by Dana Paxton
On the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta fourth day gale-force winds put an early end to racing but before racing was halted the race committee completed an abbreviated schedule for most classes, except for Paralympic and Star in which all racing was cancelled for the day. US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider continued to attack the racecourse, the same which will be used in 50 days time at the 2012 Olympic Games.
US Sailing Team Day 4 - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2012
Friday is the final day of racing for the Paralympic classes, while the Olympic classes will complete the 10-race series (13 for the 49ers) to determine the sailors who will advance to Saturday’s medal race.
Performance highlights include: Anna Tunnicliffe with her ‘Team Maclaren’ of Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi won both gold round matches to advance to the Quarter-Final round. They will face Lehtinen (FIN).
Zach Railey went into the lone Finn race in third place overall. After a long wait onshore while the race committee ran an abbreviated racing schedule due to impending storms, the fleet headed out to big waves and pouring rain. While he was in the leading group of the racing, an unfortunate incident occurred.
'The whole day has been tough,' said Railey moments after getting back to the dock. 'We waited around for the weather system. We finally got onto the water, and I was doing pretty well. I made up a bunch of boats on the downwind and was waiting to go around the leeward mark and it was very tight. There was a boat that came in and didn’t have room. Unfortunately, he tried to take room on a couple of us. There was a pretty big collision; it threw me out of the boat. The boat got broken in the process. It’s obviously very difficult when you’re in the race. Unfortunately it’s part of racing. I know the person did a penalty turn so he knew he was in the wrong. I was in third going into today and it all depends on the results and what happens tonight.'
Railey filed for redress and was awarded average points for his previous races. He is in third place overall.
In the Laser Radial, two races were completed with Paige Railey taking a third and a seventh. Unfortunately, she was deemed to have started early in the latter and received an 'OCS' (on-course side) penalty. With that score used as her throw out, she now finds herself in 13th overall.
Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan, now find themselves in sixth overall, after collecting a15-8 in the Women’s 470 class’ two races.
In the Men’s 470, Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl are four points out of 10th, in 13th overall. Friday will be the chance to move up to the top 10.
Racing in the Paralympic classes was cancelled for the day due to the storm. It will resume for the final day of racing on Friday. SKUD-18 skipper Jen French, who with crew JP Creignou is currently in fourth overall, explained the team’s plan.
'The regatta is classic Weymouth weather,' said French. 'This week the breeze kicked in and it’s what we should expect for the Games. It’s a good gauge for us against international competition. We’ve been training hard in the starts. We’re getting aggressive in our training and have seen improvement. JP is a very busy guy up front in the SKUD. Between all the lines and controlling three sails, we try to use our communication to keep everything going. It’s a very physical position and he does it well. For our training schedule, we trained a week before this event and will stay here a week after. We have a pretty rigorous training schedule before the Games.'
While the Star class was ashore under postponement, Brian Fatih talked about his role in the boat with skipper Mark Mendelblatt. 'Once you’re in a harness and you’re strapped in, depending on the sea state, you have to straight leg over the waves and make sure you don’t plow into them,' he said. 'I hike out as hard as I can in breeze. Depending on the breeze, I’ll be on the deck talking about other boats. When you hike out like that I can’t see the compass, the boom, the jib lock, I’m just hiked out and trimming a little bit here and there.' The Olympic Sailing Team representatives are currently in13th overall.
Listen to Fatih talk about the intricacies of Star crew work and which boat they’ll select for the Olympic Games:
In the Laser class, Rob Crane had a strong day, adding a sixth to his score line. 'It was a good first beat and it was a tight race the whole time,' he said of the first. 'I did a pretty good job maintaining the spot. There were huge waves and you were being tossed around. It took some skill to make sure you weren’t getting tossed around.' He moved up in the standings to 19th overall.
Listen to Rob Crane talk about what they’ve learned about the venue:
US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes competing at Sail for Gold and their results, to date:
Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) – women’s match racing, advanced to Quarter-Final Round, will race against Lehtinen
Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – Women’s 470, sixth
Bob Willis (Chicago, Ill.) – RS:X (Men’s Windsurfer), 29th
Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) – Finn, 18th
Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (Pomfret, Vt./Naples, Fla.) – 49er, 11th
Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) -- RS:X (Women’s Windsurfer), 27th
Jen French and JP Creignou (both St. Petersburg, Fla.) – SKUD-18, fourth
Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.) – 2.4mR, ninth
Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (both Miami, Fla.) – Star, 13th
Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) – Laser Radial, 13th
Paul Callahan (Cape Coral, Fla./Newport R.I.), Tom Brown (Castine, Me.) and Bradley Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.) – Sonar, eighth
Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) – Laser, 19th
Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) -- Men’s 470, 13th
Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) – Finn, third
US Sailing Development Team members competing and results, to date:
Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) – Laser, 10th
Carson Crain (Houston, Texas) – RS:X , 58th
Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.) and Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) – 49er, 33rd
Gordon Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.) – Finn, 41st
Greg Martinez (Houston, Texas) – Laser, 78th
Solvig Sayre (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) – RS:X, 41st
US Sailing Team website
Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta website