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23 January 2007, 10:02 am
Sailors Breeze Through First Day
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Rolex Miami OCR 2007
Miami, Florida, USA

Perfect conditions welcomed more than 855 elite sailors from 49 countries on the first day of racing at US SAILING's 2007 ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR. A steady southeasterly breeze and blue skies offered competitors a taste of what makes Biscayne Bay an ideal venue for this world-class event in its 18th year.
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The regatta is the only ISAF Grade 1 regatta in the USA for Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls and a number of American sailors enjoyed peak performances today. This included Sally BARKOW and her crew, Carrie HOWE and Debbie CAPOZZI (USA), the #1 ranked Yngling team on the US Sailing Team, who tied on points with Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON (GBR) and Silja LEHTINEN, Maria KLEMETZ and Livia VARESMAA (FIN), but topped the scoreboard after tiebreaker rules were applied. BARKOW and her crew swapped first and third place finishes in today's two races, while LEHTINEN's team came in second place in both races.

'We stuck to our game plan and didn't make it too complicated,' said BARKOW. 'We felt good to be in that position at the end of the day.' As for today's neck-and-neck competition, BARKOW expects it to 'be tight all the way to the end.'

Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Laser Radial
Men's 470
Women's 470
2.4 Metre

Among the classes that were large enough to warrant splitting into two racing fleets was the 49er. US Sailing Team member Tim WADLOW and his crew Chris RAST (USA) topped their fleet by posting two bullets after a fourth place finish and went on to post a second place overall after scoring from the two groups was merged. Edging out the U.S. team by one point in overall scoring was Akira ISHIBASHI and Yuko MAKINO (JPN), sailing in the second fleet.

World Champs Lead 470

More good fortune came to USA sailors in the Women's 470 racing, where Amanda CLARK and Sarah MERGENTHALER (USA) secured a third place finish with 13 points in three races, behind World Champions Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED) with three bullets, and Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) with ten points. In the second of two races, the American team struck an object with their rudder on the downwind leg and lost some distance they needed to recover.

'We never gave up,' said CLARK. 'We concentrated on the small gains, and finished with some good results.' CLARK added, 'We're lucky to have such tight competition on home waters.'

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Marcelien DE KONING and
Lobke BERKHOUT began
with a perfect three bullets
© Dan Nerney/Rolex
In the Men's 470 class, Alvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES (POR) came out swinging early with a victory in the first of that fleet's three races. 'The wind was a bit tricky,' said MARINHO, 'But even with that it was an awesome day of 470 sailing.' MARINHO acknowledged the presence of World Champions and other top players in his fleet, including Athens Olympic silver medallists Nick ROGERS and Joe GLANFIELD (GBR), who finished 2,1,4 to post seven points and take the overall lead for the day. MARINHO and NUNES finished their day with a 7,7 and settled for second place with 15 points. 'This will be a tough week to get good results but we are fighting,' said MARINHO.

World Champion Casper BOUMAN (NED) leads the Men's RS:X fleet with a 3,1 start in the opening two races, whilst Marta HLAVATY (POL) went 2,1 to lead the women's fleet. The reigning World Champions also lead the Tornado fleet, with Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) holding a one point advantage after a 3,3 start. Amongst the Stars, John DANE and Austin SPERRY (USA) also lead by a point, with another World Champion, Hamish PEPPER and crew David GILES (NZL), one point behind in second place.

There is a surprise leader in the Finn fleet, with 22 year old Tapio NIRKKO (FIN) leading the way after a fourth place and a bullet, one point ahead of Chris COOK (CAN). The Finnish team enjoyed success elsewhere as well, with Sari MULTALA (FIN) tying for the lead of the Laser Radial fleet with world #1 Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA). Both sailors opened up with two bullets.

With 114 sailors in the Laser fleet, racing took place in two divisions. At the top of the leaderboard after two races, world #1 Paul GOODISON (GBR) ties with world #3 Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) and world #6 Gustavo LIMA (POR), who all posted a bullet and a second place.

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Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY covering
Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ
© Dan Nerney/Rolex

Miami Video Reports

America's Cup Hall of Fame inductee, author and sailing broadcaster Gary JOBSON (USA) will provide a front row seat for spectators around the world with exclusive daily video reports from Miami. NBC will stream the reports as daily web casts on, which will be linked from JOBSON's production will culminate with a wrap up special on the last day of the regatta.

Regatta Headquarters for the 2007 Rolex Miami OCR are at the US Sailing Centre, with classes hosted by other area sailing organizations and parks, which include: Coral Reef Yacht Club, Key Biscayne Yacht Club, Miami Yacht Club, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Shake-A-Leg Miami, and Crandon Park Marina. The City of Miami and the Miami Dade Sports Commission also support the event.

In addition to title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., the 2007 Rolex Miami OCR is also sponsored by all the partners that support the US Sailing Team: Nautica, Vanguard Sailboats, Zodiac, Gill, Harken, Sperry Top-Sider, Nikon, New England Ropes, Extrasport, and McLube. Rolex is also a sponsor of the US Sailing Team. The City of Miami has partnered with regatta organizers this year to help with the expansion of the sailing venues.

The Rolex Miami OCR will be included in the first running of the ISAF World Cup© series for the Olympic Classes. For more on the ISAF World Cup© CLICK HERE.

For a complete list of all the news about the Rolex Miami OCR 2007 CLICK HERE.
Marni Lane (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Deborah CAPOZZI got off to a flier in the Yngling:© Dan Nerney/Rolex
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