by Dana Paxton
On the fifth day of racing at Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ (USSTAG) had a stellar day: Mark LeBlanc completed the 2.4mR event with a race win, placing him into fourth overall for the week; Anna Tunnicliffe’s 'Team Maclaren' of Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi won their semi-final Women’s Match Racing match and advanced to the finals; and Zach Railey maintained his second overall in the Finn to advance to the medal race.
43 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia - Anna Tunnicliffe
In Women’s Match Racing, Tunnicliffe, Vandemoer and Capozzi streaked through their semi-final match winning three straight matches against Australia’s Olivia Price. With the win, they advance to the final match versus Claire Leroy (FRA). Racing takes place on Saturday at 10am local time.
With a steady improvement over the past five days, Mark LeBlanc finished the 2.4mR series with a win in the final race. The day’s results put him in fourth overall, only one point off the podium.
'It was a great week,' said LeBlanc. 'It started off a little slow and I started putting it together mid-week. Today I capped it off with a 4-1. I haven’t really been sailing too much the past few weeks. Next week in Hyeres I hope it will go better with a more steady improvement.' LeBlanc moves on to Hyeres, France to train ahead of French Olympic Sailing Week.
Listen to an interview with LeBlanc to learn about is training points:
Zach Railey advanced into the medal race with final day results of 14-9, which held his second overall.
'It was definitely a lot more wind than we’ve had all week and big waves,' said Railey. 'That made it more unstable and more difficult than we’ve seen all week.
'The second race was very difficult, really big shifts, anywhere from 25 degrees back and forth and the frontal system was coming in. I was looking really good up the first beat and got stuck in a shift and in 25th. I was able to catch up to ninth.' Railey goes into the medal race with an eye on maintaining second place overall.
Railey discusses the final two races of the series and his expectations for Saturday’s medal race:
Although the beginning of the week was a challenge in light conditions, Paige Railey came on strong in the end, finishing the 10-race series with a fourth place for 11th overall in the Laser Radial.
'Luther and I have been working very hard at improving parts of my sailing,' said Railey after racing. 'I started off the event struggling with the changes, but I kept pushing every day. No matter how difficult it got at times I never gave up. Over each race I started to see improvements and now today I went out and sailed great. Our teamwork is top notch and it proves to me how solid we work together. He pushes me mentally, physically and sailing-wise to improve my every move and with that I am seeing major improvements.'
Erik Storck and Trevor Moore also had a strong finish to the regatta, scoring a second in the final race. Their day’s results of 11-13-2 put them into 14th overall in the 49er class.
Sally Barkow’s 'Team 7 Match Race' of Alana O’Reilly and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham finished the women’s match racing in eighth place overall.
Provisional overall results in the remaining classes: Rob Crane 38th in the Laser; Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan 22nd in Women’s 470; Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl 21st in Men’s 470; and Caleb Paine 12th in the Finn class;
Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre website