At the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, heading into the medal races on Saturday, the U.S. has five entries, with top contenders Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha, who are currently fifth overall in the Women’s 470. Sydney Bolger and Sarah Lihan will join them, as will Stuart McNay and Dave Hughes in the Men’s event.
Also competing in the medal races are Sarah Newberry and John Casey in the Nacra 17 and Farrah Hall in Women’s RS:X. All are scheduled to sail two races, which are worth double points. Racing begins at 10:45am Palma de Mallorca local time.
In Women’s 470, Anne Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) are only eight points out of third place, behind the Austrian and Croatian teams, respectively. They have proven they are capable of doing well in this fleet, with a race win on day four.
For Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Sarah Lihan (New York, N.Y.) their overall position will be decided on Saturday, but they’ll benefit from Lihan’s experience in medal race fleets. That may have come in handy in today’s final race, the one that booked their spot in Saturday’s races. 'The final downwind of the last race, pretty much the last leeward mark, we were able to sneak inside the two French teams and beat them,' explained Bolger. 'That meant we were tied and the tie breaker was who beat who and we beat them and in 10th.'
It will be Bolger’s first medal race and she explained that although they haven’t been sailing together for too long, 'we went into this pretty confident and looking to have a good time.'
In the Men’s 470, Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) continued to improve in the Men’s 470 class, and moved up to ninth overall. They are also a new team, having first competed together at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami.
At 34 boats, ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma saw the largest 49er FX fleet, to date, in international competition. Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.) and Christine Neville (Oakland, Calif.) finished the regatta in 28th overall. 'For us the large fleet was a huge learning experience,' said Lane. 'It was reminiscent of the 49er starts. It’s exciting, super thrilling. A successful start is critical.'
Lane went on to summarize the last day of racing. 'Each race was a different story,' she said. 'The first race we had a great start, but didn’t have great boat speed. In each race we ended up passing boats at the finish by either sailing out to the edge and coming in hot or taking advantage of protection at the pin at the finish.'
The two paired up earlier this year and this is the first regatta for the new team as Neville sailed in the Laser Radial at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. 'The boat handling is a lot more difficult,' said Neville. 'Trying to do the same maneuvers on the starting line is way harder than a Radial. We are still learning to tack to port and back to starboard on the starting line without fouling someone. Our focus going into the event was to learn about our strengths and weaknesses and get experience sailing against other boats. Throughout the regatta we started out with major mistakes and we worked to minimize them the best we could, to the point where we were consistently making decisions around the course.'
They will next head to ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres at the end of the month, then to the European and World Championships. 'In 2014, we’ll look to develop competition in the U.S. more, but come back here and race in huge fleets,' said Lane. 'The opportunity to train with Luther Carpenter as a coach has been so informative. Being on the Development Team has given us that opportunity to work with him in Texas and Miami and here at this regatta. I’m not sure we could have the confidence to put together this whole year campaign if we didn’t have him as a resource.'
Races will be shortened across all the classes with the Men’s and Women’s 470 racing in 15 minute Medal Races, the Nacra 17 and Women’s RS:X racing 10 minute races.
Results to date: Overall position, class – sailors (hometown), race results in final series
9th, 470 Men - Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.)* 11-14-10-3-21 5th, 470 Women - Anne Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)* 1-5-94-22 10th, 470 Women – Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Sarah Lihan (New York, N.Y.) * ** 16-12-5-7-15 23rd, 49er - Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.)* 26-20-15-5-15-30 35th, 49er - Ryan Pesch (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)* 32-30-DNC-26-22-36 42nd – Brad Funk (Miami, Fla.) and Erik Aakhus (Corona del Mar, Calif.)** 10-12-1-8-5 (Silver fleet) 28th, 49er FX- Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.) and Christine Neville (Oakland, Calif.) ** DNF-26-OCS-15-20-18 11th, Finn – Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)*13-13-11-20-7 44th, Finn – Gordon Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.)* 17-5-2-12-12 (Silver fleet) 12th, Laser - Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)* 8-9-20-15-12 82nd Laser – Erik Bowers (Excelsior, Minn.) 37-37-22-6-34 (Silver fleet) 8th, Nacra 17 – Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and John Casey (Longwood, Fla.) 7-DSQ-1-16-16 10th, RS:X Women – Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) 10-9-9-16-13
* Denotes member of US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider ** Denotes member of US Sailing Development Team