by Dana Paxton
Semaine Olympique Francais - It was an exciting first day of racing in Hyeres at the Semaine Olympique Francais for Team AlphaGraphics . Competing this week are 39 US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics athletes and three US Sailing Development Team members.
Hugh Freund, Rick Doerr and Brad Kendell - Semaine Olympique Francais
Racing Summary – Day 1, April 24:
The first day of racing at French Olympic Sailing Week began on Sunday, April 24 for 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes competing. Known in France as Semaine Olympique Francaise, the regatta is hosting over 1,000 athletes from 63 countries. US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics established a strong presence today with top-10 results in six classes: 2.4mR, 49er, 470 Men, 470 Women, Sonar and Star. For a full list of USSTAG athletes competing click here.
Performance highlights on day four include:
• USSTAG’s Erik Storck and Trevor Moore top the 49er class after winning two of the day’s three races (a third in the other).
• In the 37-boat Star class, George Szabo (San Diego, Calif) and Mark Strube (Punta Gorda, Fla.) scored an opening day 5-2 to stand in second overall, one place ahead of USSTAG teammates Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.) and Ian Coleman (Annapolis, Md.), who finished the day with 8-3.
• In Elliott 6m, Women’s Match Racing, the 24-boat fleet was divided into three groups for the round robin. USSTAG is represented by two teams: Team Barkow – Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham (Miami, Fla.) – who went three wins, zero losses for the day. Team Tulloch – Genny Tulloch (Sausalito, Calif.), Alice Manard Leonard (New Orleans, La./East Haven, Conn.) and Jenn Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.) – finished their three round robin matches at 2-1.
• Making his debut for this season’s Sailing World Cup, Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.) had a consistent day, finishing 5-5 for fourth overall in the 2.4mR class.
• The Sonar team of Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Brad Kendell (Tampa, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Me.) took two fifth places for the day and are in seventh overall.
• Erin Maxwell (Wilton, Conn.) and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar (New York, N.Y.) turned in 8-11 results to establish a seventh overall position in the 57-boat Women’s 470 class.
• With 8-5 finishes, Olympians Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) are in eighth overall in the 106-boat Men’s 470 class.
Athletes quoted on day one:
Mark LeBlanc - Semaine Olympique Francais
Trevor Moore: 'When we went on the water this morning our main goal was to try to use minimum-risk sailing to allow our speed and starts to do most of the work.
We had good execution and great speed which ultimately allowed us to get free to the left side of the course, which was favored for the most part of the day.
This seems to be the first event were we aren’t trying to do anything fancy, but just go out racing and ‘keep it simple stupid,’ as our coach Dave Hughes likes to say.
We are excited with our performance today, but we know there are four more days of racing and that requires that we stay positive and focus on each day as a new day.'
Clay Johnson: 'We’re sailing at a very high level and everyone knows how to make these boats go very fast. They kinda max out and everyone is going to be in the mix and crossing close.'
Bonus interview: Dave Perry discusses USA’s hopes for London 2012, the future of American match racing and why it matters to the Olympics. here to view the discussion.
On the ideal skills for match racing: 'You have to have a v analytical mind, thinking in terms of Xs and Os. You’re making tactical decisions constantly. You have to able to process rules, boat speed, where you are on the course and then make the right decision in a matter of seconds. It takes that kind of mind.'
The racing: Scheduled for April 24-29 across 10 Olympic and two Paralympic classes, the 43rd French Olympic Sailing Week is hosting over 1,000 sailors from 63 countries.
Fleet racing started Sunday, April 24 in 10 Olympic classes and concludes with the medal race on Friday, April 29 in nine of the 10 classes. Women’s Match Racing consist of an opening series, a knockout series, and a sail-off for boats not advancing to the knockout series, with the final matches scheduled on Friday, April 29. In the Paralympic 2.4mR and Sonar classes, fleet racing takes place Sunday, April 24 through Friday, April 29.
Team AlphaGraphics website