Headliners for the Rolex Miami OCR include Miami's own 2004 Olympian from the 49er class Pete SPAULDING. He has teamed up with a new skipper, Morgan LARSON (Capitola, Calif.), after winning this regatta last year with his Olympic skipper Tim WADLOW. One of the regatta's youngest competitors might prove as one to watch in this class as well. Sam KAHN (Aptos, Calif.) is only 15 years old and rocked the sailing world in 2003 when he won the Melges World Championship at age 14.
A pioneer of 470 women's sailing, Allison JOLLY (St. Petersburg, Fla.), has returned to test the waters with 2004 Olympian Isabelle KINSOLVING (New York, N.Y.). Jolly was the first-ever gold medallist in the Olympic 470 women's class in 1988. "I didn't have a crew and Isabelle didn't have a skipper, so we got together-we'll see what happens," said Jolly. In the men's 470 class, Mike ANDERSON-MITTERLING (San Diego, Calif.) will defend his title with new crew David HUGHES (San Diego). The Netherlands' 2004 Olympians in this class, brothers Sven & Kalle COSTER, also have registered.
In the Finn, Kevin HALL (Bowie, Md), the USA's 2004 Olympian in the Finn class, will battle his nemesis and fellow Maryland sailor Geoff EWENSON (Annapolis), who finished second to Hall in the US Olympic Trials last year. A newcomer Zach RAILEY (Clearwater, FL) has switched from Laser to Finn to try his young 20-year-old hand against the more seasoned sailors. It's his fourth year competing at the Rolex Miami OCR and his first-ever Finn regatta. "There are not as many boats in the Finn class, but the sailors are good," said Railey. "I'll learn who's who and what the competition is like."
Railey's younger sister, Paige (Clearwater), is already a star in her Laser Radial fleet, at age 17. She is the 2003 ISAF Youth Sailing World Champion and the 2004 US Junior Women's Singlehanded Champion. "It's my first Olympic classes regatta," said Railey, who is thrilled that the Laser Radial has become the newest class at the 2008 Olympics. "It's just so exciting to be here and sail against people like Anna TUNNICLIFFE and Lenka SMIDOVA." Tunnicliffe (Norfolk, Va.) is the 2004 Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association National champion while Smidova (Prague, CZE) won the first ever Olympic sailing medal for the Czech Republic when she won the silver medal in the Europe iin Athens and has won this regatta in the Europe class both in 2003 and 2004.
The Tornado fleet will have the honour of testing mettle against USA's 2004 Olympic silver medallists John LOVELL (New Orleans, La.) and Charlie OGLETREE (Kemah, Texas), while the Yngling fleet will find its match in the young but longtime team of Sally BARKOW (Nashotah, Wis.), Carrie HOWE (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Deborah CAPOZZI (Bayport, N.Y.). The trio won the 2004 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship and the 2003 Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship.
JJ ISLER (La Jolla, Calif.) and Pease GLASER (Long Beach, Calf.), the USA's 2000 Olympic Silver Medallists in the 470 women's class have teamed up in the Yngling class with a third crewmember Laura SCHMIDT (Chicago, Ill). Isler also is a 1992 bronze medallist and four-time US Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year ('00, '97, '91, '86). "We're just checking it out," said Glaser, when asked it this might foreshadow another Olympic effort for the team. "We just bought a used boat and we love coming here."
Paralympic sailing is represented with the 2.4 Metre and Sonar. Roger CLEWORTH (Lithia, Fla.), who sailed in the 2004 Paralympics as a Sonar crew, has switched to the 2.4 Metre. The British Sonar team from Athens, lead by John ROBERTSON, will also compete.
The Rolex Miami OCR is an ISAF Grade 1 event, a designation that indicates its importance in world rankings. It also is a qualifying event for the members of the 2005 US Sailing Team and US Disabled Sailing Team.
In addition to Rolex, sponsors for the Rolex Miami OCR are Nautica, Team McLube and Zodiac. Regatta Headquarters for the 2005 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.