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18 February 2004, 09:23 am
Sailors Reach Half Way Point
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US SAILING Olympic Trials
Florida

At the end of yesterday's racing, nine athletes are within striking distance of their goal of representing the USA at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, Greece.
Competitors sailing in the US Olympic Team Trials-Sailing in the Europe, Finn, 49er, Tornado and Yngling classes will have a mandatory layday today, giving everyone the opportunity to take a break -- not only physical, but mental -- from the eight-day marathon competition. Following a format that mimics the Olympics, the US Olympic Team Trials-Sailing are a winner takes all contest and when racing resumes on Thursday 19 February, competitors will have the four remaining days to make-or-break dreams that some have been envisioning for years.

An 1100 (local time) race start for the 49er and Yngling fleets sailing out of Key Biscayne Yacht Club was thwarted yesterday by light air on Biscayne Bay. Although the 49er fleet managed to complete one race, the Ynglings were undeniably frustrated by two races being abandoned before they joined the 49ers under a postponement flag on the water.

Once the breeze filled, the 11 boat 49er fleet knocked off three additional races to get back one of those lost to Monday's light air. They have now completed 11 of the series-planned 24 races and count one drop race in the scoring. With wins in two races, Tim WADLOW (San Diego, Calif.) and Pete SPAULDING (Miami, Fla.) retain the lead in the overall standings with 19 points. Dalton BERGAN (Seattle, Wash.) and Zack MAXAM (Coronado, Calif.), winners of the last race of the day, have hung on to their second position in the overall standings although losing some ground on the point spread between themselves and the leaders. They stand tied on points with Andy MACK (White Salmon, Wash.) and Adam LOWRY (San Francisco, Calif.), at 31 points each.

Back-to-back wins for Hannah SWETT (New York, N.Y./Jamestown, R.I.), Joan TOUCHETTE (Newport, R.I.) and Melissa PURDY (Tiburon, Calif.) shook up the standings today in the six-boat Yngling fleet. Swett, Touchette and Purdy moved from fourth to second overall on the strength of their finishes, closing to within one point of series leader Sally BARKOW (Nashotah, Wisc.), Carrie HOWE (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) and Debbie CAPOZZI (Bayport, N.Y.), who carries 15 points. Carol CRONIN (Jamestown, R.I.), Liz FILTER (Stevensville, Md.) and Nancy HABERLAND (Annapolis, Md.) finished second in both races to retain their third-place position overall, with 18 points.

Sailing from Miami Yacht Club with a 1300 (local time) start time, the Tornado fleet was postponed ashore before the breeze filled from the northwest and allowed them to get underway at 1430. Two-time Olympians John LOVELL (New Orleans, La.) and Charlie OGLETREE (Houston, Texas) won both races. They carry eight points for the overall lead position in their eight-boat fleet. Lars GUCK (Bristol, R.I.) and Jonathan FARRAR (Niantic, Conn.) finished second and third for second overall with 14 points, while Robbie DANIEL (Clearwater, Fla.) and Enrique RODRIGUEZ (Miami, Fla.) moved up to third overall with 20 points after finishes of fourth and second.

Light air also affected the Europe and Finn sailors racing out of Lauderdale Yacht Club, with the two fleets each completing only one race. Europe sailor Meg GAILLARD (Pelham, N.Y./Jamestown, R.I.) continued her flawless performance in that 14-boat fleet. After seven races, she carries a low score of six points, as well as a six-point lead over Krysia POHL (Alamo, Calif.) who holds second place in the overall standings.

Bryan BOYD (Edgewater, Md.) won the lone race in the Finn class, which did not unseat series leader Kevin HALL (Ventura, Calif.) who finished fifth and carries 12 points. After a second-place finish, Mo HART (Santa Cruz, Calif.) stands second overall with 21 points. Boyd holds third overall, although he and Geoff EWENSON (Annapolis, Md./Newport, R.I.) are tied on points at 22 apiece.

After today's mandatory layday, racing resumes on Thursday 19 February and continues through Sunday 22 February. Sixteen races are planned for the Europe, Finn, Tornado and Yngling competitors, with 24 planned for the 49er fleet.
Jan Harley (As Amended by ISAF)
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