Champions were crowned yesterday in nine Olympic and two Paralympic classes at US SAILING's 16th annual Rolex Miami OCR. The last of five racing days concluded with all but one of Thursday's leaders at the top of the scoreboard.
Laser Radial sailor Paige RAILEY
(Clearwater, Fla.), one of over 320 sailors from 26 countries competing on Biscayne Bay for the regatta's 16th edition, had some business to settle on the water today with Anna TUNNICLIFFE
(Norfolk, Va.), and a good breeze interspersed with squalls helped her do it.
'The storms would leave, and it would get light
,' said Railey, a 2003 World Youth Champion who is now age 17, 'and then you'd see them come again and you'd have to get over to the wind.'
By the third of three races, Railey had put four points on Tunnicliffe, who was then tied in points with 2004 Europe dinghy Olympic silver medallist Lenka SMIDOVA (CZE). 'I just had to play it calm
,' said Railey. ' It was a lot nicer than the last few days when I made too many mistakes
The Laser Radial is a class newly added to the Olympics for 2008 and Railey is one of many rising U.S. stars who have flocked to it. 'It's so exciting to win
,' she said, 'because it's my first Olympic ranking regatta ever.
Yngling skipper Sally BARKOW
(Nashotah, Wis.) finished off her closest competition in two races. In the first race, she passed Canada's Felicity CLARK
on the last downwind leg to win. With a second-place finish in the second race, her accomplishments fell comfortably in line with her goals. 'It was a good day for us,'
said Barkow. 'We didn't put pressure on ourselves and stuck with a solid conservative game plan. Winning means we show everyone we're serious about the Olympics, and it's a good jumpstart for the next four years.'
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; therefore, Barkow has met this goal as well. Making the team with her are crewmembers Deborah CAPOZZI (Bayport, N.Y.) and Carrie HOWE (Grosse Pointe, Mich.).
In the Star class, Andrew HORTON (Newport, R.I.) and Brad NICHOL (Hanover, N.H.) successfully fended off a pack of aggressors that included Sweden's Fredrik LOOF
, the class's 2004 World Champion who finished second overall with crew Anders EKSTROM. Although Horton and Nichol led the regatta from the beginning, the two had predicted any of the five teams immediately behind could take them on the last day. Loof pounced but fell short, posting finishing scores of 5-1 to Horton/Nichol's 8-3 to go from fifth overall on Thursday to second overall.
Final scores were too close for comfort for Brad FUNK
(Belleair Bluffs, Fla.), but with one point over Andrew CAMPBELL
in the end, he snagged not only victory in the Laser class but also the Golden Torch Award, given to the American sailor deemed to have the best overall performance among all classes. 'Andrew was winning the last race until the last leg. I had said to myself I was going to finish that race exhausted, and that's what I did
.' Funk, who had rounded the weather mark in sixth, didn't catch Campbell, but Campbell fell to second on that last leg while Funk caught three boats to finish third. 'I was able to get a nice lead in the light breeze (earlier in the week) and hold it. I'm feeling I was prepared for this event. I kept my head out of the boat and was told I sailed pretty smart.'
Tornado sailors John LOVELL
(New Orleans, La.) and Charlie OGLETREE (Kemah, Texas), the USA's 2004 Tornado Olympic silver medallists, made it look easy once again, winning both races and adding the victories to three previous ones in their six-race lineup. 'It's never easy
,' laughed Lovell about today's performance. 'We've been sailing for the last couple of years and at the Olympics while everyone else took a year off, so that made a difference.'
49er sailors Morgan LARSON (Capitola, Calif.) and Pete SPAULDING (Miami Beach, Fla.) won their class, while the teams of Sven COSTER
/Kalle COSTER (NED) and Amanda CLARK/Sarah MERGENTHALER (Shelter Island, N.Y./Matawan, N.J.) won the 470 Men's and Women's classes, respectively. Christopher COOK from Canada won in the Finn class.
In Paralympic sailing, Sweden's Stellan BERLIN took the 2.4 Metre class, while Great Britain's John ROBERTSON
and crew Hannah STODEL and Steve THOMAS topped the Sonar fleet.
Full results are available on the event website via the link below.