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14 January 2009, 09:39 am
Olympic and Paralympic Hopefuls Kick Off Campaigns at US SAILING's 2009 Rolex Miami OCR
Zach RAILEY celebrates silver medal success at the Beijing Olympic Games
Beijing Olympic silver medallist Zach RAILEY will make his ISAF Sailing World Cup debut at Miami

Rolex Miami OCR 2009
Miami, Florida, USA

The second event of the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup, US SAILING's 2009 Rolex Miami OCR, is shaping up to be an international "must-sail" regatta for elite Olympic and Paralympic sailors, with one week remaining before online registration closes and two weeks until racing begins.
Following on from Sail Melbourne as the second stop on the 2008-2009 ISAF Sailing World Cup, this popular event will bring previous Olympians/Paralympians and future Olympic/Paralympic hopefuls together to compete on the waters of Biscayne Bay from 25-31 January 2009. Many sailors are eager to compete at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR in order to kick off the Olympic and Paralympic quadrennium at the top of their fleets and to see how they stack up against their foreign competitors.

"It's a great opportunity to get back in the water and start the year off seeing where everyone is at in their training," said Olympic gold medallist and current leader on the World Cup Standings Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA), who was just named US SAILING's 2008 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and US SAILING's 2008 SportsWoman of the Year for her outstanding achievement and performance in 2008. "I'll pick out some good goals to work on throughout the year. I'm also looking forward to getting back in the water for the experience of the regatta."

"It's the start of a new chapter in my sailing career," said fellow US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member Zach RAILEY (USA), who won a silver medal in the Finn class at the 2008 Olympic Games in China and was named US SAILING's 2008 SportsMan of the Year. "I'm looking forward to getting going again and putting my sights to the 2012 Olympic Games in London."

In addition, many sailors plan to compete at all seven of the ISAF Sailing World Cup events and are looking to score cumulative Sailing World Cup points. After winning a gold medal in the Laser Radial class at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, TUNNICLIFFE added more gold to her collection by winning the first ISAF Sailing World Cup event, Sail Melbourne, in December. Her gold medal earned her 20 points for her Sailing World Cup series score. Her US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics teammates Stuart MCNAY and Graham BIEHL (USA) also won a silver medal in the Men's 470 class, earning 19 series points. Other Sail Melbourne medallists who have already registered for US SAILING's 2009 Rolex Miami OCR include Blanca MANCHON (ESP) in the Women's RS:X class, Andrea BREWSTER (GBR) in the Laser Radial, Matias DEL SOLAR (CHI) in the Laser, and Paul CAMPBELL-JAMES and Mark ASQUITH (GBR) in the 49er.

US SAILING's 2009 Rolex Miami OCR is also a crucial event for American sailors who wish to make the 2009 US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, which will select the top three sailors/boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class.

"My first and foremost goal is to qualify for the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics," said RAILEY. "Secondly, I want to put myself in contention going into the Medal Race, so I can finish on the podium. That's all I can ask for. If I can do that, I'll be happy with my performance."

RAILEY, who has spent the last week training with American and international Finn sailors, including Olympians Chris COOK (CAN) and Rafa TRUJILLO (ESP), is looking forward to the intense competition of the regatta. "I have a competitive nature, so it's exciting to get back on the race course," he said. "Racing is a lot of fun. My competitors are also my friends. It's good to see them - and see who I can beat at OCR."

"We're a pretty tight group, so it's about having fun and getting some good results," agreed COOK. He added that Rolex Miami OCR is his first event after competing at the 2008 Olympic Games, so he sees it as "an opportunity to re-evaluate my sailing skills and see what I need to do for the next four years."

Sailors and their coaches must register online before 19 January 2009 at the event website www.RolexMiamiOCR.org. There will be no on-site registration this year.

ISAF Sailing World Cup

The ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 consists of the following events:

16-21 Dec 2008 - Sail Melbourne The Asia Pacific Regatta, Melbourne, Australia
25-31 Jan 2009 - Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA
4-10 April 2009 - Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma, Spain
18-24 April 2009 - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, France
27-31 May 2009 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands
20-29 June 2009 - Kieler Woche, Kiel, Germany
14-19 Sept 2009 - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, Weymouth, Great Britain

Find out more about the ISAF Sailing World Cup, including more on the seven events, the latest World Cup Standings, the scoring system and the Notice of Series at www.sailing.org/isafsailingworldcup.

Barby MacGowan
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