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Sail-World.com : London Olympics 2012 - Day 8 for the U.S. Sailing Team
London Olympics 2012 - Day 8 for the U.S. Sailing Team

'2012 Olympic Games London / Weymouth - Star Class'    © 2012 Daniel Forster/go4image.com

Headlining the day at the London Olympic 2012 Sailing Competition, Star sailors Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih finished the Medal Race in sixth to round out their overall standing to seventh place. Bob Willis and Farrah Hall completed their windsurfing series in 22nd and 20th, respectively.

As the series progresses in Weymouth and Portland, U.K. the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team’s standings to date after racing today include: Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan eighth in the Women’s 470; Erik Storck and Trevor Moore in 15th in the 49er. Today was a scheduled reserve day for Laser Radial, Men’s 470 and Women’s Match Racing.


Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih finished sixth in the Men’s Keelboat Medal Race. With the finish counting for double points, they added 12 points to their overall 10-race series score, to complete the Olympic Sailing Regatta in seventh overall.

As Mendelblatt explained after racing, the turning point for them was in the first upwind leg. 'We had a good start at the boat and we were able to carry on as far as we wanted to,' he said. 'I probably should have tacked out because we were headed for a lot of the way across. The boats that were dipping us and heading out to the right were on a lift and could get a right shift up the beat. And that’s what happened. If I had it to do over I would have tacked off the line and gotten into phase that way.'

This is the final time the Star class will feature as the equipment used in the Men’s Keelboat event at the Olympic Games as it has been eliminated for 2016. The Star made its debut in Olympic competition in 1932 where USA’s team of Gilbert Gray and Andrew Libano won the gold medal — the first sailing gold medal for the nation.

'Brian has been great,' said Mendelblatt of crew Brian Faith. 'I’m really lucky to get him to sail with me. He has a great work attitude. He’s a great crew technically and physically. I couldn’t ask for a better crew. It’s the biggest honor to represent the U.S. It’s the biggest honor as an athlete. I’m sorry I didn’t get a medal. We gave it our all. It didn’t happen for us, but I was very, very proud to sail for the U.S.' Mendelblatt is also a 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.



Sweden’s Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen won the gold medal, with GBR’s Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson silver, and Robert Schedit and Bruno Prada bronze.

Two additional races were completed in men’s skiff (49er), and Erik Storck and Trevor Moore are in 15th overall. They scored 20th in race 12 and 17th in race 13.

The 15-race series concludes in Weymouth and Portland on Aug. 6 with two races. The top 10 competitors at the end of the series will advance to the Medal Race on Aug. 8.

In women’s windsurfing, Farrah Hall sailed the final two races to results of 16th in race 9 and 16th in race 10. She finished the Olympic Sailing Regatta in 20th overall. This was the first Olympic Games for Hall.

'The light wind conditions we had today was better,' she said. 'I could put together races a bit better. In my development I am a better light-wind sailor. I’m going to keep working on that. It’s really exciting to be part of the U.S. Olympic Team. I’m really proud to represent our country. I’m happy to represent my family, my sponsors and my hometown.'

The top 10 competitors in the 10-race series advanced to the medal race, scheduled for Aug. 7 in Weymouth and Portland.

In men’s windsurfing, Bob Willis sailed the final two races of the 10-race series to results of 11th in race 9 and 30th in race 10. He finished the Olympic Sailing Regatta in 22nd overall.

The first day I had two top-10 finishes,' he explained. 'Second day was a strong day; I had an 11-25 and sitting in 13th, a really good position. The third day, where I could have made some serious gains on the fleet, I had a black flag and a 30th, and that really set me back.. I had a really tough time recovering from that the next day. Today I posted an 11th and really happy to end on a good note.'

Willis has become known in the press for his American flag tights on the race course. 'Yeah, it took a while to find the right ones, but I’m glad I did it,' he said.

The top 10 competitors in the 10-race series advanced to the medal race, scheduled for Aug. 7 in Weymouth and Portland.



With a dying breeze on the Nothe Course, the Women’s Two Person Dinghy (Women’s 470) class got off two races, but in very difficult conditions. For Amanda Clark and crew Sarah Lihan it wasn’t conditions that suit their powerful sailing. Two race results of 19th and 20th bring their overall standing to eighth.

'The first race was in decent pressure, but it was dying the whole way through,' said Lihan. 'We had a game plan to go left. There was a big cloud on the right side that we thought was going to kill the breeze. We got a persistent righty with more pressure than we had on the left side. We executed our game plan, but unfortunately it was incorrect. That put us back. It was difficult to gain places back the rest of the race because as the breeze died, there weren’t any lanes to pass. It wasn’t a speed issue, there just weren’t any lanes and not tactical gain to get around. And they shortened the course.'

For the second race, race 6, the wind was so light that the race committee abandoned the race and then restarted it on a four-lap windward/leeward course. 'We got a great start,' said Clark. 'We held out toward the left side, but didn’t quite make it there. We got stuck in the middle of the race course and not letting ourselves get enough leverage to stay with lead boats. We caught up a little on the second run, but just found some tough lanes on the second beat. From there it was pretty tough to come back.'

Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan (USA) -  onEdition ©   Click Here to view large photo

The Women’s 470 fleet has a scheduled reserve day on Aug. 6. 'We are lucky to have some time to decompress,' said Clark. 'We are going to have more of these days with four-lap races and on the Harbour Course. We have to change gears and get back on track. I believe we are capable of doing it and I don’t see today as foreshadowing of how the rest of the event will go.'

The 10-race series continues Aug. 7-8 with the medal race scheduled for Aug. 10.

Aug. 6 racing schedule includes continued racing in 49er and Men’s 470, with Paige Railey competing in the Laser Radial Medal Race. It is a scheduled reserve day for Women’s Match Racing and Women’s 470.

Event results to date:

12th, Finn (Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy), Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) 10-15-13-17-2-8-11-8-12-19 (completed Aug 3)

29th, Laser, Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) 35-42-30-28-16-32-19-8-33-(44)

20th, Women’s RS:X Windsurfing, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) 22-18-18-18-20-22-23-27[OCS]-16-16 (completed Aug. 5)

22nd, RS:X Windsurfing, Bob Willis (Chicago, Ill.) 7-10-11-25-BFD-28-24-33-11-30 (completed Aug. 5)

7th, Star (Men’s Keelboat), Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (both Miami, Fla.) 5-14-5-3-8-9-5-10-3-11-6

Overall standings to date:

Women’s Match Racing, Eight wins, three losses, Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) – advances to quarter-final round

19th, Men’s 470, Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) 17-22-10-3-23-24

8th, Women’s 470, Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 7-3-5-7-19-20

9th, Laser Radial, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) 8-5-12-17-4-9-[21]-20-9-8

15th, 49er, Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (Naples, Fla./N. Pomfret, Vt.) 6-10-16-1-7-13-[20]-18-2-17-5-20-17

**BFD is black flag penalty

http://olympics.ussailing.org/


by Dana Paxton

  

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