by Dana Paxton
French Olympic Sailing Week - On the final day of racing for the fourth stop on the ISAF Sailing World Cup 2010-2011 series, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics has won four medals.
Left: Zach Railey (left) accepts flowers at the event’s podium immediately after racing - Semaine Olympique Francais 2011
Zach Railey won silver in Finn; Sally Barkow, Alana O’Reilly and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham won silver in Women’s Match Racing; George Szabo and Mark Strube won bronze in Star; and Rick Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund won bronze in Sonar. Strong finishes in the final day of racing included a third place in the 2.4mR by John Ruf and a fourth in Women’s 470 by Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar.
Silver medal to Team Barkow in Women’s Match Racing
In the final match against Lucy MacGregor (GBR), Team Barkow – Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham (Miami, Fla.) – were defeated 3-0 and took the overall silver medal.
In the third and final race, Barkow was leading on the first downwind leg when MacGregor caught up at the leeward mark.
'It all started at the top (mark) when I was really close with her, and she was right on our stern and she chose to jibe away into what I thought was more pressure. She had a close duck on us, and she ducked and got the starboard advantage. At that point we probably should have jibed in front of her and protected starboard until we got to the bottom. At the bottom she jibed into a overlap and had luffing rights. From there it was game over.'
From France, the team heads home and prepares for the Women’s Match Racing Qualifying Regatta in early May.
Silver medal to Zach Railey in Finn
2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) finished the medal race in fifth place to secure a silver medal.
'It got very light and we were expecting the wind to die off and shift right. On the first downwind the Dutch and Croatian were able to catch up. On second upwind, I had to stay close to where they were. I got forced out to the right at the end and the pressure filled in from the right I was able to get around the second mark in front of them.
After the first day of racing with a 26th it put me in a really tough spot. I knew I had to sail consistent and conservative all week to be in a spot to win a medal at the end of the week.'
This morning before racing, Railey said he was hoping for a top-three finish. 'I would love to go out and win the race and that would secure the goal of finishing on the podium. I have to concentrate on where the Croatian and Dutch sailors are on the course. If I have to sacrifice winning the race to be able to finish second or third, I can go ahead and do that.'
Bronze medal to George Szabo and Mark Strube in Star
In a stunning medal race, George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.) and Mark Strube (Ponta Gorda, Fla.) sailed a close race against the top 10 boats, including team mates Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.) and Ian Coleman (Annapolis, Md.) and Rick Merriman (New York, N.Y.) and John von Schwartz (Annapolis, Md.).
'We’re feeling good,' said Szabo immediately after racing. 'We still have more to work on before our Trials in Weymouth, but it’s a good feeling. It looks like we are right on track with our training. It was a really shifty race today. We were dead last at the first weather mark, and kept looking for wind shifts to get back toward the front of the fleet. Of course after the big race, and now that the boats are packed, the wind has come up to a nice 15 knots and, of course, it will be windier tomorrow.'
Bronze medal to Rick Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund in Sonar
Coming off a very consistent week of racing, the Sonar team of Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Brad Kendell (Tampa, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Me.) captured the bronze medal with a second place in the final race of the series. This was the team’s debut ISAF Sailing World Cup event in Europe.
High Performance Director and Head Coach Kenneth Andreasen (Tampa, Fla.) on today’s results, the team’s improvement since Palma and the focus between now and Sail for Gold. 'We are definitely improving. In Palma, we had six teams finish in top six and we are pleased with that. That shows our development over the winter worked out well. We put in more work between Palma and Hyeres. We have a Star program that is working together and pushing each other and it is working.
'This was the first event after Miami that they did on the international stage. We came away with one medal in the Sonar. We are really happy with Rick’s and the team’s bronze medal. It’s really good for the future. They have been training really hard.
'We have put in a lot of hours in the 2.4mR. Mark (LeBlanc) and John (Ruf) were here. They had some breakdowns and rough starts, but it’s definitely coming along. We have a proud tradition in that class and that is where we want to stay.
'That’s really exciting in the SKUD. They have been working hard and pushing each other. I’m looking forward to seeing them at Sail for Gold. The reason why they skipped this one is we have a long stretch between this and Sail for Gold and IFDS Worlds. Their Trials aren’t until 2012 and they don’t have to worry about peaking until then.'
Post-racing interview with Sally Barkow - Semaine Olympique Francais 2011