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28 January 2005, 09:45 am
One Day To Go
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Rolex Miami OCR 2005
Miami, Florida, USA

Tomorrow is the 'make it or break it' day for leaders at the Rolex Miami OCR. After four days of racing, only one day remains to secure - or sacrifice - a coveted victory in one of the nine Olympic and two Paralympic classes competing.
The Rolex Miami OCR is an ISAF Grade 1 event that helps establish the rankings of elite sailors worldwide and those aspiring to become members of the US Sailing Team and Disabled Sailing Team. Over 320 sailors, representing 26 countries, are participating.

In the Star class, Andrew HORTON (Newport, R.I.) and Brad Nichol (Hanover, N.H.) had a 'worst and first' today. They posted an OCS for starting early in the first race and not turning back, then followed it up with victory in the second race.

'We wanted to win the pin and go left,' said Nichol about the fatal first start, 'but everyone stacked up and the Germans under us pushed us over.' Had the team turned back, they could have accepted a lesser 'Z' flag penalty of 20%. 'I should have gone back; that was stupid of me,' said Horton.

Horton and Nichol still lead the 40-boat fleet but must watch again for those who have stacked up under them, this time on the scoreboard. Olympic gold medallist Mark REYNOLDS (San Diego, Calif.) and crew Phil TRINTER (Port Washington, N.Y.) have risen from sixth yesterday to second overall, nine points behind the leaders. The next three finishers are tied in points, only three points behind Reynolds and Trinter.

'I would say that out of the top five players, whoever gets two good races tomorrow will win the regatta,' said Horton. 'It should be fun!'

49er sailors Morgan LARSON (Capitola, Calif.) and Pete SPAULDING (Miami Beach, Fla.) finished second in each of their two races today, while Dalton BERGAN (Seattle, Wash.) and Zack MAXAM (Coronado, Calif.) claimed double victories.

'It could've been worse,' said Spaulding. 'Dalton had very good starts and they are fast in light air; our speed was okay, but we just didn't get off the line quite as fast as we wanted.' Larson claimed that his team's strategy for tomorrow, when the winds are expected to increase substantially from today, is 'to not tip over.'

'Seriously,' Larson said, 'I'm keeping it simple. I'll keep tabs on Dalton and Zack, but match racing is a little hard to do in a 49er if there's big wind.'

The teams of Sven COSTER/Kalle COSTER (NED) and Amanda CLARK/Sarah MERGENTHALER (Shelter Island, N.Y./Matawan, N.J.) held their leads in the 470 Men's and Women's classes, respectively.

'It's okay that it has been light air for the last few days,' said Coster, who finished sixth with his brother at the 2004 Olympics, 'because we need to focus on that for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. We are actually more expert in strong air, so we are not too concerned about tomorrow. We're right up there and being smart.'

Clark, a two-time College All-American, and Mergenthaler have a whopping 23-point lead on their women's fleet and in combined scoring for men's and women's fleets are sitting in second overall. 'That's a significant accomplishment for us,' said Clark. 'The first part of the regatta, we focused on securing our lead in the women's division. A secondary outcome was that we're doing pretty well overall, too. We like light air, but some better breeze tomorrow will liven things up.'

Other Action

Sally BARKOW (Nashotah, Wis.) reclaimed her lead after winning the first of yesterday's two races in the Yngling class and finishing fifth in the second. Only two points stand between her and yesterday's leader Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.). Barkow sails with Deborah CAPOZZI (Bayport, N.Y.) and Carrie HOWE (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), while Cronin sails with Jamie Haines (Newport, R.I.) and Kate FEARS (Washington, D.C.).

The Tornado class, which did not sail for a second consecutive day, should get a boost with the heavier breezes expected tomorrow. John LOVELL (New Orleans, La.) and Charlie OGLETREE (Kemah, Texas), the USA's 2004 Olympic silver medallists in this class, are the current leaders.

Brad FUNK (Belleair Bluffs, Fla.) still holds his lead in the Laser class after three races today, as does Canada's Christopher Cook in the Finn class after two races.

In Paralympic sailing, Sweden's Stellan BERLIN is still dominating the 2.4 Metre class after three races today, with Nick Scandone (Fountain Valley, Calif.) moving up to second overall. Great Britain's John ROBERTSON and crew Hannah STODEL and Steve THOMAS have not let go of their Sonar fleet lead since the regatta's beginning. They won both of their races today.

The Rolex Miami OCR is the only qualifying event used for determining US Sailing Team members in the 470 (Men and Women), 49er, Tornado and Yngling classes. Top-five finishers will claim the distinction tomorrow, and the Golden Torch Award will be given to the American sailor deemed to have the best overall performance among all classes.

Event Media (As Amended by ISAF), Image: © Rolex Miami OCR
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