by Dana Paxton
At the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, the final races in Men’s 470 took place with Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl finishing 14th overall for the series, while Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan are in the hunt for a medal in Women’s 470. Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi began their Quarter-Final match-up against Finland and are down two losses in the first-to-three-points series. Racing continues on Aug. 8.
Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan ripping in the 470
Today Stu McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) completed the 10-races series in the men’s two person dinghy (Men’s 470). They scored a seventh in race 9 and fourth in race 10.
'It’s great to close on a good note,' said McNay after racing. 'The week didn’t go exactly as we wanted it to. There was a lot of disappointment in there, but I can feel really good about how Graham and I, our abilities as a team.'
With today’s races they improved their overall standing to 14th overall in the 27-boat fleet.
'We had a good day,' said Biehl. 'It was certainly the best racing of our Olympics. By and large when it was windy we had a difficult time holding our lane. When we got to the harbor today, we knew the course. We are a strong team and we know we can pull it together when the conditions suit us. We struggled in the windier conditions.'
As 2008 Olympians, McNay explained that representing the USA is a proud moment. 'You are the only team in that class from your country. You definitely feel a responsibility, but also a freedom that knowing we’re out there to do our best representing our country. It’s a great experience. There aren’t many times in your life where you can devote yourself singularly to one thing. In that way Olympic sailing is a very rewarding endeavor.'
The top 10 competitors advanced to the Medal Race scheduled on Aug. 9 in Weymouth and Portland
McNay and Biehl also competed in the 2008 Olympic Games where they finished 13th. Meet the Team
After eight races, Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y. ) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) are in seventh overall in women’s two person dinghy (Women’s 470), tied on points with the fifth and sixth placed teams, Brazil and Germany, respectively.
The team struggled after the race 7 start, but as Clark explained, they made their way back to finish third.
'First race the start was ok, but we ended up dropping off the fleet,' said Clark. 'They got a wind shear and we struggled with our height. That separation made us come off of the left (side) a little bit before the left shift and to the middle before the right shift, and we got stuck between two sides and lost our boat speed. Unfortunately we rounded in last.
'We had to do a quick re-check there. Didn’t have a great run, but we set ourselves up for the leeward mark rounding. The fleet was so close together, maybe we were last, but distance-wise we were doing well. Second beat we locked into the pressure. Sarah did a great job playing the shifts. We got our boat speed up, and had a strong run, a strong beat. To go from last to third place made us confident for the second race.'
With some rain around the racecourse area, race 8 was postponed leading competitors to change game plan slightly. 'Even though the sky still looked the same, we had a lot more left pressure,' explained Lihan. 'I think we did a really good job of keeping in sync with what was happening.' Going into the last day of racing on Aug. 8, the two will keep pushing hard to see how it will shake out for the medal race.
'We need a solid day tomorrow to put ourselves into a position for the medal race,' said Clark. 'It’s all about putting us in striking distance.'
After the 10-race series is completed, the top 10 competitors in the overall standings will advance to the Medal Race on Aug. 10.
In Women’s Match Racing, the Quarter Final rounds began with USA racing against Finland. Two matches were run and the outcome is that Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi are now down two losses.
Americans Anna Tunnicliffe, Debbie Capozzi and Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer competing in the Women’s Match Racing event at the London Olympics 2012
As Vandemoer explained the two matches were very close racing with the boats evenly matched. 'First race we lead most of the race and last 5-6 boat lengths we may have went for a little more than we should have,' she said. 'They fall for a fake jibe and you have one planned, and it didn’t go our way. On the second (race), we were pretty even. They had a little piece of us on starboard the whole time, so they were able to stay ahead. We never got enough to get ahead. The Nothe course is really shifty, and you have your game plan and if something comes down you gotta roll with it.'
With Finland winning the first two matches of the 'first to three wins' series, it is now up to USA to come back Wednesday and win three straight.
'It’s all part of the game,' said Tunnicliffe after racing. 'We’ve been down many times in situations before, like in our Trials. We sailed two really great races today. We’re not disappointed about how we sailed. Tomorrow’s a new day and we’re looking forward to it.'
Racing continues in Women’s 470 at 1200 BST, and the Quarter Final Round of Women’s Match Racing with the remaining matches between USA vs FIN at 1400 BST. Times are preliminary and possible to change.
Results in concluded events:
12th, Finn (Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy), Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) 10-15-13-17-2-8-11-8-12-19 (completed Aug 3)
29th, Laser, Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) 35-42-30-28-16-32-19-8-33-(44)
20th, Women’s RS:X Windsurfing, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) 22-18-18-18-20-22-23-27[OCS]-16-16 (completed Aug. 5)
22nd, RS:X Windsurfing, Bob Willis (Chicago, Ill.) 7-10-11-25-BFD-28-24-33-11-30 (completed Aug. 5)
7th, Star (Men’s Keelboat), Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (both Miami, Fla.) 5-14-5-3-8-9-5-10-3-11-6
8th, Laser Radial, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) 8-5-12-17-4-9--20-9-8-6 (12 points)
15th, 49er, Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (Naples, Fla./N. Pomfret, Vt.) 6-10-16-1-7-13--18-2-17-5-20-17-8-17
14th, Men’s 470, Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) 17-22-10-3-23-24-6-18-7-4
Overall standings to date:
Women’s Match Racing, Eight wins, Three losses, Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) – Quarter Final round vs Finland, current score is Zero wins, Two losses.
7th, Women’s 470, Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 7-3-5-7-19-20-3-9
**BFD is black flag penalty
US Sailing website