by Dana Paxton
Weymouth and Portland International Regatta has completed its fifth day of racing and although there was slight onshore postponement while the RC waited for suitable wind, once racing got underway, it was well worth the wait. Light wind mid-day built to gusting 15-18 knots and cooler temperatures across the five race courses.
USA in Action - Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011
The day marked the first that all classes raced on the same day in the eleven day series. The United States holds five top ten positions in the Women’s 470, Finn, Laser Radial and Women’s Match Racing.
Women’s Match Racing resumed for the quarter final round and it was Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham (Miami Beach, Fla.) going up against the Dutch team. In the 'first to three wins' series, the team known as 'Team 7 Match Race' quickly won the first two races, but then stumbled a bit and lost the next two matches. It would come down to one final deciding match. Watch Sally, Alana and Elizabeth describe their day in an exclusive video:
On the two losses: 'All the matches started going really well. We had good starts at every match. We lead at every windward mark. We lead at every leeward mark. It was just the final run in those two races (losses). We’ll clean that up for next time.
On the final deciding match: 'We were chasing her around the committee boat. Got a little locked in and ended up getting a penalty. We talked about what we would do and when we would take our turn, and what our best opportunity was.
'We tried to relieve it on the first beat. We didn’t have an opportunity to do that. We thought we’d try and take her downwind. We tried to get a tack in around the mark. These guys did a good job saying no, we don’t have enough room. We tried to go slow and reel her in. We got far enough left on the course to tack around downwind and still have a piece of her on port. We were able to jibe and roll her into the finish. We crossed the line and we had no idea who won. There was a call to be made. She actually never crossed the line. There was chaos. Then the green flag went up.'
Women’s 470: Erin Maxwell (Wilton, Con.) and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar (New York/Fishers Island, N.Y.) added a 8, 11 to move up to fourth overall. The two are pleased overall and acknowledged they like to be the 'consistency queens' when it comes to racing.
'The 11th today was a little frustrating,' said Maxwell. 'We could have been a 6, 6 on this day. We’re looking forward to grinding down the points tomorrow. Often at the end of the regatta we have the lowest drop of the fleet.'
In the Laser, Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla.) took advantage of the windier conditions, which he described as more to his liking, and made up for this 21st in the first race by placing sixth in the second. He now stands in 14th overall in the 56-boat fleet.
On the challenges of the first race: 'I’m looking to hit the shifts on the first beat. On my first run I didn’t have a good run. The guys around me were putting pressure on me and I was getting out of my rhythm.'
Laser Radial sailor Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) had a very solid opening day and finished fifth and fourth to move up into third overall.
Comparing days: 'Yesterday I wasn’t tactically making the right decisions. I managed to lose a lot of places. This morning there wasn’t a lot of wind, by the end we had a lot more than that. It was really shifty because of these storms coming in. Today, the left could be favored and the next minute the right would be. I saw some girls go from top five to teens. You had to be in charge of what was going on. It was never about speed because it was windy. You definitely had to be on tactically.'
A fifth and ninth in the Finn class put 2008 Olympic silver medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) into seventh overall. Listen to an exclusive audio interviewhere on the morning of the first day of Finn racing.
Sunday, Aug. 7 racing continues in the 49er, Star, Men's and Women's 470, Laser, Laser Radial and Finn, while the Men's and Women's RS:X and Women’s Match Racing have a lay day. The medal races will run August 11-13.