Please select your home edition
Edition
Fever-Tree 728x90

Perth 2011 – a big U.S. team and a watershed for U.S. Olympic sailing

by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team on 24 Oct 2011
Paige Railey in action at Kieler Woche 2011 Otto Kasch
Since sailing first joined the Olympic program in 1900, the most successful sailing nation has been the United States of America with 59 medals to Great Britain's 50.

At the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics the U.S. led the field with seven sailing medals, while Great Britain took home just one bronze.


Heading towards the 2012 London Olympics Great Britain is the strongest sailing nation likely to once again take the most Olympic sailing medals, just as it did in Beijing, Athens and Sydney. Rising up the lists is Australia, second at Beijing 2008 and currently with the world number one ranking in three classes looking like they could take second spot again.

By contrast, the sailing super-power USA has on average ranked fifth over the last three Olympics.

However times are changing says Zach Railey, (Clearwater FL) one of the top U.S. sailors competing at Perth 2011. Railey was the Finn Class Olympic Silver medallist at the Beijing Olympics 2008 and second at the 2009 Finn World Championships. His younger sister Paige, is sailing Laser Radials and just missed out on selection for Beijing but will be in Perth seeking selection for London 2012.

At Perth 2011 a total of 33 U.S. sailors will be competing for Olympic selection and Railey believes new selection criteria and better funding for U.S. Sailing will yield better Olympic results in the future.

Traditionally in the USA Olympic sailing selection has been based on a single U.S. Selection regatta, with virtually no funding for international competition.

Over the years U.S. Olympic sailors were sometimes those who sailed just on the domestic scene and had one great regatta, the Olympic Trials. They were not necessarily hardened by international competition and often failed to reproduce that result at the following Olympic Games.

But funding has been improving and last year U.S. SAILING’s Olympic Sailing Committee announced new selection procedures for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, with athletes in nine of the ten events qualifying based on their results at two international events - the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta at the 2012 Olympic venue Weymouth and Portland, England and Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships.

Railey said in an interview this week ‘Sailing has changed a lot, certainly in the last 10 years. While the U.S. one off trial system worked for quite a long time, now the sailing scene is so professional and everyone is travelling around the world. If you are very serious about performing at the Olympics you are going to go out and do all these international events.’

‘The change in U.S. selection criteria and better funding has meant that there is now a much bigger group of U.S. sailors competing on the international scene and that in time will yield results.

‘Perth 2011 is a vitally important regatta for everybody. About 75% of the country qualifiers and athlete selection will be based on results at Perth 2011.

‘Most federations put a very strong emphasis on performance at the World Championships and that can determine how much money is coming into the bank for 2012 to help support the campaign, so there is a lot of pressure at every level.’

‘The funding progress that U.S. SAILING has made over the 10 years, I don’t think, has been equalled by any other sailing federation in the world. Ten years ago we used to get $2,500 for the entire year.

‘No, we are currently not getting as much money as the British or the Australian team, but we are making progress.

‘Potential U.S. Olympic sailors are getting more support than before and literally thousands of people have helped make that happen. We have some great team sponsors who are now behind us. A lot of credit goes to US SAILING for what they have done.’

While it could take another cycle, with more competition and more funding expect to see the U.S. SAILING team again climb the rankings. One thing is for certain that the competition between the various U.S. crew for the Olympic place will be fierce.



The USTAG Team for Perth 2011

RS:X MEN: Bob Willis, Ben Barger
RS:X WOMEN: Farrah Hall
LASER: Clay Johnson, Rob Crane, Derick Vranizan (Development Team) and USA sailor Brad Funk (not on USSTAG, but member of Olympic Test Event team)
LASER RADIAL: Paige Railey, Erika Reineke
FINN: Zach Railey, Caleb Paine
470 MEN: Stu McNay/Graham Biehl, Adam Roberts/Nick Martin
470 WOMEN: Erin Maxwell/Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar, Amanda Clark/Sarah Lihan
49ER: Erik Storck/Trevor Moore
STAR: Mark Mendelblatt/Brian Fatih, George Szabo/Mark Strube, Andrew Campbell/Ian Coleman

WOMEN'S MATCH RACING: To be decided at 2011 Womens Match Racing Qualifying Regatta, October 26-30. It is likely that two teams; Sally Barkow, Alana O'Reilly and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham and Anna Tunnicliffe, Deb Capozzi and Molly Vandemoer will represent the USA in Perth.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]



Southern Spars - 100Giacomo Yacht SaleInsun - AC Program

Related Articles

An interview with Patrick Kennedy about the Ida Lewis Distance Race
I interviewed Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution. With this year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race set to unfurl the weekend of August 18-20, I caught up with Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the event’s new partnership with the 2017 J/Fest New England.
Posted on 14 Aug
An interview with Marianne Davis about the CORK International Regatta
I interviewed Marianne Davis, co-chair of the CORK International Regatta, to learn about the regatta’s state of affairs. While the various CORK regattas' registration lists include international sailors, these events are some of the gemstones in Sail Canada’s yearly championship calendar, making them of extra importance to Canadian sailors. I recently caught up with Marianne Davis, co-chair of the 2017 event, via email, to learn more about the CORK International Regatta’s evolution and its current state of affairs.
Posted on 7 Aug
A Q&A with the RORC’s Nick Elliott about the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race
I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email, to learn more about the world-famous Rolex Fastnet Race. When one stops to consider the world’s best ocean races, the Royal Offshore Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Sunday, August 6, 2017, is never far from mind. I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the amount of work that goes into pulling off this world-famous regatta.
Posted on 1 Aug
Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
A Q&A with Tom Trujillo about the Transpacific Race’s 49th running
Sail-World interviewed Tom Trujillo, the Transpac Race’s PRO, via email to learn more about this classic bluewater race. The Transpac Race (est 1906) is in a rarefied group of four races that are considered sailing’s greatest bluewater Corinthian challenges, and it welcomes a wildly diverse fleet of bluewater-worthy boats. The 49th running of this classic race is currently underway, so Sail-World caught up with Tom Trujillo, the race’s principal race officer, via email to learn more.
Posted on 7 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun