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Olympic Sailing Day 3: Shifty winds challenge

'Finn Class: Zach Railey (USA) Currently second to Ainslie (GBR)'    Finn Class ©

A total of seven USA boats hit the waters off Qingdao today. Races continued in the Yngling, Finn, and 49er fleets, while the 470 Men and Women and the RS:X Men and Women sailed their opening day. On the whole, no team members came back to the dock thrilled with their performances, but most mentioned it is early in the regatta and there is room for improvement.

In the 470 Women's fleet, Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Mergenthaler (New York, N.Y.), who are ranked seventh in their fleet, finished 14th and 12th out of 19 boats, and now sit in 15th place overall. After racing, Mergenthaler rushed off to file a protest.

Clark explained, 'The leeward marks today were a full-on pileup. In the current, boats would stop right at the mark and it would make it easy for boats to catch up and create overlaps.' She continued with her perspective on the day. 'If this were a normal regatta I'd be mad at myself, but this feels more like a learning experience. All I can to is to be positive and try to improve.' The Netherlands, Australia and Spain are in the top three places rescpectively.

Look at the Men's 470 results for an idea of the inconsistent breezes today: The French team of Charbonnier and Bausset are winning after sailing to just a sixth and a third place. The winners of today's two races scored in the 20's for their other races, so it was clearly difficult to keep up with the confusing winds. Stu McNay (Lincoln, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) sailed a 26, 12, and are now in 21st out of the 29-boat fleet.

The Yngling team of Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) has clung to fourth place and are in fact tied for third. However, only four points separate third through eleventh place, so none of them are safe. Barkow's Team Seven sailed a six, eleven today, and catching up to the British and Dutch teams in respective first and second place looks harder now. They will take a day off tomorrow, as will the Finn class.

In the Finn, Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) continues to perform like a winner. Though his seventh and eighth scores today don't look like anything special, the majority of his competition sailed one good and one bad race. So again Railey's consistency keeps him performing well. Great Britain's Ainslie has passed Railey and now sits in first, only one point ahead. The two are sailing very different regattas: Ainslie has won three races but came in tenth in two, while Railey has sailed consistently with finishes of 2, 5, 2, 2, 7, and 8. Railey said, 'Today was hard. There were 20 degree shifts and you didn't know they were coming. In these conditions I'll take a seven, eight all day!' Railey wished his day had gone better, but kept the big picture in mind when looking at his scores. France's Florent has moved up to third in the Finn.

In the Men's RS:X, Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.) is in 22nd place after two races in his 35-board fleet. He spun a circle in one race and was leaving to report that to the Race Committee just after he hit the dock.

Tim Wadlow (Beverly, Mass.) and Chris Rast (San Diego, Calif.) sailed with scores similar to yesterday, and have stayed in 13th place overall in their 19-boat fleet. They will also have a day off tomorrow.

Nancy Rios (Miami, Fla.) sailed a tough day in the RS:X Women's fleet and is now in 26th of 27 boards, but she still came off the water with a smile, unlike many other sailors today.

Discards come into effect after five races, so the Yngling, 49er and Finn classes are now able to throw out their worst scores. None of the USA teams benefit from this very much as they have all been fairly consistent.

Lasers and Laser Radials start racing tomorrow and have two races scheduled, as do 470 Men and Women and RS:X Men and Women.

Finn: 26 boats
2. Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), 2, 5, 2, 2, 7, (8); 17

Yngling: 15 boats
4. Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), (14), 2, 8, 5, 6, 11; 32

49er: 19 boats
13. Tim Wadlow (Beverly, Mass.) and Chris Rast (San Diego, Calif.), 5, 14, 15, (16), 5, 10; 49

Men's 470: 29 boats
21. Stu McNay (Lincoln, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.), 26, 12; 38

Women's 470: 19 boats
15. Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Mergenthaler (New York, N.Y.), 14, 12; 26

Men's RS:X: 35 boards
22. Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.), 21, 22; 43

Women's RS:X: 27 boards
26. Nancy Rios (Miami, Fla.), 25, 26; 51


by Derby Anderson


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11:58 AM Mon 11 Aug 2008 GMT

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