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US Sailing Team at 2020 ILCA Women's Laser Radial World Championships - Day 2

by Brittney Manning 24 Feb 2020 07:36 PST
Paige Railey at the 2020 ILCA Women's Laser Radial World Championships, day 2 © Jon West Photography

The conditions on Port Phillip Bay continue to deliver challenging racing conditions on day two of the 2020 ILCA Women's Laser Radial World Championships, allowing only one more race today.

Similar to yesterday, the athletes were greeted by conflicting breezes that battling between two different directions and had a high degree of variance in strength.

"It's absolute mayhem on the water," US Sailing Team athlete, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), laughed. "We started the race in eight knots and it died down to about three. Someone could be in two knots of breeze, and one boat length away, someone else could be in four knots. Downwinds are turning into reaches and upwind, if you're out on a corner, it could work out. So you're just trying to do damage control."

The athletes have much to think about on Port Phillip. Sailing inner-outer trapezoid courses, no two legs are the same in these conditions. After yesterday's stumble, Railey says she's learned from her mistake of risk-taking based on the assumption that the two upwind legs would be similar. "Yesterday, I was doing well in the first race. Then, on that second upwind, I was trying to play off the numbers I used on the inner loop and at the top. I lost a ton of boats, maybe 15 or more. So today, I told myself that I wasn't going to do the same thing."

Sure enough, Railey stayed on her toes and after a solid start, she played the shifts well enough to round the top mark in third. After a strong downwind that landed her in the top two, she shifted her priorities to make sure she had the big picture in mind once the wind died.

"The second beat went very light and shifty and brought a lot of the fleet back into the race," said her coach, Steve Mitchell (GBR). "It then became a case of defending against people coming from all areas. Rather than thinking about how she could get into first, she was focusing on to stay top three or four, because it was super shifty and gusty. She had some learning's from yesterday and put them into play today, which I was very happy with." Thanks to those adjustments, Railey finished today's race in fourth, moving up to 28th overall.

US Sailing Team Athletes Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Charlotte Rose (Houston, Texas) also felt more comfortable in the conditions today after facing the similarly shifty breeze yesterday. Both athletes made solid decisions on the first beat that put them in the top 20 around the windward mark. Following that with a fast downwind run, they got just inside the top 10 at the bottom and fought around those positions to end up 13 and 14, respectively.

"They weren't necessarily trying to do anything near each other, they were just both fast downwind and moving through the fleet at the same rate, which is good," said Mitchell. "Now, it's just a case of putting in some more solid races. The girls feel like they're into the event now, and are racing as they know how to. They're on the rise."

Now, Reineke and Rose currently stand in 25th and 54th, respectively. With a lot more racing left on the table, both athletes are optimistic that they'll have the opportunity to continue moving up the leaderboard.

After getting in only one race again, all of the competitors at the event are likely hoping for the same. The Race Committee will have to get in at least two races tomorrow in order to move onto the Final series, where the top 78 boats will qualify for Gold Fleet. If the competitors haven't sailed a total of four races by the end of the day tomorrow, the qualifying series will continue until that threshold is met.

Thankfully, conditions are looking promising for more races. Tomorrow, a weak cold front is expected to roll into Melbourne, followed by a stronger one for Wednesday's races. Mitchell expects the forecast will allow for a bit more racing than the previous two days, "Tomorrow, I think there could be rain and more wind, but when there aren't thunderstorms and the cold front, it will be light. The next day looks more promising, there will be a lot of wind all day."

The Race Committee will again attempt to make up for lost time thanks to the unstable conditions. Three races are scheduled for tomorrow, the first of which is due to begin at 2:00 p.m., local time. Tomorrow, the RS:X athletes at the southern end of the bay will also begin racing. Their first race is scheduled for 1:00 p.m., local time.

U.S. Laser Radial Results after day 2: (View Full Results)

  • Erika Reineke - 25th
  • Paige Railey - 28th
  • Charlotte Rose - 54th
  • Hanne Weaver - 75th

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