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21 January 2014, 10:39 am
North American Titles Decided In Miami
49er fleet
49er fleet

North American Championships
Miami, USA

Over 150 boats across seven classes competed at the 2014 North American Championship in Miami, USA.
Many teams used the event to tune up ahead of ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and the results showed an indication as to who the runners and riders will be when ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami commences on 27 January.

With a poor forecast, the prospects for racing were low, but enough wind filled in for exciting races. Both the 49er and 49erFX fleets had clear leaders heading into the final day, with 11 and 14 point leads respectively, but first race blunders put each leader under pressure for the final two races.

In the 49er, Jonas Warrer and Peter Lang (DEN) held an 11 point lead over John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR). Three and 5 points further back were two more French teams, so the pack was chomping at the leaders heals. The first race proved to be difficult for the leaders, as they had a poor start, got stuck below a boat, and then fouled while trying to bail out right requiring a 360 degree turn. There was no recovery available for them, with the only respite being their good drop race and the fact that of the other three teams only Mattieu Frei and Yann Rocherieux (FRA) had a good race.

The Danes used their drop race to good effect, but now had no margin for error with three teams really close on points behind them. In light and trying conditions they did not falter and finished off with a 3, 2, only bettered slightly by John Pinks two bullets to take the victory by a handful of points.

New team mates Brad Funk and Trevor Burd were the highest place north American team, placing seventh overall on the leader board, a good recovery after a poor first day for these two sailors.

The 49erFX racing followed a similar path. Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) were been the dominant team so throughtout the series, rolling off an unprecedented six wins from seven races. Also sailing well were the French team of Sarah Steyeart and Julie Brossard, who did not have such a flamboyant scoreline but were 14 points back.

The first start was a challenging one for the Brazilians and they could not fight their way back past 17th place while the French managed a fourth. With drops included in the scoring, there was still an 11 point gap between the two as race 8 started. They matched each other around the course, with the Brazilians ultimately passing the French on the last beat to score a fifth with the French in sixth. That left a 12 point gap.

The pressure was on for the final race, and the Brazilians sailed a good one crossing the line in the top 5 and securing what they thought was a victory. Ultimately, however, they were undone by their start and were called OCS, disqualifying them from the race and pushing them back into second place overall.

Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre (FRA) came good in the Men's 470 and took the title ahead of Croatia's Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic. The pair had fought hard all week but having discarded a black flag, the Croatians counted a 13th in the opening race and finished six points behind the French. Italy's Simon Sivitz Kosuta and Jas Farneti took bronze.

There were French winners in Women's 470 in the form of Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance. A consistent week that was only blighted by a discarded black flag handed them the title ahead of Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) in silver and Great Britain's Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre in bronze.

2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallists Sarah Newberry and John Casey (USA) took the Nacra 17 honours, finishing two points ahead of Federica Salva and Francesco Bianchi (ITA). Lucy Macgregor and Andrew Walsh (GBR) came through in third.

In the Men's RS:X top spot went to Italy's Marco Baglione and Isobel Hamilton (GBR) picked up the Women's RS:X title.

Ben Remocker / ISAF
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