In her young sailing career, 17-year-old Paige RAILEY already has an impressive list of championship titles to her name, including the 2003 ISAF Youth Sailing World Champion in the girls single-handed dinghy class and two-time National Champion.
And last week she did it again. For a third time, Railey has won US SAILING's U.S. Junior Women's Singlehanded Championship, sailed in Laser Radials, and the Nancy Leiter Clagett Memorial Trophy. Railey beat 66 competitors from throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The Championship was hosted by Bay Head and Mantoloking Yacht Clubs in New Jersey and sponsored by Vanguard Sailboats.
Fresh back from several months of racing in Europe, Railey took a commanding lead on the first day of racing. She did not relinquish that lead throughout the Championship and finished with a total of nine points after ten races and two discards. With this win, Railey has earned her third consecutive trip to the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, to be held in Pusan, South Korea in 2005. Asked how she was celebrating her win, Railey replied, "I'm doing homework for school right now because classes started a few days ago."
The real thriller for the day was the battle for second and third place. When the sailors hit the race course this morning, only eight points separated the competitors who were in second through fifth place, with three races left to go. In the end, it was Case HATHAWAY-ZEPEDA (Pasadena, Calif.) who was able to manage the northerly 13 to 14 knot winds and finish second, while Leah HOEPFNER (Corpus Christi, TX) held onto a well-earned third place.