Railey crushes the 2012 Rolex Miami OCR—Sailing news from the U.S. and
One US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) member who can put away his boat proud is Zach Railey, America's 2012 Finn representative. Railey sailed an impeccable Miami OCR, earning a coveted Gold Medal and a serious shot of confidence. 'The regatta was great for training and racing with good wind and long courses,' reported Railey. 'We sailed mostly in eight to 16 knots so it was very hard work physically, with free pumping and up to 1.5-mile legs. The top boats were always close so it was great racing and very hard physically pushing against each other.... This event was a good measure for us in a number of areas we wanted to focus on, and it gives me a lot of confidence we are moving in the correct direction.'
While Railey has always been a top-flight competitor, many eyes will be on the Finn class this summer, both because of the class' storied history, but also because of Railey's main competition, Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR). While Sir Ben is one of the most decorated Olympic sailors of all time, a massive lapse of judgment on Ainslie's part created an international debacle at the 2011 ISAF Worlds when Sir Ben committed gross misconduct by leaping into a media boat and threatening its driver for purportedly disturbing his chances at another World Championship. While the rumors are thick as to what may have triggered this outrageous behavior, the even more astonishing thing is that this wasn't Sir Ben's first tangle of this sort.
The old newspaper adage of, 'If it bleeds it leads' will certainly be adding gravity to this summer's Finn competition, no doubt drawing the eyes of the world. For Railey, the situation couldn't be better: Not only does he enjoy a sterling reputation as a competitor's competitor, but he's getting faster and faster, as evidenced by his win in Miami. Provided that Sir Ben is actually allowed to compete in this summer's games (more on this inside), there's zero doubt that Ainslie will find Mr. Railey to be fast, fit, and ready to rip.
Also at the Miami OCR Erik Storck and Trevor Moore—the U.S. 49er representatives for the 2012 Olympics—posted a medal-race win, as well as plenty of nail-biting sailing, to end the regatta with a silver medal. Certainly not a bad way for this hyper-talented duo to start their 2012 sailing season; may their winning trend carry them through this summer's Games!
Other USSTAG sailors are also returning home from Miami with glimmering hardware, including women's RS:X rep Farrah Hall (silver) and Women's Match Racing skipper Sally Barkow's Team 7 Match Race (bronze).
And at the US Paralympic Team Trials, which also took place at last week's Miami OCR, Jen French and JP Creignou earned a bronze in the SKUD-18 class as did 2.4mR skipper Mark LeBlanc, and Paul Callahan, Tom Brown and Bradley Johnson in the Sonar. Get the full scoop on this huge week of sailing, including multi-media footage, inside.
Also inside, check out the latest happenings from the Volvo Ocean Race, the latest news about the 34th America's Cup, and field reports from the ongoing Global Ocean Race. And finally, be sure to check out the new safety requirements that were issued by the Chicago Yacht Club (CYC) in light of their disastrous 2011 Race to Mackinac, where two sailors were killed when a freakish supercell hit the fleet and tragically demonstrated why unstable sportboats are not suitable steeds for long, exposed courses. Thankfully, the CYC has taken the appropriate steps to help ensure that this won't happen again.
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