by Dana Paxton
At the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, it was ladies day for the US Team with entries in two of the day’s medal races. Paige Railey won a bronze medal in Laser Radial, and Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar claimed a 470 Women’s ninth overall.
Kinsolving, Maxwell, and Farrar
With the day’s wind conditions back into a more suitable eleven to fifteen knots, racing took place as scheduled. The final day for each class is always reserved for the medal race in which the top ten sailors from the ten race series advance.
The Finns and Stars were back on the water to complete theirs series, with Zach Railey now standing in ninth overall in the Finn, and in the Star Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih are in ninth. Railey and Star duo Mendelblatt and Fatih advance to their respective medal races on Saturday, which is the last day of competition in the 2011 Weymouth and Portland International Regatta.
Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) went into the Radial medal race with a secure hold on the bronze medal, but wanted to push for the silver. That would mean putting six boats between herself and Evi van Acker (BEL), who was ahead on points going into today. 'I was super pumped so my focus was getting silver,' said Railey. 'I went out there really relaxed and knowing it was going to be a match race between Evi and me. I talked to the match racing girls, Sally and Alana, they gave me a bunch of tips and it was pretty cool because I was using them out there. It definitely works.'
With a strong start and speed up the first beat, she fought her way through the course and rounded the first mark in sixth. On the downwind, she pulled ahead into fourth and worked hard to keep a close eye on the Belgian. By the second windward mark, she had increased her lead, found herself in second while van Acker trailed her in fourth. By the time they rounded the final mark, it was Railey trailing van Acker. They finished the race 2, 3 behind race winner Xu Lija (CHN).
Women’s 470 duo Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar finished the medal race in seventh and with the result completed the Olympic Test Event in ninth overall. As Maxwell described it, the wind was very shifty the entire 36-minute race, which put a premium on boathandling. 'We were mid-fleet coming into first weather mark and felt we were laying the mark, but we wound up getting headed,' she said.
'Some boats were up on our hip, and we bore off to tack and duck. We didn’t quite make the move and we ended up fouling. After spinning our penalty turn that put us last place. We spent the rest of the race catching up. We were able to pick off three boats and ended up with 7th. It was a good comeback considering but definitely disappointing.' Full audio interview with Erin Maxwell is available here.
Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) took at fifth and ninth to hold his ninth overall position in the Finn class. Although the fifth place finish may sound impressive, Railey described it as disappointing due to a penalty. 'I had a talk with the judges after racing and they felt I was doing a little too much pumping,' he said. 'It’s something I need to readjust and not something I intentionally want to do. I did my 720 and got on with the race, and I finished fifth.'
From there, he went into race ten looking to improve. 'The second race was a bit of a frustrating race,' continued Railey. 'We thought one side of the course was going to pay and I felt very confident in it, but it was wrong. I finished ninth in that race, and it was a pretty big comeback. Unfortunately that is the story of my week. Obviously if you want to finish on the podium it’s not about making a comeback. If I was standing here without a plan to improve I’d be worried. We have a plan of what I need to work on.'
US SailingTeam AlphaGraphics website
Weymouth and Portland International Regatta website