by Dana Paxton
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) is in Miami for elite training in preparation for next week’s US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR with the new year in full swing. Scheduled for Monday, January 24 through Saturday, January 29, 2011, this prestigious event is the second stop on the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2010-2011 circuit and expects over 800 athletes from 52 countries.
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics
Competition takes place in the 10 Olympic and three Paralympic sailing classes in advance of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to be held in Weymouth, U.K. In addition, 30 members of the US Sailing Development team (USSDT) will compete.
'Most classes have all the top sailors from around the world,' said USSTAG’s High Performance Director/Head Coach Kenneth Andreasen (Tampa, Fla.). 'This is the USSTAG qualifier as well as the first of the Trials Qualification events, and with the strong competition it’s also a great measure of where we stand and what we still need to work on in our quest for medals in 2012.'
Members of US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics expected to compete:
In the Laser class (Men's One Person Dinghy), 2010 RMOCR bronze medalist Kyle Rogachenko (Collegeville, Pa.) has his eyes set on improving his podium standing as well as qualifying for the 2011 US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, alongside Clay Johnson (Toms River, Fla.) who has already qualified.
'After last year's podium performance, I know that I can finish in the top of the fleet,' said Rogachenko. 'I will put what worked so well last year together with what I have learned since then and hopefully come out with another great result. To prepare for OCR I will be living in Miami to do as much sailing as possible. I have been here since the beginning of December and will stay through February. So far, training has been excellent. With both my physical trainer and the water nearby it is a lot of hard work and easy to stay motivated!'
The Laser is the largest class at the regatta with 103 entries, including USSTAG’s Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) and USSDT’s Carson Crain (Houston, Texas), Cam Cullman (Rye, N.Y.), Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.), EJ O’Mara (Burton, Mich.), Greg Martinez (Houston, Texas), Dodge Rees (Pensacola, Fla.) and Frederick Vranizan (Shoreline, Wash.).
Reigning champion in the Laser Radial (Women's One Person Dinghy) is USSTAG’s Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), who finished the 2009-10 Sailing World Cup season with a bronze medal. In addition to sailing full time, Railey just completed a Business Management degree at the University of South Florida.
'I love sailing in Miami,' said Railey. 'The weather is always pleasant and I enjoy the conditions. What can be better then sailing with the sunshine and warm weather?!'
Although the past two years of study have been a challenge for Railey, she has worked hard to gain some additional weight and dedicated herself to focus on new training techniques with USSTAG Coach Luther Carpenter (La Porte, Texas).
As Railey has already qualified for the 2011 USSTAG, the sailors among the 59-boat fleet aiming for an addition berth will include USSTAG’s Claire Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.), the 2010 ICSA Women's Singlehanded national champion, and USSDT’s Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
In the Finn class (Men's One Person Dinghy Heavy) USSTAG’s standout Finn sailors, 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) and Bryan Boyd (Annapolis, Md.), have already qualified for the 2011 USSTAG, and their mission will be to improve upon previous performance and land a podium finish. Talented USSDT athletes Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) and Finn Junior World Champion Luke Lawrence (Palm City, Fla.) will join the 36-boat class.
In both the Men's and Women's RS:X (Men's and Women’s Windsurfing), two spots each are up for grabs on the 2011 team. America’s top windsurfers, 2008 Olympian Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.); and Jimi Sobeck (East Quogue, N.Y.) will aim to qualify in the Men’s, while competition in the Women’s will be on for both Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) and 2008 East Coast Junior Olympic Windsurfing Champion Solvig Sayre (Vineyard Haven, Mass.).
USSTAG’s Stu McNay (Boston, Mass) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) come to Miami fresh off their victory this past weekend in the Men's 470 (Men's Two Person Dinghy) North Americans. Last month they won a silver medal at Sail Melbourne – the first stop on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit. USSTAG’s David Hughes (San Diego, Calif.), sailing with new skipper Keith Davids (Coronado, Calif.), will look to re-qualify for the 2011 team among the 40-team fleet in Miami that includes two USSDT duos: Adam Roberts and Nick Martin (both San Diego, Calif.) and Sam Williams (Summit, N.J.) and Bernie Roesler (Franklin Lakes, N.J.).
Returning Rolex Miami OCR Women's 470 (Women's Two Person Dinghy) gold medalists Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Chin (Hoboken, N.J.) will compete alongside USSTAG teammates Erin Maxwell (Stonington, Conn.) and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar (New York, N.Y.) in the 25-team fleet. Both teams have already qualified for the 2011 USSTAG.
'We are really looking forward to competing in the 2011 Rolex Miami OCR,' said Sarah Chin. 'There is a talent-stacked entry list so the competition is guaranteed to be exciting. Our focus this regatta will be to continue working on upwind tactics and fleet management. This event will be a great start to the 2011 sailing year.'
In both the Men’s and Women’s 470 fleets, there are a number of standout young American sailors, including USSDT duos Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Leah Volk (Lexington, Ky.); Marlena Fauer (New York, N.Y.) and Carly Shevitz (Santa Barbara, Calif.); and Anne Haeger (Lake Forest, Oll.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.).
Sail Melbourne bronze medalists in the 49er (Men's Two Person Dinghy High Performance), Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (North Pomfret, Vt.), look to build upon their success and collect another podium finish. Moving 'up' from the 29er into the 30-boat 49er fleet are USSDT duos: Joseph Morris (Annapolis, Md.) and Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.); Ryan Pesch (Chicago, Ill.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.) Alex Bishop (Baltimore, Md.) and Val Smith (Wilmette, Ill.); and Oliver Toole (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.).
In the deeply-talented Star (Men's Keelboat) class, a total of 24 American teams will compete in the 56-boat class, including 2010 Rolex Yachtsman nominee and USSTAG athlete George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.) with crew Frithjof Kleen (Berlin, GER).
Additional 2011 USSTAG positions filled, to date: 2008 Olympian Andrew Campbell (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and new crew Ian Coleman (Annapolis, Md.); 2010 Rolex Miami OCR gold medalists Mark Mendelblatt (Annapolis, Md.) with new crew Brian Fatih (Miami, Fla.); Andy Horton (S. Burlington, Vt.) and James Lyne (Granville, Vt.); and Andrew MacDonald and Brian Nichol (North Miami Beach, Fla.).
As in the Star class, the Elliott 6m (Women's Match Racing) spots are filled for 2011 by three teams: Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.); Genny Tulloch (San Francisco, Calif.), Alice Manard (Charleston S.C.) and Jennifer Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.); and 2008 Olympian Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Alanna O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) and Elizabeth Kratzig (Miami, Fla.).
In order to qualify for the Women’s Match Racing berths at the Rolex Miami OCR, a qualifying event was held for eight U.S. teams January 7-9. Team Barkow defeated Team Tunnicliffe in the final match, while Team Tulloch defeated Team Dellenbaugh –Rebecca Dellenbaugh, Kendall Reiley and Janel Zarkowsky (all Southport, Conn.). All four teams will compete in Miami.
Three USSTAG athletes will compete in the 2.4mR (Open One Person Keelboat): 2008 Paralympic bronze medalist John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.); 2010 U.S. National Champion Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.); Charles Rosenfield (Woodstock, Conn.).
SKUD-18 (Mixed Two Person Keelboat): Scott Whitman (Brick, N.J.) and Julia Dorsett (Westchester, Pa./Boca Raton, Fla.) Jen French (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Jean-Paul Creignou; Sarah Everhart Skeels (Tiverton, R.I.) and Bob Jones (Issaquah, Wash.).
Sonar (Open Three Person Keelboat): Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Brad Kendell (Tampa, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Me.); Paul Callahan (Cape Coral, Fla./Newport R.I.) with new crew Tom Brown (Castine, Me.), Bradley Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.); and Michael Hersey (Hyannis, Mass.) with new skipper Albert Foster (Wayzata, Minn.) and crew David Burdette (Lutherville, Md.).
Following the Rolex Miami OCR, the 2011 US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics will officially be named.