Warm sunshine and fresh breezes on Biscayne Bay made for a quick and delightful last day of the Rolex Miami OCR, where 526 athletes representing 34 countries have been competing in 11 Olympic and Paralympic classes since Wednesday.
The regatta winners, most with goals of competing in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, will certainly be defined by their performance here against the world's best. Over half of the 328 boats sailing were foreign entries, and the fleet was flush with world champions, Olympic medallists and America's Cup veterans. The regatta is the only ISAF Grade One ranking event in the U.S.A.
Perhaps today's biggest international upset was had by Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) who snatched the Laser title from yesterday's leader and defending champion Paul Goodison (GBR). Going into today, Mendelblatt was only two points behind Goodison. Mendelblatt finished 6-1 to Goodison's 14-2 in today's racing -- his sixth posted after a remarkable comeback from a crippling wind shift that put him 30th at the first mark. "In the second race, Goodison was leading and I was second at the top mark, but I passed him on the second beat. I knew he'd have to be off the pace in one or both races for me get ahead. I was just fortunate to have the comeback I did."
For his performance, Mendelblatt was deemed the best U.S. sailor at this event and received the newly created "Golden Torch" award. The award is an Olympic Torch from the boycotted 1980 Olympics presented by the Russian Olympic Committee to the chairman of US SAILING's Olympic Sailing Committee.
Another amazing performance was seen in the 470 Men's class by Paul Foerster (Rockwall, Texas) and Kevin Burnham (Miami Beach, Fla.). Foerster and Burnham, both Olympic medallists, won both races today to knock off Steve Hunt (Hampton, Va.) and Michael Miller (Charleston, S.C.), who had been leading since day one. Their final margin was one point to win, with Hunt/Miller settling for second. "We forced them to the wrong side in the first race,"
said Foerster. "In the second race, we were pretty even until they fell into a no-wind zone on the first downwind leg."
In the 470 Women's class, the team of Katie McDowell/Isabelle Kinsolving (Barrington, R.I.), which had sailed steady throughout the series, did so again today to win the class.
It was another story in the Yngling class, when Sally Barkow/Carrie Howe/Debbie Capozzi (Nashotah, Wisc.) finished 9-3 today to take a surprise overall victory a first appearance at this event. The team was not considered obvious contenders, especially after a premature start early in the series added 25 points to their score. However, after the drop race was figured into the scoring, the team moved into podium contention."We didn't put a lot of pressure on ourselves, but we sailed consistently and that's what worked,"
said Barkow. "This sky-rockets our confidence but we have a long road ahead of us for the Olympics."
Finishing second was the team of Katerina. Giakoumidou/Helena Dimitrakopoulou/Efi Mantzaaki who hail from Glyfada, Greece, staging area for the 2004 Olympic Regatta.
An overall victory for yesterday's 49er class leaders Tim Wadlow (Branford, Conn.) and Peter Spaulding (Coral Gables, Fla.) looked relatively easy when they posted a third-place finish in the lone 49er race today. Andy Mack and Adam Lowry (White Salmon, Wash.) were second overall, followed by Dave Fagen and Bora Gulari (St. Petersburg, Fla.).
Yesterday's upset in the Star class was reversed when Bermuda's Peter Bromby and Lee White turned in finish positions of 2-11 to pull ahead of Andy Lovell (New Orleans, La.) and Eric Oetgen (Savannah, Ga.). This makes the second time Bromby's team has stood atop the podium at this event. (Bromby won in 1995 and was second in '02). Lovell's goal for the regatta was to finish in the top ten overall. "It was a lofty goal,"
said Lovell, noting the 68-boat fleet, which was the largest and thickest with talent. "To finish second was outstanding."
In the Paralympic Sonar class, the team of John Ross-Duggan/JP Creignou/Mikey Ross (Newport Beach, Calif.) turned in a solid performance to maintain their early regatta lead. "I had a strong first day, obviously,"
said Ross-Duggan, who won half of his ten races and three on the first day, "but I had to keep watch on other strong teams. On any given day, things could have changed."
In Paralympic 2.4 Metre class, Germany's 2000 Paralympic gold medallist Heiko Kroeger won. Europe sailor Lenka Smidova (CZE) secured her position on the top of the podium, beating out defending champ Meg Gaillard (Jamestown, R.I.), who finished second overall. Finn sailor Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) maintained his lead over Chris Cook (CAN), and the Tornado team of Roman Hagara/Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT) topped Santiago Lange/Carlos Espinola (ARG) in overall results. Nikos Kaklimanakis (GRE) and Anja Kaeser (SUI) dominated to win the Mistral Men's and Women's competition, respectively.
To view the official regatta notice board and complete results, visit the event website below
Final Top Three Results
Europe (25 boats)
1. Lenka Smidova, CZE, 2-1-2-(7)-2-1-1-1-1-1-1; 13
2. Meg Gaillard, Jamestown, R.I., 1-2-1-1-1-(11)-2-2-2-2-2; 16
3. Georgia Chimona, GRE, (11)-3-4-2-3-5-3-3-7-3-3; 36
Finn (32 boats)
1. Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, DEN, (8)-2-5-6-1-4-1-1-2-6; 28
2. Chris Cook, Whitby, CAN, (6)-1-1-1-4-2-6-6-6-4; 31
3. Richard Clarke, CAN, 1-(33/OCS)-6-3-11-10-2-2-1-8; 44
470 Men Mixed (12 boats)
1. Paul Foerster/Kevin Burnham, Rockwall, Texas, 2-9-1-3-2-4-1-(22/OCS)-1-1; 24
2. Steve Hunt/Michael Miller, Hampton, Va., 1-1-(6)-1-6-3-3-1-6-3; 25
3. Mark Ivey/Howard Cromwell, Huntington Beach, Calif., 3-2-4-6-1-7-2-4-4-(8); 33
470 Women (9 boats)
1. Katie McDowell/Isabelle Kinsolving, Barrington, R.I., 4-6-3-2-3-6-5-5-7-(9); 41
2. Erin Maxwell/Jen Morgan, Stonington, Conn., 9-13-2-8-13-1-4-3-(14)-2; 55
3. Amanda Clark/Sarah Mergenthaler, Shelter Island, N.Y., 12-8-11-12-7-9-(15)-7-9-11; 86
49er (17 boats)
1. Tim Wadlow/Peter Spaulding, Branford, Conn., 2-1-1-3-(5)-2-1-2-3-1-3; 19
2. Andy Mack/Adam Lowry, White Salmon, Wash., 1-2-2-1-4-4-3-(5)-1-4-1; 23
3. Dave Fagen/Bora Gulari, St. Petersburg,Fla., 3-5-4-2-2-(8)-2-1-2-6-2; 29
Laser (49 boats)
1. Mark Mendelblatt, St. Petersburg, Fla., 8-1-1-(24)-4-17-5-1-4-6-1; 48
2. Paul Goodison, GBR, 7-6-5-4-1-8-1-(50/DNF)-7-14-2; 55
3. Andrew Campbell, San Diego, Calif., (16)-10-6-9-5-3-3-5-2-10-6; 59
Mistral Men (22 boards)
1. Nikos Kaklimanakis, GRE, 1-1-1-1-1-(11)-1-5-2; 13
2. Kevin Stittle, CAN, 2-(34/OCS)-3-10-2-1-2-1-3; 24
3. David Mier y Teran, MEX, 3-2-2-3-5-(6)-3-2-34/RAF; 26
Mistral Women (11 boards)
1. Anja Kaeser, SUI, 6-9-5-2-3-(13)-10-7-12.5; 54.5
2. Dominique Vallee, Trois-Rivieres, CAN, 11-3-8-12-7.4/OCS,RDG)-3-13-14-(18); 71.4
3. Swaine Gregoire, Montreal, CAN, 13-8-14-(16)-9-12-14-(17)-15; 101
Star (68 boats)
1. Peter Bromby/Lee White, Sandys, BER, 6-7-11-1-34-(69/BFD)-8-2-11; 80
2. Andy Lovell/Eric Oetgen, New Orleans, La., 7-20-1-(31)-11-15-3-18-25; 100
3. Bill Hardesty/Will Stout, San Diego, Calif., 13-12-12-24-(69/BFD)-5-28-4-10; 108
Tornado (28 boats)
1. Roman Hagara/Hans-Peter Steinacher, AUT, 1-6-(8)-1-3-8-1-8-7; 35
2. Santiago Lange/Carlos Espinola, ARG, 2-3-6-3-2-3-9-(14)-9; 37
3. Xavier Revil/Laurent Guillemette, FRA, 9-2-12-2-7-10-(13)-4-2; 48
Yngling (24 boats)
1. Sally Barkow/Carrie Howe/Debbie Capozzi, Nashotah, Wisc., (25/OCS)-10-2-1-11-2-4-2-6-9-3; 50
2. K. Giakoumidou/H. Dimitrakopoulou/E. Mantzaaki, Glyfada, GRE, 2-7-10-4-12-1-1-14-4-2-(22); 57
3. Carol Cronin/Liz Filter/Bridget Hallawell, Jamestown, R.I., 4-1-7-15-1-6-(16)-13-1-8-4; 60
2.4 Metre (20 boats)
1. Heiko Kroeger, GER, 1-1-1-(5)-1-2-2-3-2-1; 14
2. Hans Meyer, Pewaukee, Wis., 3-(4)-2-1-3-1-3-1-3-2; 19
3. Stellan Berlin, SWE, 2-6-(7)-2-2-3-1-4-6-3; 29
Sonar (7 boats)
1. John Ross-Duggan/JP Creignou/Mikey Ross, Newport Beach, Calif., 1-1-1-(4)-2-2-1-2-3-1; 14
2. Rick Doerr/Richard Hughes/Tim Angle, Clifton, N.J., 4-3-4-2-1-3-(8/OCS)-1-2-2; 22
3. Ken Kelly/Peter Steel/Kirk Westergaard, Victoria, CAN, 3-6-2-1-3-(7)-2-5-1-4; 27