelsior, Minn.) 11-6-15-42-15 – silver fleet
15th, RS:X Women – Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) 14-16-15-18-8
* Denotes member of US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
** Denotes member of US Sailing Development Team
Sailing World Cup website