by Dana Paxton
It was 'do or die' today for sailors in the final medal races of US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR. Reserved for top-ten fleet racing finishers in Finn, 49er, Men’s 470, Women’s 470, Laser, Laser Radial, Men’s RS:X, Women’s RS:X and Star classes, the medal races also included 'knock-out' Finals and Petit Finals, with two boats each, from the Elliott 6m (women’s match racing) class.
Argentinian Laser sailor Julio Algosaray - Rolex Miami OCR
The racing formats replicate those that will be used at the Olympic Sailing Regatta in the 2012 Games, and as so designed, they did not fail to deliver a final punch of excitement to six days of racing here for 716 sailors from 53 nations.
'In the final medal count, 14 different countries won 39 medals, with eight different countries sharing Gold,' said US Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee Chair Dean Brenner (Wallingford, Conn.) at the final Rolex Prizegiving, held at Coral Reef Yacht Club. He explained that while 10 Olympic classes determined podium positions today, three Paralympic classes completed racing yesterday to determine medalists.
With finishes counting double points today in the fleet racing, Sweden’s Rasmus Myrgren finished third in the 104-boat Laser class, the largest here, and added six points to his score line, putting him three points out in front of Argentina’s Julio Alsogaray for the Gold. Taking Bronze after Alsogaray’s Silver was yesterday’s leader Paul Goodison (GBR), the 2008 Laser Olympic Gold Medalist.
'Among us three, plus Nick Thompson (GBR), it was who-beat-whom to take the Gold today,' said Myrgren. 'When Paul and Julio started messing around with each other on the first downwind leg, it made it possible for me to catch up and by the last downwind leg the three of us were each a half boat length apart in a race to the finish, with two others ahead of us (who were not in contention).' Myrgren’s break came when he surfed ahead of Alsogaray on 'the last couple of waves' at the finish to take third, leaving Alsogaray to fourth and Goodison to sixth.
It was sweet redemption for Myrgren, who was second behind Goodison going into the medal races at the 2008 Olympics and the only one with a mathematical chance at beating him for Gold. 'In that race, Paul made sure to cover me, and we were both two minutes behind the rest of the fleet at the finish, because all he had to do was beat me. I was dead last, and so I fell to sixth overall. It is indicative of the pressures of a medal race on your final score.'
In the 58-boat Laser Radial class US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA) had a Gold Medal sewn up today as long as she didn’t get disqualified. 'I didn’t push it at all today,' said Railey, noting that her throw-out race for her lead-up series was a 59-pointer acquired from a black flag in race two. 'I rounded the first mark fourth or fifth and just stayed relaxed, then rounded the next mark in first! The others were battling for the other medals, so I felt almost like I was watching it from the outside.' Railey said Sarah Steyaert (FRA) passed her on the last leg to win and take the Silver Medal. 'It was down to one boat for her, so she was sailing hard,' said Railey. Evi van Acker (BEL), who had topped the scoreboard for several days this week, finished fourth today for eight points and the Bronze Medal, based on a tie-breaker in scoring that had her showing the same overall points as Steyaert.
It was a triple-play for Great Britain in the 37-boat Finn class, with Giles Scott winning the Gold Medal; Ben Ainslie taking the Silver; and Andrew Mills the Bronze. Winning over half of his races in the leadup series, Scott said getting good starts gave him a half-boat length jump on the fleet to 'enable me to tack off when I wanted.' Nevertheless, he had gold to lose today if he had finished even one spot farther back than he did (fifth). That was because Ainslie won the race today, with Mills finishing sixth. Ainslie is a four-time (three-time Gold) Olympic medalist and three-time ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year.
Ben Ainslie 2nd overall in Finn, GBR 3, wins last race of event - Rolex Miami OCR
'Today’s medal race was pretty tricky,' said Scott. 'I was trying to go after Andrew and Ben just to kind of ruffle them a bit, and I managed to give Ben a penalty turn (before the start). Unfortunately that penalty turn forced him out to the right, which was favored, and he won the race, which kind of made things a bit difficult for me. But holding on to fifth was what I needed to do, and that’s what I did, so I’m massively happy!'
In Men’s 470, the battle between two British teams has been intense all week long, but today Nic Asher/Elliot Willis turned in the Gold Medal performance, pushing British teammates Luke Patience/Stuart Bithell (yesterday’s leaders) to third overall for the Bronze. Australia’s Mathew Belcher/Malcolm Page, 470 class world champions who are ranked #1 in the world, took the Silver slot between them.
By winning today’s medal race in the 24-boat Women’s 470 class, Argentina’s 2008 Olympians Maria Fernanda Sesto/Consuelo Monsegur moved themselves past Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA) to snag the bronze, showing how critical the medal race can be in securing a podium finish. 'We had it in mind to win, but if the French had come in second we would not have made the medal. We had to beat them and put one boat between us.'
Skipper Fernanda Sesto added, 'It was not an easy, this medal race; you need to be mentally fast, focusing not just on what is happening but what will happen.'
Yesterdays’ leaders Ingrid Petijean/ Nadege Douroux (FRA) took the gold on merit of a fourth-place finish today while Penny Clark/ Katrina Hughes (GBR), in second overall yesterday, maintained that position for the Silver Medal after turning in a second-place finish.
In the 57-boat Star class, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA), who together won the Star Olympic Silver Medal in 2008, clinched their 10-race series and the Gold Medal here, winning today’s race and leaving the battle for the Silver Medal to Sweden, Canada and France. When Sweden’s Fredrik Loof/Max Salminen finished third today, they assured themselves the second spot on the podium, knocking Xavier Rohart/Pierre Alexis Ponsot (FRA) out of contention and leaving Richard Clark/Tyler Bjorn (CAN) to collect the Bronze.
Top-three positions from yesterday were maintained in the 29-boat 49er class when GBR’s John Pink/ Rick Peacock finished third today to claim the Gold and lead, by a whopping 19 points, fellow teammates Paul Brotherton/Mark Asquith (GBR) in the overall standings. Brotherton and Asquith won today’s race, securing the Silver over yet another British team, Dave Evans/Edward Powys, who took home Bronze.
In the 30-strong RS:X Women’s (windsurfing) fleet, Spain’s Marina Alabau seemed untouchable here. With eight races in her lead-up series, she had six of those counting as victories. Today she finished seventh, which was good enough for Gold and a five-point spread over Silver Medalist Bryony Shaw (GBR) and another six over Bronze medalist Laura Linares (ITA). Alabau has won the last three Rolex Miami OCRs and says the competition this year has been the toughest. 'It is closer to the Olympics and the level is higher. Everybody is more prepared.'
In RS: X Men’s, with 37 boards, Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) kept his early regatta lead to finish fifth today and take the Gold Medal. Only two points behind him was Nick Dempsey (GBR) for Silver. Julien Bontemps (FRA) surged past Nimrod Mashiah (ISR) on the scoreboard today to take the Bronze. He was second to Mashiah’s sixth today and shared the same overall points, but the tiebreaker favored Mashiah.
Match Racing started early this morning, with Claire Leroy/ Elodie Bertrand/Marie Riou (FRA) meeting Anna Tunnicliffe/Molly Vandemoer/Debbie Capozzi (Plantation, Fla., USA/Redwood City, Calif./Bayport, N.Y., USA) in a first-to-three points 'knockout' Finals match. Serious sailing went down as Leroy’s team took the first two matches and Tunnicliffe came back to win the third. A fourth and final match went to Leroy, giving her the Gold and Tunicliffe the Silver.
'It is what it is,' said Tunnicliffe, the three-time (consecutive and current) Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and a member of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. 'If you lose, you want to lose in a good race, and it was a really good race...very entertaining for the spectators, with lots of lead changes. Claire is one of the most experienced match racers on the circuit, and sometimes I beat her and sometimes she beats me; it was going to be who was on their game today.'
Leroy is the 2008 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship and is ranked second to Tunnicliffe’s fourth on the women’s world match racing circuit. They both are ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year.
In the Petit Finals for Bronze (a first-to-two points knockout match), US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member Sally Barkow/Alana O’Reilly/Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham (Nashotah, WI.,/Charleston SC, Miami Beach FL, USA) posted a win-loss score of 2-1 to win over Lucy Macgregor/Mary Rook/ Kate Macgregor (GBR).
US Sailing’s Golden Torch Trophy, awarded to the U.S. sailor with the best overall performance at US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR, this year went to Laser Radial Gold Medalist Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.). The torch, from the 1980 Moscow Olympics, was presented by the Russian Olympic Committee to Andrew Kostanecki – United States Olympic Sailing Committee from 1985 to 1988. Mr. Kostanecki gave the torch to US Sailing as an award for aspiring Olympians and Paralympians. Railey also received the award last year.
US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR 2012 started Monday and has returned to Biscayne Bay annually since 1990. The event is the second of seven stops on the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup circuit. The USA had the largest contingent of sailors with 198, followed by Canada (97), Great Britain (39), then Italy (36).
US SAILING has partnered with the city of Miami to provide world-class venues for competition. Additional hosts for the event include Coral Reef Yacht Club, Key Biscayne Yacht Club, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Miami Rowing Club and Shake-a-Leg Miami. These sailing organizations host classes onshore, as well as help run the on-the-water racing. The Coral Reef Yacht Club also hosts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
In addition to title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., US Sailing’s 2011 Rolex Miami OCR is also sponsored by AlphaGraphics, Gowrie Group, Chubb Insurance, Sperry Top-Sider, Harken McLube, Trinity Yachts, University of Miami Hospital and Kattack.
A complete roster of competitors can be viewed at the event website, RMOCR.ussailing.org, where real-time racecourse blogging, commentary and fan interaction, regatta results, photos and news updates will be integrated into a live coverage platform once racing begins. Video highlights produced by Gary Jobson and presented by Rolex air daily and are available on-demand on the event website. Fans can also follow the event Facebook/RolexMiamOCR and Twitter/ RolexMiamOCR!here!new
French team wins 470 women’s race - Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux - Rolex Miami OCR
470 WOMEN (9 RACES)
1. Ingrid Petijean/ Nadege Douroux (FRA) 1-2-3-4-12-5-1--8- (36)
2. Penny Clark/ Katrina Hughes (GBR) 4-4-2-6-1-[25/BFD]-6-10-4 (37)
3. Maria Fernanda Sesto/ Consuelo Monsegur (ARG) 6-3-7-1--12-3-7-2-(41)
470 MEN (10 RACES)
1. Nic Asher/Elliot Willis (GBR) 1-3-5-2-6-10-10--2-6 (45)
2. Matthew Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS) 2-8-10-3-3--2-3-10-10 (51)
3. Luke Patience/Stuart Bithell (GBR) 3/RDG-2-2-5-1-8-1--9-20 (51)
LASER (11 RACES)
1. Rasmus Myrgren (SWE) 7-3-1-1-1-3-4-12--6 (38)
2. Julio Alsogaray (ARG) 5-1-3-5-2--1-5-11-8 (41)
3. Paul Goodison (GBR) 1-2-8-1-[53/DSQ]-1-2-1-15-12 (43)
LASER RADIAL (11 RACES)
1. Paige Railey (USA) 1-[59/BFD]-4-6-2-5-1-4-2-4-4 (33)
2. Sarah Steyaert (FRA) 10-6-6-4-1-3--7-14-3-2 (56)
3. Evi Van Acker (BEL) 2/RDG-2-1-1-7-16-3--15-1-8 (56)
FINN (10 RACES)
1. Giles Scott (GBR) 1-1-1-1-[38/OCS]-7-4-1-3-10 (29)
2. Ben Ainslie (GBR) 5-2-5-2-8-[38/RAF]-1-3-2-2 (30)
3. Andrew Mills (GBR) 7-6-2-3--4-2-2-1-6 (33)
Star (11 Races)
1. Robert Scheidt/Bruno Robert (BRA) 1-2-9-1-9-7--11-1-5-2 (48)
2. Fredrik Loof (SWE) 5-3-7-3-15-6--36-3-13-6-6 (97)
3. Richard Clarke (CAN)6-6-6-9-6-16-5-7-18--20 (99)
RS: X WOMEN 9 RACES
1. Marina Alabau (ESP) -1-1-1-1-1--6-14 (26)
2. Bryony Shaw (GBR) -2-2-2-2-6-4-5-8 (31)
3. Laura Linares (ITA) 5-5-6--5-5-2-7-2 (37)
RS: X MEN (9 RACES)
1. Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) 1-4-1-1-2-4--10 (24)
2. Nick Dempsey (GBR) 2-2-4-4-3-1-2--8 (26)
3. Julien Bontemps (FRA) 5--6-6-8-2-1-4-4 (36)
49ER (15 RACES)
1. John Pink/ Rick Peacock (GBR) 4-1-5-1-1-1-4--1-1-2-1-4-4-3-6 (39)
2. Paul Brotherton/Mark Asquith (GBR) 1-3-2-5-2-10-2-10-5-3-5-3-2-3-[30/DNS]-2 (58)
3. Dave Evans/Edward Powys (GBR) 2-6-1-3-3-2-5-1-2-2-6-10-[30/OCS]-11-10-10 (74)
Elliott 6m (Women’s Match Racing)
1. Claire Leroy/Elodie Bertrand/Marie Riou (FRA)
2. Anna Tunnicliffe/Molly Vandemoer/Debbie Capozzi (Plantation, Fla., USA/Redwood City, Calif., USA/(Bayport, N.Y., USA)
3. Sally Barkow (Nashotah, WI., USA)/ Alana O’Reilly (Charleston SC, USA)/ Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham (Miami Beach FL, USA)
SKUD-18 (6 RACES)
1. Daniel Fitzgibbon/ Liesl Tesch (AUS) 1-1-4-1-[8/OCS]-1-1-1-2 (12)
2. Scott Whitman/ Julia Dorsett (USA) [8/DNF]-2-2-3-3-2-3-2-1 (18)
3. Alexandra Rickham/Niki Birrell (GBR) 2-4-3--1-4-2-3-3 (22)
2.4Mr (6 RACES)
1. Damien Seguin (FRA) 2--1-1-5-4-1-2-2 (18)
2. Thierry Schmitter (NED) 1-1-4-4--6-4-1-1 (22)
3. Allan Leibel (CAN) 3-2-2-2--5-6-4-5 (29)
SONAR ( 7 RACES)
1. John Roberston/ Hannah Stodel/ Steve Thomas (GBR) 3-2-1-7-2-5-[13/DSQ]-5-2-3 (30)
2. Bruno Jourdren/Eric Flageul/Nicolas Vimont Vicary (FRA) 8-7-2--3-4-2-1-7-2 (36)
3. Udo Hessels/ Mischa Rossen/Marcel van de Veen (NED) 2-1-4--6-3-5-2-1-13 (37
Start Final Finn Fleet - Rolex Miami OCR
US 470 Women’s sailors Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Farrar - Rolex Miami OCR
Great Britain’s Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith - Rolex Miami OCR
Full results here