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USA takes home gold in women's Formula Kite at World Championships in Aarhus

by US Sailing 12 Aug 09:29 PDT 2-12 August 2018
Daniela Moroz and Coach Robbie Dean at the 2018 Hempel Sailing Worlds Medal Ceremony © US Sailing

The US Sailing Team has completed racing at the highly anticipated 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships, which concluded in Denmark's second largest city on Sunday.

The U.S. walked away with three country qualification spots and a much deserved Gold Medal for kiteboarder Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) who captured first place honors in the Women's Formula Kiteboard competition.

Moroz had one of her best performances yet even amidst constantly changing weather patterns across the courses. She won 14 out of 16 races this week. This marks the third consecutive World Championship title for Moroz. The talented kiteboarder has won the Hydrofoil Pro Tour in 2016 and 2017, the Women's Formula Kite World Championships in 2016 and 2017, and recently the 2018 Formula Kite Europeans in Warnemuender, Germany. Moroz attributes her success to her extensive support system as well as her "do what you know how to do" mindset.

Her coach this week in Denmark, Robbie Dean (Sausalito, Calif.), is a leader in the kiting world, having started the Hydrofoil Pro Tour in 2015. The inclusion of kiteboarding into World Sailing's Olympic Class events started at the 2014 World Cup Abu Dhabi, UAE, while Aarhus 2018 will be the first Combined World Championships to include hydrofoil kiteboarding.

"The idea that we're being included amongst other Olympic classes pre-2024 is validation that our sport is growing, and with the results that USA has achieved at this 2018 Worlds, it's validation that we, as a country, are doing it right," notes Dean, who also coached four promising young male kiteboarders.

Dean has coached Daniela off and on for the past few years in the San Francisco Bay area. Living just across the bay in Sausalito, Dean has watched Moroz compete and train, taking notice of the young athlete's intense dedication to her craft: "She's trained for the past year with recently crowned Men's Formula Kiteboard World Champion Nicolas Parlier (France), while balancing high school, a competitive swim schedule, as well as just downtime. She is an extremely level-headed and committed individual, and it's been a pleasure to coach her [in Aarhus]," mentions Dean.

The 17-year-old California native has been kiting since the age of 11. Her affinity for water was passed down from her parents who are both competitive windsurfers and kiters themselves. Moroz's impressive sailing resume includes being named US Sailing's 2016 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Though kiting is not currently a discipline officially part of the US Sailing Team, the event will eventually be included into the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

US Sailing seeks to foster and support young talent like Moroz as much as possible. "We loved having the kites share in this event experience with the other Olympic classes," remarks Malcolm Page, Chief of Olympic Sailing, "and feel we are getting a head start into the future of sailing talent [like Moroz] by including them just as any other U.S. athlete participating in Aarhus."

A total of 1,400 athletes from 85 nations, across 10 Olympic classes and 2 Formula Kite classes made the entire regatta experience feel as immense as the Olympic Sailing event.

The US Sailing Team included other notable finishes and country qualifications by the likes of Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), Erika Reineke (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.), and Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.).

Paige Railey fought a hard final series, often times sitting on top of the leaderboard. Going into the final day, Railey had to accept a dropped race back onto her scorecard after two flags in Race 8, which dropped her out of the top three where she had been most of the series. Frustrated with a fourth place position, yet only three points out of third, Railey approached her final Medal Race with the same mature attitude that has helped her remain consistent even with challenging conditions, calls, and race placements.

Though Railey was unable to overtake the Danish standout, Ann-Marie Rindom, she is proud she was able to compete at a high level after overcoming injuries and health issues that almost derailed her goals for undertaking another Olympic campaign.

"It's been a long road to get back to where I am today, and a medal doesn't compare to the gratitude I feel towards everyone who's helped me get here," said Railey. Her fifth place finish overall means she has officially qualified the USA in the Laser Radial for Tokyo 2020.

Erika Reineke also made an impressive play for a top ten spot, battling back after a few deeper finishes early on in her Radial series. Reineke placed second in the 2017 Hempel Test Event, and though took eleventh place overall missing the Medal Race, she is gratified to have bounced back into consistency and to have also qualified the country for Tokyo 2020.

The Men's 470 duo of McNay and Hughes walked away from the event in seventh place, a finish that the pair have accepted after moving up two places going into their Medal Race.

"We did a lot of things well, but we made unnecessary errors we can avoid, and will be working to avoid going into 2019. We did, however, accomplish one of our goals for this event, which was to qualify the U.S. for Tokyo. We all went in with realistic goals of getting to the podium, and without accepting too many silver linings we feel we have proper perspective from all of this," said McNay.

Charlie Buckingham (Newport, Calif.) also sailed the USA into country qualifications for the Laser class with an eleventh place finish. The majority of his finishes were consistently in the top 10, which Buckingham is proud to produce after refocusing his training and working towards Aarhus for the past two years.

"It's relieving to have qualified the nation for Tokyo. Aarhus has been on my radar for the past two years, and I feel I sailed well four out of five days, which I can walk away generally happy with my performance, and look to keep improving," said Buckingham.

The significance of the 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships not only afforded sailors world titles, but also provided countries their first opportunities to qualify for Tokyo 2020. The country qualifications in Aarhus account for 40% of the total allotment over the 10 classes.

Over the course of the next two years, beginning with Aarhus, countries compete in designated qualifier regattas which can correspond to their area and class. For the USA, there are two remaining opportunities for our sailors to qualify the nations:

  • 2019 World Championships (all classes)
  • 2019/2020 Continental Qualifications (all classes)
For the US Sailing Team, performing at the 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships was a goal they have all been working towards since embarking on their 2020 Olympic campaigns. The sailors and coaches collectively agreed Aarhus brought a variety of challenges:. a heavily geographic venue that was consistently inconsistent.

Though the USA set out to attempt country qualifications for many of the classes, a difficult feat in itself, the effort of the US Sailing Team, support staff, and coaches created an environment of openness, which helped to identify weaknessess.

"I feel it's great to know where we actually are competitively, and what our deficiencies are clear two years out, rather than closer to the [Olympic] Games," said Page. "It's important to get those down so we can refocus next year, and be more complete competitors."

The improvements and management style Page has instilled on the team shaped by his experiences as two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in the 470 class has created a sense of authenticity in the program.

"You can't leap frog into being a complete athlete. There are steps to take and changes to make, which ideally would happen now, but I am realistic and know which steps we need to take moving on from Aarhus."

US Sailing Team and USA Athlete Complete Results: Hempel World Sailing Championships Aarhus 2018:

Laser (Men's One-Person Dinghy)

11th overall, Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)
26th overall, Christopher Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.)
72nd overall, Henry Marshall (Auburndale, Mass.)
86th overall, Marek Zaleski (Norwalk, Conn.)
87th overall, Malcolm Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.)
100th overall, Ford McCann ((Kemah, Texas)
103rd overall, Paul Didham (San Diego, Calif.)
106th overall, Patrick Shanahan (New Canaan, Conn.)
131st overall, Marshall McCann (Kemah, Texas)
142nd overall, Scott Rasmussen (Ft. Myers, Fla.)

Laser Radial (Women's One-Person Dinghy)

5th overall, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.)
11th overall, Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
33rd overall, Haddon Hughes (Houston, Texas)
54th overall, Christina Sakellaris (Milton, Mass.)
75th overall, Hanne Weaver (Gig Harbor, Wash.)
105th overall, Kelly Cole (Oklahoma City, Okla.)

Men's 470 (Men's Two-Person Dinghy)

7th overall, Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.)
46th overall, Wiley Rogers (Kemah, Texas) and Jack Parkin (Riverside, Conn.)

Women's 470 (Women's Two-Person Dinghy)

37th overall, Atlantic Brugman and Nora Brugman (Winthrop, Mass.)
38th overall, Nikki Barnes (St. Thomas, V.I.) and Lara Dallman-Weiss (Ham Lake, Minn.)

Nacra 17 (Mixed Two-Person Multihull):

22nd overall, Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.)
24th overall, Sarah Newberry (Biscayne Park, Fla.) and David Liebenberg (Livermore, Calif.)
38th overall, Ravi Parent (Bradenton, Fla.) and Caroline Atwood (Killingworth, Conn.)
45th overall, Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Louisa Chafee (Warwick, R.I.)

49er (Men's Two-Person High Performance Skiff):

34th overall, Chris Rast (Holland, Mich.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)
40th overall, Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) and Mac Agnese (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
45th overall, Judge Ryan (San Diego, Calif.) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.)
54th overall, Ian Barrows (St. Thomas, V.I.) and Mitchell Kiss (Holland, Mich.)
62nd overall, Andrew Mollerus (Larchmont, N.Y.) and Ian MacDiarmid (Delray Beach, Fla.)
67th overall, Harry Melges (Fontana, Wis.) and Finn Rowe (Lake Forest, Ill.)
74th overall, Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla.) and Sammy Hodges (Musella, Ga.)

49er FX (Women's Two-Person High Performance Skiff):

25th overall, Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.)
53rd overall, Kate Shaner (Kirkland, Wash.) and Charlotte Mack (Palm City, Fla.)

Finn (Men's One-Person Heavyweight Dinghy)

12th overall, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)
31st overall, Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.)

Men's RS:X (Men's Windsurfer)

58th overall, Pedro Pascual (Miami, Fla.)
73rd overall, Geronimo Nores (Miami, Fla.)
79th overall, Carson Crain (Houston, Texas)

Women's RS:X (Women's Windsurfer)

48th overall, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.)

Men's Formula Kite (Men's Hydrofoil Kiteboard):

16th overall, Evan Heffernan (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
22nd overall, Dane Wilson (Ojai, Calif.)
25th overall, Kai Calder (Delray Beach, Fla.)
32nd overall, Quinn Wilson (Ojai, Calif.)
42nd, Amil Kabil (Sunnyvale, Calif.)

Women's Formula Kite (Women's Hydrofoil Kiteboard):

1st overall, Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.)

www.ussailing.org/olympics

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