by Dana Paxton
Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships first series medal races were held on the spectator-friendly Centre Course. Paige Railey won a bronze medal in the Laser Radial, while Zach Railey finished ninth overall in the Finn.
Paige Railey racing in the Radial medal race - ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011
In Women’s Match Racing, Genny Tulloch, Jenn Chamberlin and Alice Manard Leonard continued in the repechage round, and Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih were the top scoring US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics team in the Star class.
It’s good to win bronze here,' said Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) shortly after arriving on Bathers Bay Beach from the medal race course. 'It’s a bigger win than any of the other Worlds, and I’m proud to represent the US and win a medal.'
Going into the medal race, Railey was in bronze medal position with a chance to move up to second overall with a good performance. Soon after the race start, Railey found herself on the wrong side of the course and slowly fell behind the fleet at the weather mark rounding. 'Off the start there were a lot of quick moves and I was just on the wrong side of them,' she explained. 'At first weather mark all I could think is ‘I have to catch up’ and I was thinking ‘please let luck be on my side here’.'
She fought hard, but the medal race is only 30 minutes long and with only nine other competitors, a bad start and first leg can cost dearly. Railey finished the medal race in ninth. 'When you’re in the back it definitely feels like a really long race,' she pointed out.
Railey was third to overall winner Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and second place Evi van Acer (BEL).
Railey (right) heads off onto the first upwind leg - ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011
Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) saw his overall position change overnight in the Finn class from ninth place to eighth when British sailor and overall points leader Ben Ainslie was disqualified from race nine and 10. 'It didn’t change our plan at all, the points stayed the same,' said Railey.
Going into the race, Railey concentrated on executing a plan against the nine other helmsmen. 'The goal going into the race was to stay close to the Estonian sailor and to finish ahead of the British sailor,' he explained. 'That would have moved me up to seventh overall. Unfortunately it didn’t go that way.'
The medal race has a target time of 30 minutes and it can be very intense. Railey had a strong start and held a fourth-place position for the first upwind leg, then tightened the gap on the first downwind. From the gate rounding, he was fouled on port tack by a competitor and that cost him a good position on the course.
'I felt like I was in a very good position at the top of the second beat with a full downwind and another lap to go,' he explained. 'Unfortunately, after that, the two sailors I was watching went ahead of me. From that point on I wasn’t able to get back into it. But, we’ll try to learn from it and not let it happen the next time.'
The Finn class medal race was the last held for the day and it took place on the same spectator-friendly bay course. The spectators were out in full force cheering on their favorite country. Overall winner was Giles Scott (GBR)
After a three-hour postponement in Women’s Match Racing, Genny Tulloch’s (Houston, Texas/Sausalito, Calif.) 'Team GETSailing' of Alice Manard Leonard (New Orleans, La./East Haven, Conn.) and Jenn Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.) has four wins and four losses in the repechage round. Racing continues on Monday.
The Star class racing, which is scheduled for December 11 to 17, began with two races. Mark Mendelblatt (Miami, Fla.) and Brian Fatih (Miami, Fla.) had the top USSTAG performance of the day with second and ninth place finishes. They are in fourth overall in the 26 boat fleet, behind Percy/Simpson (GBR), Stanjek/Fritjof (GER) and O’Leary/Burrows (IRL).
The Men’s RS:X, Laser, Women’s 470 and 49er classes will race December 12 to 18.
To follow the live blog from event organizers and link to live tracking, please visit the event website. For class results click here.
L to R: Railey, Bouwmeester and van Acker - ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011
US Sailing Team website