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USA's Railey takes Olympic Finn lead

by Derby Anderson on 10 Aug 2008
Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Zach Railey (USA). Guy Nowell © http://www.guynowell.com
Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) came in second in both races today and now leads the Finn Class at the 2008 Olympic Regatta. With a scoreline of 2,5,2,2 in a venue that has seen finishes all over the board, his consistency has brought him to the top.

He has even gained a little more extension over Great Britain’s Ben Ainslie, who now sits five points behind in second place. Railey knows five points is not far, and is cautious and modest in his analysis of the situation. 'My goal was to come here and sail a conservative regatta. I’m not going to take too many chances. I took one yesterday and it went well, so I have a pretty good record on my risks so far, but I don’t plan to take many.'

Now that he is in the lead, he does not plan to do anything differently. 'It’s too early in the event to be looking at one person.' He said, 'You can’t think, ‘I’m in the lead so I’m going to do something special.’ I’ll just keep executing things the same way, because that’s how I got here.'

After a windward mark altercation with Ainslie, Railey said they talked it over and Ainslie did his penalty turns. Railey was quick to compliment the whole fleet, saying everyone has been obeying the rules and dong their turns.

Railey admitted the fleet is very close, and said the keys will be basics and consistency. Rounding out the top three is Chris Cook from Canada, who has 28 points and is 17 points behind Railey.

1 USA
Zach Railey
2 5 2 2 11
2 GBR
Ben Ainslie
10 1 4 1 16
3 CAN
Chris Cook
8 3 7 10 28
4 SLO
Gasper Vincec
9 11 6 5 31
5 ESP
Rafa Trujillo 
12 4 3 14 33
6 CRO
Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic
7 10 10 8 35
7 POL
Rafal Szukiel
3 2 19 12 36
8 FRA
Guillaume Florent
5 8 20 3 36
9 SWE
Daniel Birgmark
14 17 1 6 38
10 FIN
Tapio Nirkko
18 9 9 9 45
11 DEN
Jonas Hoegh-Christensen
16 6 12 16 50
12 BRA
Eduardo Couto
6 16 27 7 56
DNF
13 AUS
Anthony Nossiter
11 22 8 17 58
14 ITA
Giorgio Poggi
17 7 14 21 59
15 GRE
Emilios Papathanasiou
1 27 5 27 60
DNF DNE
16 NZL
Dan Slater
21 19 18 4 62
17 CYP
Haris Papadopoulos
13 18 21 11 63
18 IRL
Timothy Goodbody
22 13 15 15 65
19 TUR
Ali Kemal Tufekci
20 21 13 18 72
20 NED
Pieter Jan Postma
19 15 16 22 72
21 RUS
Eduard Skornyakov
24 20 17 13 74
22 IND
Nachhatar Singh Johal
4 24 23 24 75
23 CZE
Michael Maier
15 14 22 25 76
24 NOR
Peer Moberg
23 27 11 19 80
DSQ
25 VEN
Johnny Bilbao
26 12 25 23 86
26 CHN
Peng Zhang
25 23 24 20 92


In the Yngling class, Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) sailed to an eighth and a fifth today, launching them from ninth to fourth. They are currently four points away from The Dutch team of Mulder, Bes and Witteveen, and 13 points from the British Ayton, Webb and Wilson, who currently sit in first. Middle position Carrie Howe was happy to have moved up, but kept her eyes on the prize when she said, 'It’s important not to let people get too far ahead.'



Though the USA Yngling girls showed more consistency today, Howe said it’s not getting any easier. 'It’s very subtle. It’s important to recognize that and not give up.' Everyone knows this is just the beginning of a long event and having a positive attitude is the key to moving up no matter where they stand. Howe’s most enthusiastic comment of the day was, 'Go Zach!'

The Yngling and Finn classes got to sail farther from shore on Course Area E and benefited from stronger breezes and weaker currents than yesterday. They saw an average of eight knots today. Meanwhile on course A, the 49ers raced in five knots all day and rarely used their trapezes.

Tim Wadlow (Beverly, Mass.) and Chris Rast (San Diego, Calif.) had their first three races today in the 49er class. They had a great first race finishing in fifth place, but followed with a 14 and a 15. They sit in 13th place overall, but the points all the way up to 7th place are very close and show room to make gains tomorrow.

Over breakfast, Rast and Head Coach Gary Bodie discussed the previous day’s conditions, and pretty much concluded it was very difficult to read. Unfazed, Rast just said, 'That’s okay because it confirms what we thought: Every day is different in Qingdao.' As Rast and Wadlow have a collective three Olympic Regattas under their belts, they have the potential to bring a different type of day tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s forecast calls for morning squalls, clearing to more typical light Qingdao breezes by race time. The 470 Men and Women and the RS:X Men and Women start tomorrow, with two races scheduled for each class.

Racing for the USA in those classes are Stu McNay (Lincoln, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) in the Men’s 470 and Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Mergenthaler (New York, N.Y.) in the Women’s 470. Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Nancy Rios (Miami, Fla.) compete in the Men’s and Women’s RS:X classes respectively.

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