Sailing World Cup Mallorca 2014 - Palma de Mallorca, Spain (April 2, 2014) - Day three of ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca marked the mid-way point of the event, and also a day when American athletes made moves up the leaderboard. The international fleet had endured consistently light and shifty winds over the first two days of racing, but Wednesday featured the welcome arrival of steady conditions for several fleets, including the Finn, 49er, 49erFX, 470, and Nacra 17. However, racing was abandoned for the Laser, Laser Radial, RS:X and 2.4mR, as the courses farther inshore failed to receive the same breeze.
'Palma is an essential training ground for our team because it offers up a unique style of sailing, with big waves and a wide range of wind speeds,' said Josh Adams, Managing Director of US Olympic Sailing. 'The conditions here are something we don't see at many venues at home. Additionally, top European talent is here at this event in force. There is a very high level of competition.'
In the Finn, the men's heavyweight Olympic dinghy, the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider's Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) had a strong opening series in gold fleet. With a pair of seventh place finishes, Paine elevated himself from 15th to ninth overall, and is now only eight points from a podium position. The 2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup overall series champion executed a textbook strategy for southeasterly winds in Palma, while controlling the pin end of the line in both starts. 'There's definitely a lot less room for error in gold fleet, especially on the downwind legs,' said Paine. 'If you mess up, people will definitely pass you. The tactics remain the same, but the stakes are higher.'
The American Finn group is also benefitting this season from the coaching of Brian Ledbetter (Seattle, Wash.), a silver medalist (Barcelona 1992) in the class. 'Brian is always checking all the boxes, and we never have to worry about anything outside our control,' said Paine. 'He's always going above and beyond, and that’s something I really like. All of that comes together [later on] during the Olympics.'
In the double-handed women's 470 class, Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) preserved their place in the top ten, and remain the top-ranked US boat in Palma. A scoreline of 6, 16 in two races today moved them up from eighth to sixth overall, and closer to the goal of repeating their podium finish at last year's event. 'A really big thing for us right now is just feeling like we're climbing the ladder,' said Provancha. 'We're looking to minimize losses, and hone our communication.' London 2012 gold medal-winning coach (Star class) Mark Ivey (San Francisco, Calif.) is coaching Team Haeger-Provancha this week, and the collaboration has been fruitful. 'Mark is just what we needed for this event, and Annie and I are very relaxed,' said Provancha. 'We're just trying to learn as much as we can tactically, and we enjoy having a fresh perspective.'
In the men's 470, two-time Olympian Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) have had a steady performance, with a Tuesday-Wednesday scoreline of 10, 11,10,8 in a deep 78-boat fleet (split into two divisions). 'So far we've been consistently Ok. We hope to continue to avoid errors, but we're also looking to increase our top-end [performances] as well,' said McNay. While in 13th overall, the pair is only 25 points out of third place, with much racing left to be done. 'We're always looking to be in the top five, which is still within our reach, but at this point we're focusing on the process more than results.'
Notable US Overall Results, Day three:
470 Men (78 boats): - 13th overall, Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.), US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
470 Women (47 boats): - eighth overall, Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.), US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
49er (79 boats): - 30th overall, Brad Funk (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.), US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
- 31st overall, Thomas Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI) and Joe Morris (Annapolis, Md.), US Sailing Development Team
49erFX (50 boats): - 18th overall, Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.), US Sailing Development Team
Finn (92 boats): - ninth overall, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.), US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
Laser (144 boats): - 29th overall, Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)?, US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
- 44th overall, Erik Bowers (Excelsior, Minn.), US Sailing Development Team (No racing completed on Day three)
Nacra 17 (73 boats): - 17th overall, Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and John Casey (Longwood, Fla.), US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
RS:X Women (56 boards) - 34th overall, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.), US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider (No racing completed on Day three)