ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami 2013 brought new class leaders on the fourth day of battle and established the final-race set-up for Friday’s RS:X, 2.4mR and Sonar classes. Americans lead five of the 12 competing fleets: Caleb Paine (Finn), Fred Strammer and Zach Brown (49er), Stuart McNay and Dave Hughes (Men’s 470), Sarah Newberry and John Casey (Nacra 17), and Paige Railey (Laser Radial). Racing concludes on Friday in the 2.4 mR, Sonar, and the Men’s and Women’s RS:X. Results are posted on the event’s website:
Highlights from day 4 include:
Finn – Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) extended his lead on the 28-boat class by seven points over Australian Brendan Casey, with Canadian Greg Douglas two points further back. Paine, who ended the 2011-2012 World Cup series with an overall gold medal, sees the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami as a step toward Rio 2016. His consistency in the Finn fleet this week has given him confidence about the training he’s put in. 'I’ve been working a lot on my downwind training and now that that’s not as much of a problem for me it’s opened up a lot of avenues,' he said. 'If I round top five, maybe I can get to top three and manage myself from there. There are a lot of really good guys coming up. There are still some of the experienced guys, Bruno Prada and Brendan Casey.'
The Finns will race a final two races on Friday, with the top 10 advancing to Saturday’s medal race. For Paine, the plan will stay the same. 'It’s the same game plan,' he said. 'I’ll be keeping it nice and easy and playing the averages.' In his first major regatta since the 2012 Olympic Games, Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) is sailing in the Finn instead of the Laser. To many the switch from one singlehanded boat to another may seem simple, but as Crane explained sailing a Finn downwind is much different than a Laser. 'In the Laser when you’re surfing waves downwind, you try to S-curve and come up to a reach to catch the wave,' he said. 'You bear the boat off, heel to weather and carve down the wave. 'In the Finn you sail more reaching angles, so it’s more of a difference. I don’t have the Finn thing down and I’m trying to figure out the best way to get downwind. I’ve been mixing the Laser sailing with the Finn technique I don’t have.' Crane said that he is relying on his years of training and coaching others to keep the Finn going fast, but said instinct isn’t always reliable. 'A lot of it is instinct; you kind of know when you need to head up to catch a wave or bear off and ride a wave,' he said. 'The problem with a new boat is your instinct isn’t completely correct and you’re a little off and you miss waves, or head up at the wrong time. It’s a learning process getting used to a new boat. The boat is heavier than a Laser, so it’s learning how to do things differently.'
Sonar - Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Brad Kendell (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (Boston, Mass.) won the day’s final race and now find themselves in third overall, only seven points out of first place. With two final races to be sailed on Friday, they will try to consolidate their standings for a place on the podium.
Laser / Radial - Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) won the day’s final race and moved up into first position, ahead of Ireland’s Annalise Murphy and Finland’s Tuula Tenkanen.
The Lasers and Laser Radials are testing an experimental format this week. Sailors receive zero points for each race they win. Their first fleet series standings through six races translated into a single carryover race score applied to the new series which started today. The new series will include one discard which could be the carryover race. Following the next five races and six total scores, the top 10 will advance to the medal races on Saturday. The top 10 will sail three medal races on Saturday. Each medal race is double points and non-discardable. Final score is the six race series which began today plus the medal race scores.
49er FX - Anna Tunnicliffe (Miami, Fla.) and Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) moved into second overall in the new Olympic skiff class. With a win in the first of three races, the duo finds themselves five points behind fleet leaders Martine Soffiati and Kahena Kunze of Brazil.
'This event is about practice time,' Tunnicliffe said about the two weeks together in the boat to date. They plan to sail in Europe this summer, with the world championship in the fall. 'This is definitely the start,' she said about their campaign for Rio 2016. 'We definitely want to bring home a gold medal in 2016.'
Quotes from American sailors:
Taylor Reiss on sailing with Olympian Sarah Lihan: 'It’s great. She brings a ton of experience and it’s great to be able to talk about things on the race course, and have someone that’s truly experienced.' On the Nacra: 'It’s fun. When it’s windy it really pipes up. On the first day everyone was really cautious about the boat. We’re starting to get comfortable about the boat.'
Sarah Lihan on making the switch from 470 to Nacra: 'This is my first event after the Games. US Sailing coach Leandro Spina emailed me and suggested that if I wanted to sail a multihull, then Taylor would be the one to do it with. I would not be here if it weren’t for Taylor. He is exceptionally patient and understanding of my steep learning curve. He knows as much as there is about these boats on day seven of them being in North America.'
Rob Crane on if the Finn is his future boat of choice: 'Sailing the Finn this week is an experiment. If I was to do the Finn full time, I don’t know if I would change how I train, but I would have to put on weight. It’s too soon to say at this point.'
In other classes, the top American sailors/teams include:
First, 470 Men - Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) First, Nacra 17 - Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and John Casey (Longwood, Fla.) First, 49er – Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.) Fourth, Laser - Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) Fifth, 470 Women - Anne Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Sixth, 2.4mR – Daniel Evans (Miami, Fla.) Seventh, RS:X Women’s – Marion Lepert (Belmont, Calif.) 16th, RS:X Men’s – Carson Crain (Houston, Texas)