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25 January 2006, 09:24 am
Brits And Americans Continue To Prosper
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Rolex Miami OCR 2006
Miami, Florida, USA

Light airs on Biscayne Bay, Miami, USA proved a telling test for the sailors battling at the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR. After two days racing the Brits and Americans continue to dominate, with only New Zealand's Finn star Dan SLATER breaking their stranglehold of the top spots.
No ALT tag specifiedThe new Olympic windsurfing equipment, the RS:X has both a women's and men's fleet competing in Miami, where 610 sailors from 40 nations are taking part. By the turnout - 20 women and 39 men - the RS:X looks to be the success that it's architects had hoped it would be.

'This is only the first regatta in the U.S. for the RS:X since its announcement as the Olympic replacement for the Mistral back in November of 2004,' said Mike GEBHARDT (USA), an Olympic silver medallist who serves as US SAILING's RS:X class representative and takes part in international administration for the class. 'The board is less weight sensitive than the Mistral when the wind is light, which is the great equalizer. It has attracted a much broader range of sailors; you can be heavier now to sail it.'

GEBHARDT added that because of the RS:X's hybrid personality - somewhere between the long board style of the Mistral and the high performance design of a wider, shorter formula board - even World Cup pros are looking to do campaigns, giving Olympic boardsailing a global boost.

'It's noticeably slower than a long board in really light air, by about 20 percent,' said GEBHARDT, 'But when it's planing, it's 20 percent faster and it only takes about ten knots to get it planing.'

Light Winds Strike Miami

For two races yesterday, the wind hovered only around five to six knots, a downer as far as thrilling action goes but a fair comparison for what is projected for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao. Great Britain's Nick DEMPSEY, who won the Olympic bronze medal on the Mistral in the light breezes in Athens, seemed to relish the conditions, winning both of yesterday's races.

'He led from start to finish in the first race but he had a bit more of a fight on his hands for the second,' said Stephen PARK, the manager for Skandia Team GBR 2008, describing DEMPSEY's battle with France's Nicolas HUGUET, who remains in second. According to GEBHARDT, HUGUET is a favoured player here, having last year won the first ever RS:X event in Cadiz, Spain, which hosted 120 boards.

'There are guys like HUGUET here who are really good,' said GEBHARDT, 'But then there are a lot of recreational people here, too - new people getting into the game. With this new board, it's like someone who is used to running a marathon trying to do a triathlon. You're good but you just get punished because it's so different.'

In the women's fleet, another British sailor, Bryony SHAW, is also dominating. She turned in a 1,3 yesterday. Moving into second was Greece's representative at the Athens Games, Antonia FREY, who trails SHAW by four points.

New Zealand's SLATER replaced yesterday's Finn leader Rafael TRUJILLO (ESP). TRUJILLO toppled to third overall, while Canada's Christopher COOK, the defending champion, maintained second.

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Nick DEMPSEY leads Nicolas
HUGUET round the mark
© Dan NERNEY/Rolex

Home Sailors Continue To Flourish

Defending champions John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE (USA) posted a 2,8 yesterday to maintain their lead in the Tornado, but other teams are moving in. Another American team, Robbie DANIEL and Enrique RODRIGUEZ, moved up a spot to second, while World and European Champions Fernando ECHAVARRI and Antón PAZ fell from second to fourth. In third is France's Olivier BACKES and Paul-Ambroise SEVESTRE.

It was another smooth day for the USA's reigning Yngling World Champions Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Deborah CAPOZZI. With a throwout third place finish in the first of three races yesterday, the team followed up with two bullets to maintain a perfect scoreline. Hannah SWETT, Melissa PURDY and Liz FILTER moved to second from fourth.

Meanwhile in the two Laser Radial races yesterday, leader Paige RAILEY (USA), posted a 1,10, keeping her out in front, while Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) climbed the ranks from fourth to second.

Consistency The Key

The top three leaders from Monday appear to be racing a very consistent regatta, since there were no position changes from the end of day one. Great Britain's Nic ASHER and Elliot WILLIS maintain their position at the top of the scoreboard. Meanwhile in the women's fleet, the British team of Christina BASSADONE and Saskia CLARK moved into the lead, knocking out France's Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX, who now hold second place.

Monday's leaders in the Star, the Australian team of Iain MURRAY and Andrew PALFREY, fell to third place while George SZABO and Eric MONROE (USA) climbed from sixth to first, demonstrating that they are a force to be reckoned with throughout this highly competitive regatta. Current World Champions from France, Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU maintained their second place position overall.

More British Success

Chris DRAPER (GBR) seems to have shaken off the pain of a twisted ankle he incurred earlier this week and remains at the top of the 49er leaderboard with his crew Simon HISCOCKS. The bronze medallists from Athens ended the day with two victories after placing seventh in their first race. An interesting move was a second British team's rise from seventh yesterday to second today. John PINK and Alex HOPSON (GBR), turned in a 2,3,2, causing the toppling of USA's Morgan LARSON and Pete SPAULDING to third place overall

Britain also maintained it's lead of the 90 boat Laser fleet, which after a two day qualifying series, has been split into Gold and Silver fleets. Paul GOODISON (GBR) maintains his lead on an impressive five points from five races, with Poland's Marciej GRABOWSKI keeping his second place. In yesterday's two races, Brad FUNK (USA) posted a 2,1, moving up the ranks to third place overall from sixth place yesterday.

In the Paralympic three-person keelboat Sonar event, the first and second place finishers from Monday switched positions yesterday, putting David SCHROEDER, Keith BURHANS and Bill MAUK at the top of the leaderboard, followed by Rick DOERR, Ezra CULVER and Mike ROSS. On the day SCHROEDER's team posted three victories in as many races.

US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR is an ISAF Grade 1 event, a designation that indicates its importance in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. It also is a qualifying event for the members of the 2006 US Sailing Team and a country qualifier for the 2007 Pan Am Games. In addition to Rolex, sponsors for US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR are Nautica, Extrasport, Gill, Harken, McLube, New England Ropes, Nikon, Sperry Top-Sider, Vanguard Sailboats, Vineyard Vines, and Zodiac. Rolex and Nautica are also sponsors of the US Sailing Teams.

Headquarters for US SAILING's 2006 Rolex Miami OCR are at the US Sailing Center, with classes hosted by the US Sailing Center; Coral Reef, Key Biscayne and Miami Yacht Clubs; the Coconut Grove Sailing Club; and Shake-A-Leg-Miami. The event is organized by US SAILING, the national governing body of the sport.

For a complete list of all the news about the Rolex Miami OCR 2006 CLICK HERE.
Barby MACGOWAN (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU had a mixed day in the Star:© Dan NERNEY/Rolex
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