Familiar faces from recent U.S. Olympic and Paralympic sailing campaigns will be seen at the upcoming Rolex Miami OCR, but they won't necessarily be matched with the same on-the-water partners as before.
Organized by US SAILING to prepare sailors in the classes chosen for the Olympic and Paralympic Regattas, the Rolex Miami OCR kicks off racing with opening ceremonies on January 23 and continues for five days through January 28. With registrations accepted through January 23, the entry roster already stands strong, proving once again that even four years out from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Biscayne Bay in mid-winter is an exciting place to be for Olympic and Paralympic-caliber sailors. Nautica, which like Rolex is an official sponsor of the US Sailing Team, has become a major sponsor of the event. A new supporting sponsor is Team McLube, an official supplier of the US Sailing Team.
Headlining the Star class will be four-time Olympian and three-time medallist Mark REYNOLDS
(San Diego, Calif.). Reynolds, who won last year's Rolex Miami OCR and competed in the '04 Olympic Trials with 1984 Star Gold Medallist Steve ERICKSON (Hood River, Ore.) as crew, has picked up Phil TRINTER (Lorain, Ohio/Port Washington, N.Y.) as his new partner. Trinter crewed for Paul CAYARD
(Kentfield, Calif.) at the Olympic Trials to win and represented the USA in Athens, where they placed fifth. Erickson will not be missing from the Star lineup, however. He will crew for Olympian Mark MENDELBLATT
(St. Petersburg, Fla.), who, after securing an eighth at the Olympic Games in the Laser class, decided to make the transition to the Star.
After several years of sailing in a variety of classes, Morgan LARSON
(Capitola, Calif.) will return to 49ers in a big way: with crew Pete SPAULDING (Miami Beach, Fla.). Spaulding finished fifth in the 2004 Olympic 49er event with skipper Tim WADLOW
. Liz BAYLIS
(San Rafael, Calif.), a top match racer and 2002 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, will jump into the three-woman Yngling, having recruited '04 Olympian Nancy HABERLAND
(Annapolis, Md.) and Katie PETTIBONE
'After watching the Summer Games last August,
' said Baylis, 'Katie and I decided we should have been there, and we were not going to sit on our hands, but start doing something about getting ourselves to the 2008 Olympics in China.'
For the Rolex Miami OCR, Baylis's team has chartered the second Yngling used by Haberland's Team Atkins during its 2004 Olympic campaign. 'We'll be treating January as a bit of a trial balloon,'
added Baylis, 'to figure out a few key things: do we like sailing the Yngling; are we competitive; do we like sailing together; and, is this how we want to spend the next three years of our lives?'
Giving Baylis's team a run for its money will be Haberland's former skipper Carol CRONIN
(Jamestown, R.I.), who steered Team Atkins to a tenth overall in Athens. Cronin will bring to the equation another new crew mix: Kate FEARS (Washington, D.C.) and Jaime HAINES (Newport, R.I.).
Instead of sailing with someone new, Roger CLEWORTH
(Lithia, Fla.), an alternate in Athens for the three-person Sonar class, will go it alone to test his skills in the singlehanded 2.4 Metre.
The Rolex Miami OCR is an ISAF Grade 1 event, a designation that indicates its importance in world rankings. It also helps determine the members of the 2005 US Sailing and Disabled Sailing Teams. For 2005, the event will feature the Finn, 470, 49er, Laser, Laser Radial, Star, Tornado and Yngling, all of which have been selected for inclusion in the 2008 Olympic Games, along with the 2.4 Metre and Sonar, the equipment selected for the 2008 Paralympic Games. Only the windsurfing events (men's and women's) will not be contested due to limited availability of the newly-designated equipment for this classthe Neil Pryde RS:X.
Regatta Headquarters for the 2005 Rolex Miami OCR are at the US Sailing Center, with classes hosted there as well as at the event's co-hosting organizations Coral Reef, Key Biscayne and Miami Yacht Clubs; the Coconut Grove Sailing Club; and Shake-A-Leg-Miami.
The Notice of Race, Online Registration, and further regatta information can be found online at www.ussailing.org/Olympics/RolexMiamiOCR
The ISAF World Sailing Rankings will be released after the ISAF Grade 1Rolex Miami OCR on 2 February 2005.