Tag: Olympic Sailing

Golden Moments Abound on Biscayne Bay

The tension on the water at Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella was fully loaded as Medal Races across the 10 Olympic fleets drew the first big regatta of 2016, the Olympic year, to a close.

Many podium finishers from six days of racing in Miami will feature on the Rio 2016 pedestal in 188 days’ time and Miami can be viewed as a marker of what is to come this year.

In a week plagued by grey skies and fickle breeze the sun shone brightly in Miami but the light winds remained.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) came into the day as the only team who had gold wrapped up. In the remaining nine events it was wide open and in a shifty northern 6-8 knot breeze there were up, downs, disappointments and highs in their numbers.

Olympic medalists such as Robert Scheidt (BRA), Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED), Evi Van Acker (BEL) and Bryony Shaw (GBR) showed their worth, taking the honors in their respective fleets. In the remaining divisions, several new contenders emerged including Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) and Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) who won in world class fields.

Nacra 17

Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) claimed gold in the Nacra 17, jumping up the leader board after a tense light wind Nacra 17 race.

The Dutch pair occupied third overall heading into the Medal Race with Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) in pole position and Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI) in second.

Eight points split the trio beforehand with an unassailable advantage over the chasing pack. The sailors on the podium were decided, but the color of the medal they’d receive was far from certain.

The leading Australians were penalized at the start and were up against it immediately, crossing the start line well behind the pack. Meanwhile, the Dutch pair got underway without fear and worries as the only way for them was up.

Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) ran away from the fleet to take the race win by a minute over Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP).

The Dutch crossed the finish line third and had to watch the finishers to see if they’d moved up. Waterhouse and Darmanin crossed in seventh and the Swiss in ninth which gave them gold.

“Out there we used our speed well and we went to the left of the first upwind and it paid off,” explained Mulder. “We were leading at the top mark and consolidated. We ended up third which was enough for the regatta win.

“We were in a perfect position to go full on today and take some risks.”

Darmanin and Waterhouse ended up tied on 119 points with the Dutch but missed out via the Medal Race countback, settling for silver. Buhler and Brugger completed the Nacra 17 podium.

The Nacra 17 fleet will have to go through the emotions again in just a matter of days with the World Championships taking place in Clearwater, Fla., February 6 to 14.

Laser and Laser Radial

When regatta leader Marit Bouwmeester (NED) was flagged by the officials shortly after the start, it appeared Evi van Acker (BEL) had the opening she needed to close the 6-point gap that stood between her and a gold medal. Indeed, Bouwmeester was 10th around the first mark. But van Acker was ninth. These positions held around the second mark. On the third leg, van Acker made her move.

“I went on the right side when the wind was dying, but I thought change was coming,” said van Acker, the bronze medalist in the 2012 Olympics in London. “The wind turned to the right and I was there when it turned.”

Van Acker went from ninth to third on the second beat and then picked up another place on the final run. Meanwhile, Bouwmeester, who had so little trouble moving through the fleet earlier in the regatta, was unable to make any significant gains during the second half of the race. Van Acker’s second, to Bouwmeester’s’s seventh, was enough to flip flop the overall positions the two sailors held coming into the Medal Race.

Sarah Gunni Toftedal (DEN) struggled during the medal race and finished last. But none of her rivals for the bronze medal were able to take advantage of the situation and Gunni Toftedal held on to the bronze. Alison Young (GBR) was fourth, with Emma Plasschaert (BEL) in fifth.

Paige Railey (USA) won the medal race and while her move from 10th to eighth didn’t factor into the podium standings it did earn her two additional places in her battle for the U.S. Olympic berth in Rio. Her primary rival, Erika Reineke, finished 17th in the regatta and will have to make up 9 places on Railey in Part 2 of the U.S. Athlete Selection Series.

©Sailing Energy / Wolrd Sailing - Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Displaying a veteran’s poise, five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA) sailed a steady medal race in trying conditions to win gold in the Sailing World Cup Miami. While the positions around him switched considerably over the course of the 25-minute race, Scheidt rounded each mark in fourth place and finished fourth.

“It was a tough race, the wind was light and shifty,” he said. “I was worrying about the French guy as he was the one I had to finish ahead of to win today. He got to the [first] mark ahead of me, which made things very interesting. At the gate we had a split, which was lucky for me as I finished ahead of him.

“I sailed well this week. The Medal Races are always tough and very close. The day has a huge impact on the result and I took my opportunities today.”

Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), who made his international regatta debut the same year Scheidt won his third Olympic medal, started the day with a one-point lead in the overall standings. Though he didn’t win the gold, he can be comforted that he was just a place away from defeating one of the sport’s living legends. He’s clearly moving up the ladder and in good position to improve upon his 10th in the London Games.

Scheidt, though pleased with his results this week, knows the work of an Olympic sailor is never done. He’ll take some time to recoup, and then get right back to the grind.

“After this I am taking a break,” he said. “In March I will be back training in Rio. Rio is going to be quite a difficult venue with challenging conditions. I’ve sailed there for 25 years and I still don’t know the place. I’ll try and get myself comfortable with the place.”

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

Bryony Shaw (GBR) made a terrific comeback in the second upwind in the Women’s RS:X to seal her third consecutive Sailing World Cup Miami gold.

After the first lap of the course, Shaw was as low as ninth, leaving Lilian de Geus (NED) first overall. Shaw knew what had to be done and her never-say-die attitude enabled her to fight and push up the fleet.

On the final upwind Shaw swiftly moved into seventh, sixth and at the top mark had overtaken de Geus and was third overall. She maintained that position through to the finish to seal the deal.

“This week was about consistency,” said Shaw, a Beijing 2008 bronze medalist. “We had a lot of different winds this week so I was happy to sail well in the light winds and strong winds. The focus for more has been on training to prepare for the World Championships. We’ve had a really good quality fleet here so I am pleased to take the win today. It’s good momentum to take into the World Championships.”

De Geus wrapped up the week with silver and Peina Chen (CHN) completed the podium.

London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) started 2016, an Olympic year, with a big, convincing win in the Men’s RS:X.

Van Rijsselberge finished seventh in the Medal Race, his worst result this week, but his consistency over the series kept the pressure off him as he went in with a nice gap between him and the chasing pack.

“I like Miami and like racing here,” said Van Rijsselberge after competition. “I’ve been coming here for eight years now so I’ve got the place sorted and I enjoy racing here.”

Nick Dempsey won the Medal Race finishing six points off the Dutchman to pick up silver and Aichen Wang (CHN) rounded off the podium.

Finn

No class had more sailors enter the medal race with a shot at the gold. Six Finn sailors started the final contest with a legitimate shot at the medal. Adding to this was a light, shifty breeze that provided plenty of passing lanes. But when the dust had settled the top two sailors entering the race, Jorge Zarif (BRA) and Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, were the top two in the final results.

“It was really hard as everybody was really close before the race,” said Zarif. “I thought the left side of the racing area was paying a little bit more. I tried to be there more than the others and it worked well.”

Zarif held the lead around the first two marks, but dropped to fourth on third leg when a big left shift jumbled up the standings. On the fourth leg he ground back to second place, where he finished. Arkadiy Kistanov of Russia won the Medal Race and was able to vault from fifth to third in the overall standings. Jake Lilley (AUS) was fourth in the race and third in the overall standings.

For Zarif, who hadn’t previously won a World Cup race, this was a significant victory as he prepares to compete for the home crowd in Rio.

“Next we will have 15 days of training in Rio now with Rafa [Trujillo] my coach and then we go to the Europeans, Palma, Hyeres, the Worlds and then back to Rio,” said Zarif. “I was happy with the week I had, but I could have finished sixth or first today. That could have easily happened if something bad happened today. I just tried to do the best I could.”

Men’s and Women’s 470

For the Men’s 470 fleet, the crucial moment in the Medal Race came right at the starting gun. Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA), one of three teams that entered the race in a virtual tie for first, controlled the left end of the starting line and were able to tack at the gun and cross the fleet, putting themselves in a very strong position right out of the starting blocks.

“We saw an opportunity at the start and we were able to take advantage of it and get an early lead on the fleet,” said McNay, a two-time Olympian in the 470. “Dave called some great shifts on the first upwind.”

McNay and Hughes rounded the first mark with a 30-second lead over the fleet and never looked back, at least figuratively. In light conditions, no lead is ever truly safe.

“It was an easy race course to become frustrated with as it was very shifty and variable,” said Hughes. “By the same token, the teams that did well at this event just embraced it and played it forward from whatever position they were in. We are happy to better them all in the end.”

The most interesting battle of the race was for the silver medal, with Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) and Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) rounding the first mark separated by just 4 seconds. On the second upwind leg the Greek duo was able to put over a minute on their rivals and all but clinch the silver medal. Jacob and Graeme Chaplin-Saunders finished second in the medal race and moved up a spot, to seventh, in the overall standings.

McNay and Hughes will hope to carry the momentum they earned in Miami this winter into the class’s world championships in Argentina in February.

“This is the third of three events in Miami this winter and we can proudly say we have won all three of them,” McNay said. “We felt that to do that many competitions back to back to back would be the best way to prepare ourselves for the upcoming World championships.”

Consider it a job well done, on to the next challenge.

“There are many events between now and Rio and we are just going to chip away at one event of a time,” said Hughes. “We’ve got lots to work on and as with any Olympic campaign there are a lot of different boxes to tick.”

Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN) started the Medal Race much the way they started the regatta, in last place. The first race of the event, which might seem like it took place a month ago given the twists and turns of this event, resulted in a DSQ for the Chinese team. Likewise, the first leg of the Medal Race didn’t go well and Chen and Gao rounded the first mark in last place, 48 seconds off the lead and in real danger of missing the podium entirely.

But in the light and shifty conditions, persistence was the key; and passing opportunities were there for the taking. Chen and Gao found a few on each of the next three legs, moving to sixth on the first run and then to third on the final run. Meanwhile, their chief rivals for gold, Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) and Fernanda Oliveira and Luiza Ana Barbachan (BRA) found the going much more challenging. With those teams finishing in eighth and 10th respectively, Chen and Gao claimed the gold medal, with the Austrians in second and the Brazilian team, which led for much of the regatta, in third.

49er and 49erFX

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) ventured into the 49er Medal Race with a strong lead and as they came through in second, a convincing victory was signed, sealed and delivered.

Portugal’s Jorge Lima and Jose Costa had an outside chance of overthrowing the Spaniards but Lopez felt no worries as he explained, “For us we had to take control of the Portuguese guys today. We had a 12-point advantage so we wanted to control them with some tactics to win.

“We finished second, which was a really good result for us and we won. We’re really happy.”

Lima and Costa settled for silver and Carl P Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark (SWE) completed the podium.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) had gold all sewn up before the Medal Race so the pressure was off.

The real battle in the 49erFX was for silver and bronze with Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) and Lisa Ericson and Hanna Klinga (SWE) split by one point.

Hansen and Salskov Iversen were sublime in the Medal Race. Chased by the Swedes they did not let up. They led from the off and used their superior boat speed to pull away and claim a well deserved silver medal.

From now on, it’s full on to Rio 2016 with World Cups, World Championships and continental championships coming thick and fast before the flame is lit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 August 2016.

The 470s, 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and RS:Xs will have to reset quickly with their World Championships taking place in February. The remaining fleets will hold theirs later on this year.

—Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami, & Daniel Smith, World Sailing

Photo credits: Pedro Martinez & Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Miami Satisfies Burning Racing Desires on Day 3 

Biscayne Bay provided the 711 sailors from 64 nations with a welcome breeze for Wednesday’s racing at Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella.
Following two challenging days, it was a relief for everyone involved to get in a full day of racing in a steady breeze, albeit light at between 6-10 knots. All 12 fleets sailed their scheduled quota of races and 8 of 12 classes now find themselves back on schedule.

The leader boards in all of the fleets are starting to shape up and for the 49er, Laser and Laser Radial qualifying is over with two days of Gold and Silver racing to ensue.

As of 17:45 local time, a number of protests were on going ensuring a late evening for the jury with a number of scoring changes possible. View the protest summary web page here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/protest-summary.php

Finn

The 2016 Sailing World Cup Miami may be the biggest regatta of Caleb Paine’s (USA) sailing career. But the towering Finn sailor is trying to treat this event, which doubles as the first part of the U.S. selection series for the Rio Olympics, just like the many other Olympic-class events he’s sailed over the past decade. “I try to get into the mindset I know works for me and keep that repetition going,” said Paine after a solid day on the water. “Hopefully it all works out in the end.”

The Finn class was limited to just one race over the first two days. Now, with four races now in the books, it’s a good time to look at how the fleet is shaking out. Surprisingly, there’s no more space between the top six than there was after Race 1. Paine leads with 10 points, Lei Gong (CHN) is in second with 11, and Jake Lilley (AUS) is in third with 12. The pattern continues through Zack Railey (USA), the 2008 Finn silver medalist, in sixth, with 15 points.

Paine’s 4-3-3 was the best score on the day and the most consistent of the front-runners.

“We were all expecting a little more breeze,” he said. “But fortunately we had enough to get three races in. I still could improve on my starting, but for the most part it was all about just keeping your lane wide open and having the ability to make the right decisions instead of other people dictating it.

“Boatspeed was the king of the day. I’ve been working with my coach quite a bit and feel like I’m going pretty fast.”

In contrast to Paine’s steady performance so far, Railey, who is emerging as Paine’s chief rival for the Olympic berth after some time away from the dinghy, has been a bit up and down. Today he sandwiched two wins around a 15th; and he opened the regatta on Monday with a 13th.

“The first race of the regatta was a really difficult race, really big shifts, and I just wanted to get a solid result out of that one. I probably sailed too conservative, but I was OK with a 13th,” he said. “The second race today, I thought the right side was going to come in, and we were looking OK about halfway up the first beat. There was a 20-degree left shift with pressure. I just never made it out of the right side and rounded [in the bottom half of the fleet] at the first mark and caught back up as much as I could. That’s just part of sailboat racing.”

After the 2012 OIympics, when he finished 12th, Railey turned his focus toward a product development company. A half year ago he decided to get back into the Finn.

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016“I’ve got a great family that allows me to do it and I’ve got some really great business partners that allow me to step away from the business,” he said. “I’d done a lot of other sailing outside of Olympic sailing and I just really missed Olympic sailing. I missed the training and the grind that goes along with it. And I had a couple of really friends of mine that decided they were going to come back also, so many a little bit of peer pressure also.”

One of those close friends, 2012 silver medalist Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN), is currently in fifth place. With the three races scheduled for each of the next two days, this event could turn into a test of strength and endurance. That might seem to favor Paine, who is younger than Railey and has been training for this moment for four years. But he’s not taking anything for granted.

“Everyone is fit and, being that it’s the Olympic Trials, everyone is ready for it,” he said. “It’s good to see everyone out there in the competition, and I look forward to see what the result brings.”

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

Three races apiece in the Men’s and Women’s RS:X satisfied the burning racing desire within the windsurfers hearts following two frustrating days.

Just two men’s and one women’s RS:X race had been complete over Monday and Tuesday and even though the breeze remained light, three races apiece played out on Biscayne Bay on Wednesday.

In light breeze the RS:X is physically demanding. Competitors have to chisel their bodies and watch their weight in the build up to an event and then push their aerobic capacity during racing whilst reading the wind and tidal patterns across a wide body of water.

In short, it isn’t easy. Poland’s Pawel Tarnowski explained, “In these conditions it is really hard to have a good race in the RS:X as you have to pump all the time in the upwind and in the downwind. It affects your body from your legs, your arms and back.

“You have to be very well prepared physically plus have some good tactics. Sailors say it is like playing chess with a huge heart rate.”

Tarnowski was one of the chess masters on the third day, picking up a 2-5-1 scoreline to occupy second overall.

However, the grand master of RS:X chess playing has to be Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) who continued his exceptional consistency. A third and a second kicked off his competition and he added his first bullet, a third and a discarded fourth to his tally to lead the pack on nine points.

“It’s pretty brutal out there when it’s light,” explained Van Rijsselberge when messaging @isafworldsailing on Instagram via his account @lifeofdorian after racing.

In between sending selfies with compatriot Kiran Badloe, Van Rijsselberge continued, “It was nice to get some races done. For sure the last couple of days were a bit slow so it was so much better to do what we came here for, racing at the top level.

“The conditions are hard out there but the top five are all in it to win it.”

The top five the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist speaks of is the second place Tarnowski on 12 points, Nick Dempsey (GBR) on 12, Chunzhuang Liu (CHN) on 13 and Aichen Wang (CHN) on 14.

Lilian de Geus, compatriot of Van Rijsselberge, continued the trend of Dutch consistency in the RS:X and holds first overall in the Women’s pack.

De Geus won the opening race on day one and picked up where she left off, recording a 2-1-(5) score line to lead Patricia Freitas (BRA) by four points.

Freitas started the day off by claiming the opening bullet, following up with a fifth and a discarded eighth. “I had a good day,” said Freitas. “The wind was really tricky and it was coming and going. There was a lot of cloud so the pressure was on and off. There were shifts on both sides and the race course was very short as we have a target time of 30 minutes.”

There was minimal separation amongst the top racers in the Women’s RS:X over their three races and that is evident by the scores at the top of the leader board. De Geus sits top on four points followed by Freitas on eight, Bryony Shaw (GBR) and Peina Chen (CHN) on nine, Marina Alabau (ESP) on 11 and Poland’s Malgorzata Bialecka on 14.

Men’s & Women’s 470

Today wasn’t up to the standard of the previous two for the Brazilian duo of Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan, but a strong finish in the final of three races kept them in the lead for another day. Close on their heels is Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT), three points behind, and then there’s a gap of five points to third, currently occupied by Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN). Consistency has been a challenge for every team outside of the top four, which has started to stretch away from the rest of the pack. With 29 points, Sydney Bolger and Carly Shevitz (USA) are in fifth. They showcased their potential by winning today’s first race. But will have to be more consistent to get on the podium.

In the men’s 470, we have a new leader. Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera won the final two races of the day—and were able to discard an OCS from the first race of the day—and move past Stuart McNay and David Hughes (USA) into the lead. McNay and Hughes are just two points behind, and hold a seven-point cushion over third, Panagoitis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) and Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstäder (AUT).

Laser Radial & Laser

After opening the regatta with a sixth, Laser Radial veteran Marit Bouwmeester (NED) has been unstoppable, winning all five of her remaining qualifying races to open up a four-point lead. Evi van Acker (BEL) another veteran and fellow Olympic medalist, has won a pair of races herself and was able to discard a black flag disqualification from today to sit second. Defending Olympic gold medalist Lilja Xu (CHN) is third, a point further back.

With qualification completed, the fleet will be split into a gold and silver grouping and winning the races will be that much tougher over the final two days.

The top American in the fleet is Paige Railey, who is currently 17th with 36 points. That’s good enough for a 9-point cushion over Ericka Reineke (USA), who is Railey’s chief rival for the 2016 Olympic berth in the Radial class. That battle will be an interesting one to watch during the next few days. This event is Part 1 of the two-stage selection series for that class.

The Laser class, one of only two to start the Day 3 on schedule, sailed a pair of afternoon races. Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) won his final race of the day—as with the Radial fleet, the 98-strong Laser fleet has been sailing in two groups for qualification—and has built himself an impressive 16-point lead heading into the gold and silver fleet split. Jean Baptiste Bernax (FRA) sits second with 27 points, but there is a pack of four sailors all within 5 points of the silver-medal position. At the back end of this group is 5-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA), who has rebounded from a tough start with three straight second place finishes.

Charlie Buckingam (USA) is the top American in 11th. While he has his sights focused on the top 10—only the top 10 in each class qualify for Saturday’s medal race, which will be carried lived on ESPN3—Buckingham has to be comforted by the knowledge that the next American sailor is 20 points behind. As with many of the other classes, this regatta serves as the first part of the selection trails for the U.S. Laser berth in the Rio Olympics.

49er and 49erFX

The 49er qualifying series concluded with three further races on Wednesday ahead of the fleets separating into Gold and Silver for the duration of the World Cup.

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) advanced to top spot in the 49er, recording an 8-4-3 to leave them on 45 points. The Spanish duo tend to excel in the qualifying series and more times than not, come out at the top of the leaderboard.

When push comes to shove and they race in a top quality Gold fleet they fall down the pack. Six Gold races are ahead of them now to see if they can buck the trend. Carl P Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark of Sweden follow in second and Jorge Lima and Jose Costa (POR) are third. The top American team is Thomas Barrows and Joseph Morris in 11th.

Defending 49erFX champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) moved up to first after four good races. A pair of seconds, a seventh and a sixth hand them a ten-point advantage over Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN). Two American teams are tied for 21st, Emily Dellenbaugh and Elizabeth Barry and Paris Henken and Helena Scutt.

Nacra 17

It’s common across Olympic sailing that one sailor or partnership will excel and shine on any given day. A pair of bullets, a trio of top three results or four top tens can often be seen on a daily basis at World Cup, World Championship and Continental Regattas but that common rule was broken today in the Nacra 17.

Each team picked up a mixed bag of results over four challenging races to open the scores up with six fleet races remaining.

Lucy Macgregor and David Evans (GBR) were the leading performers of the day, starting with a bullet and then a third. An 18th, which they count having already discarded a 33rd, followed before they concluded the day with a third to move to fifth overall.

They sit 42 points off leaders Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) who have 49 points with overnight leaders Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) second on 53 points. The surprise of the fleet so far has been the performance of Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee (USA), who have only been sailing together for a few days. Gulari’s normal crew was hurt just prior to the regatta, and Chafee, who had some experience in the class, was called in. They have shown remarkable consistency in a very difficult fleet and are currently third, 11 points out of second, and 15 points off the lead.

Paralympic Classes

A jam packed day of Paralympic racing saw three races in both the 2.4mR and Sonar fleets completed.

Helena Lucas (GBR) showed her class in the 2.4mR advancing to top spot after a second and double bullets. The London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist is yet to taste that golden feeling in Miami after several attempts. Her performance today has boosted her chances as she tops the billing by top points over Bruce Millar (CAN) who had held top spot from day one.

Millar started the day with a bullet but couldn’t hold on to Lucas as two third followed. Peter Eagar (CAN) is third on 20 points. Charles Rosenfield (USA) sits fourth, 5 points ahead of countryman Dee Smith.

Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes (CAN) were assertive in the Sonar, notching up two race victories to accompany their third. They lead 2015 World Champions John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) by two points heading into the penultimate day of Paralympic racing this Thursday. Rick Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund are the top U.S. team in fifth.

Racing resumes on Thursday, January 28, at 10 a.m. local time.

—Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami, & Daniel Smith, World Sailing

Photo credits: Pedro Martinez & Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Day 3 Morning Briefing: Breeze back on in Miami. Or is it?

Tuesday’s forecast predicted a 14-knot breeze that would last for the duration of the day. Unfortunately, it did not quite play out that way turning into a ‘head out of the boat’ day where sailors light wind skills were put to the test.

Wind in the region of 17-19 knots from the south is forecast for the third day of competition but based on the day’s prior, it would be unwise for anyone to rely on the forecast in changeable Miami weather.

An overcast sky and a spot of precipitation was evident this morning in Miami but the worst of the conditions will pass further north with a 40-percent chance of thunderstorms.

Two days of mischievous breeze have toiled with the schedule and many of the packs will use the day to catch up on races lost.

The day’s schedule is available below:

Class Course # of Races Start time
Men’s RS:X Delta 3 10:40
Women’s RS:X Delta 3 10:30
Laser Blue Echo 2 13:30
Laser Yellow Echo 2 13:40
Laser Radial Blue Echo 3 10:30
Laser Radial Yellow Echo 3 10:40
Finn Foxtrot 3 10:20
49er Blue Charlie 3 10:00
49er Yellow Alpha 3 10:20
49erFX Alpha 4 13:20
Men’s 470 Foxtrot 3 10:00
Women’s 470 Foxtrot 3 10:10
Nacra 17 Charlie 4 13:00
2.4mR Bravo 3 11:10
Sonar Bravo 3 11:00

Day 2: Mind Over Matter on Biscayne Bay

Another day of fading morning breeze and unstable afternoon conditions kept sailors and race committees guessing as to what the wind would do next. Those who guessed right put a few more bricks into what will hopefully become a solid regatta result by the end of the week. Those who didn’t will have work to do when racing resumes tomorrow, under what is expected to be drastically different weather conditions. Of the 12 fleets racing on Biscayne Bay this week, only the 49ers and the Lasers remain on schedule, with six and four races completed, respectively. The Finns didn’t race today and are stuck on one race. The same is true of the Women’s RS:X. For the Laser Radial fleet, which has completed just two races, the situation is particularly acute. That fleet must be split into gold and silver fleets after tomorrow’s racing. The race committees of all the fleets currently behind schedule will aim to make up races tomorrow. There’s forecast to be wind. Rain is expected and thunderstorms are possible.

Nacra 17

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) arrived back at Regatta Park, a new venue for Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella, late in the day with a consistent day of racing under their belts in tricky conditions.

A 3-4-3 in stable conditions is a day to be proud of, but in the Miami shifts, that’s impressive. The trick? “Have your head on a screw,” exclaimed Waterhouse. “Just keep looking around and making good tactical decisions. The first race was a boat speed race and the next two were tactical chess playing races.

“It was a lot of fun out there and I’m sure there were a lot of ups and downs and we are happy to come away on the right side of it. We had a really good day and were really consistent, it was tricky and typical of Miami. We can take it forward for the rest of the regatta.”

The Australians are two leading lights in the Nacra 17 fleet, modest in their approach, humble in their ways yet full on and intense in the racing arena. They won gold at the Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2015 and are backing that performance up with further results to match.

After five Nacra 17 races they lead the way on 13 points, Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) follow on 20 and Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) sit third on 26.

Race wins on the day went to Iker Martinez and Julia Roman (ESP), Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) and Paul Kohlkoff and Carolina Werner (GER).

49er and 49erFX

‘Keeping it consistent’ is a term every racing sailor aspires to and that term could not be more appropriate in the Olympic sailing arena.

Sailors don’t necessarily have to win a race to claim a medal. Regular results at the front of the pack can go a long way to ensure you’re there at the end when it counts.

Argentina’s Victoria Travascio and Maria Sol Branz are well known for their light breeze consistency and they personified that once again by picking up a 2-1-2.

“We did very good and it was really cool,” explained Travisco. “We managed three good starts and that was it really. The first we went on the left, had a good start and stayed on the left.”

The Argentineans demonstrated their light wind nous in the middle of 2015, winning Pan American Games gold on Lake Ontario in Toronto, Canada. Miami’s conditions on Tuesday suited them and they have leapt up the leader board, tied for third with Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).

Ragna and Maia Agerup (NOR) hold their overnight lead with Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) in second.

Defending Miami 49er champions Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) took over at the top of the pile after four races. They opened up with a 13th, which they discarded before swiftly following up with a fourth, second and a first. They occupy first overall on 12 points.

James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) are second on 19 and overnight leaders Jorge Lima and Jose Costa (POR) drop to third on 24 points.

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

A single Men’s RS:X race was completed in the light air with the Women’s RS:X unable to sail.

Chinese racer Chunzhuang Liu asserted his light wind prowess again, overcoming Dorian van Rijsselberge by 15 seconds to take his second race win.

Liu has opened up a three-point gap over van Rijsselberge after two races but it’s still very early days in the competition with everything to play for.

Paralympic Classes

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Three 2.4mR races have thrown out different victors in each. Bruce Millar (CAN) took the first bullet on the opening day and in Tuesday’s two, Peter Eagar (CAN) and Helena Lucas (GBR) crossed the line first in races two and three.

As a result, the trio are separated by one point at the top of the leader board. Miller leads on three points followed by Eagar and Lucas on four.

Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes (CAN) grabbed the lead in the Sonar following a second and a discarded seventh. Race wins went to Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Jacob Haug and Per Eugen Kristiansen as well as Alphonsus Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund who are eighth and fifth respectively.

Racing resumes on Wednesday 27 January at 10:00 local time. The Laser, Laser Radial and 49er will complete their qualification series and many of the fleets will be looking to catch up on races lost over two challenging days.

Men’s & Women’s 470

Today, on the Women’s 470 course at the Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella, it was all about the pressure. From the wind, that is. As with yesterday, a promising breeze in the morning dwindled quickly. By noon it was decidedly in the single digits. By mid-afternoon it was on the edge of being unsailable. By that time, however, the women 470 sailors, were ashore, washing off their boats and thinking about what went right or what went wrong—or maybe a little of both—in their two races.

“When it’s so light, the pressure [is most important],” said skipper Fernanda Oliveira (BRA), who, along with teammate Ana Luiza Barbachan, scored a first and a second today and are currently first, by 3 points over Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT). “You have to be paying attention all the time. I think that we did well downwind, and rounding the marks we could gain some points. It’s going well, lets see what happens in the next few days.”

Oliveira also stressed staying sharp before races, especially when there are postponements and general recalls.

“I think that a routine is the best way to keep focus on our goal,” she said. “We are trying to just be checking, all the time, the wind and the current, the courses if they change something, paying attention all the time. If you relax and relax and relax, and try to start it again, it’s complicated. The routine is the most important thing so you make all the times the same thing and then it’s easier to be ready to go.”

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016With the class’s world championship scheduled for next month in South America, the fleet at the Sailing World Cup Miami is smaller and not quite as deep as in past years. But Oliveira stressed that it’s just as important to stay focused.

“We are trying to do our best; we are trying to train, to make this event like a training for the world championships,” said Oliveira. “But we have a lot of young teams here that are sailing very well, so we have to pay attention to them.”

Some top Women’s 470 teams have skipped this event to rest for the world championships, but Oliveira said that with the pressure of a home Olympics looming on the horizon, she is happy to stay busy.

“The pressure will come for all sailors, and for all Brazilian sailors also,” said Oliveira. “We have to keep paying attention. It will not be easy, it’s a special [Olympics]. I think we are OK; we already did a Games together so we have some experience as a team. In six months we’re going to be ready to go. From now until April, we have a lot of events, so there’s no time to be thinking on it.”

So the motto for the day: on the water, seek out the pressure; off the water, try to keep it at bay.

It was also the experienced Men’s 470 teams that rose to the top, with the top five teams in the overall standings after three races each featuring at least one former Olympian. At the head of the class is the home team, Stuart McNay and David Hughes, who won both races today by a combined 90 seconds. McNay is looking to head to his third Olympics this summer. Two points in arrears—each team has discarded its worst finish—are Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) with Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstädter (AUT) in third.

Laser & Laser Radial

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Dutch sailor Rutger van Schaardenburg continued his solid start to the regatta with a first and sixth today. It was a slight step down from his 2-1 yesterday, but it was still the best score of the day, nipping Filip Jurišić (CRO) by virtue of a tiebreaker. Van Schaardenburg retains command of the overall lead, six points ahead of Jurišić. Behind the Croatian sailor, however, lies a tightly packed mob of top Laser talent; just 23 points separates second from 22nd. Included in that group is five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA) in 13th and American medal hopeful Charlie Buckingham (USA) in 14th. Buckingham is in the first stage of the selection series for the U.S. Olympic Team. While US Sailing Team Sperry teammate Chris Barnard (USA) is not off to a good start, Erik Bowers (USA) is just 2 points behind Buckingham in the overall standings. The Lasers will hope for two races tomorrow and then, regardless of how many races have been completed, the fleet will be split into Gold and Silver Groups for the final two days of full-fleet racing.

In the Laser Radial, defending gold medalist Lilja Xu (CHN) continues to round back into form after some time away from the boat. She was second in today’s lone race, which didn’t start until after 4 p.m. local time. Another veteran of the London Olympics. Evi van Acker (BEL) is just a point behind and her country woman Emma Plasschaert (BEL) is just a point further back in third. With just two races in the books, and three scheduled for tomorrow, there is plenty of time for the leaderboard to shuffle around. Reigning Olympic silver medalist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) is fourth. If there’s a surprise in the early going, it’s that the top U.S. sailors, Paige Railey and Ericka Reineke, are back in 16th and 17th, separated by just one point in the first half of the selection series for the 2016 Olympic team.

—Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami, & Daniel Smith, World Sailing

Day 1: Risk and Reward in Light Air on Biscayne Bay

Light air on the first day of the regatta means its as much a mental game as a physical one. There was plenty of opportunity today to start the 2016 Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella on the right foot. And an equal amount of opportunity to record the sort of result that can considerably narrow the margin for error for the remainder of the event, at least for those with podium aspirations. The day started in a light northwesterly breeze than veered slightly before dying off. It was mid afternoon before the breeze came back in. While a few fleets are still on schedule, others will look to make up lost races during the coming days. The full results can be found here.

Laser and Laser Radial

Dutch sailor Rutger van Schaardenburg knows the importance of not risking too much during the first few races of the regatta. But he’s not afraid of opportunity. So when the opening’s presented themselves during the first two races in the Yellow group of the Laser division, he pounced. The reward: a pair of first-place finishes.

“It’s obviously an ideal start,” said the lanky Dutchman. “For me it was important not to have very bad races because tricky wind conditions today—light wind [that] could come from any direction—so I didn’t want to start with a bad result and that worked out.”

The first race was a wire-to-wire win, by nearly two minutes over the second place boat. The second required some work, and van Schaardenburg isn’t afraid to say, a little help from above after struggling off the line. The comeback could be broken into two distinct components. Halfway up the first beat, a favorable shift helped him to get back in touch with the lead group. Then he was able to move from 10th to first on the run.

“Downwind [it was] both being in the pressure and having the opportunity to go quick not having anyone on the back blocking the wind from me,” said van Schaardenburg. “Freedom, pressure and obviously the boatspeed was good.”

Milivoj Dukic of Montenegro also had a strong day with a third and a second, as did van Schaardenburg’s countryman, Nicholas Heiner, who stands third with nine points.

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016With their start pushed back due to the mid-day lull in the breeze, the first of two fleets of Laser Radials didn’t get started until after 15:00 local time, and the second didn’t cross the line until after 16:00. In both groups a familiar face lead the way around the track. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN), the reigning world champion, won the earlier race, beating Emma Plasschaert (BEL) by 18 seconds. In the second group, it was London 2012 Olympic Gold medalist Lijia Xu (CHN) crossing the line first, followed by Silvia Zennaro (ITA).

49er and 49erFX

Following two races in the Blue and Yellow 49er fleets, Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) and Portugal’s Jorge Lima and Jose Costa are tied on four points after a bullet and a third apiece.

However, the top of the pack could be different. Having won the opening race in the Yellow fleet Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen (DEN) crossed the finish line of the second thinking they had the perfect start with back to back victories.

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Unfortunately, it was not to be as the pair were black flagged as Warrer explained, “We were a little surprised by the current. I think we got caught about a minute, half a minute before. We won the race even though we had a bad start and we sailed well, we’re happy about that but it’s a shame that we were over the line, that’s life. It’s important that we sailed well.”

Counting the 32nd the Danes sit in 25th but Warrer and Thomsen won’t be disheartened. They know the venue well, taking bronze together in 2015 with Warrer winning gold in 2014 with Peter Lang.

“We like Miami and the shifty stuff as we’re used to shifty conditions from back home,” said Warrer. “It’s good to come over here this time of year. We’ve come from cold, grey and raining in Denmark and Miami is a good place to sail.

“The level is high, it’s always like this with a year until the Olympics. Everybody is improving, including ourselves and the level goes up. A lot of boats can win races. You can be punished for even small mistakes.”

Sailing World Cup Miami acts as a Danish qualifier for Rio 2016 but Warrer and Thomsen are left uncontested so will book their spot to the Olympic Games this week.

After a number of years of Danish skiff success, resulting in Warrer winning gold at Beijing 2008 and Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang picking up bronze at London 2012 the lack of strong Danish skiff crews in Miami can be seen as a bit of surprise.

“I guess I scared everybody away,” smiled Warrer. “It’s a shame, but most of the sailors were my age and stopped, wanting to try something else. We have good young crews coming up but they need one, two or three years more.

“It is a challenge for us as we need to find someone outside of Denmark to train and to push us. We’ve found that. We are training with the Germans and it’s a really good cooperation and good teamwork. It’s good for us as they’re based in Kiel but it would be easier if we had some Danish crews at our level. Give it two years though and it will come.”

For now, the Danes are focusing on racing in Miami and have four further races on Tuesday that they will use to propel themselves up the leaderboard. The day’s other race win went the way of France’s Kévin Fischer and Yann Jauvin.

In the 34-boat 49erFX pack, Norwegian twins Ragna and Maia Agerup took the single race win late in the day. They were followed by Danish sisters Maiken Foght and Anne-Julie Schütt.

Four races follow for both fleets on Tuesday. The 49er Blue fleet will start at 10:00, Yellow at 10:20 and the 49erFX at 14:00.

Men’s and Women’s 470

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Starting first wasn’t necessarily lucky for the 470 fleets competing in the 2016 Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella. While Miami woke up to a nice breeze, it had started to fade by the time the first gun sounded at 10:00. There was enough wind to make it through one race for both fleets, but that was it. After waiting in vain for something to materialize, the 470s were sent in for the day.

The race for first in the Men’s 470 race came down to a battle between Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson (RSA) and the Ducasse brothers (CHI). The South Americans had the upper hand initially, but Jim and Hudson ground them down on the second beat to take the win.

American medal hopefuls Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA) struggled off the line, but managed to stem the bleeding quickly and go on the attack.

“We did not have a very good start because of our own errors, but were able to be in the mix with the peleton working our way up [the first beat],” said Hughes. “We got flagged [for a rule violation] during the run, but we ended up only losing one boat on those penalty turns. Things really came together for us on the second upwind, we were able to pass a few more boats.”

Skipping by one more boat on the final run lifted the Americans into fourth, a solid opening race. Thomas Klemens and Timothy Hannah (AUS) were third in the race, with Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) in fifth.

The duo of Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA) won the only Women’s 470 race, getting the upper hand in a see-saw battle with Tsuf Zamet and Stav Brokman (ISR). The Israeli team led around the first mark, and stretched away to nearly a half minute lead on the run. But Oliveira and Barbachan turned the tables on the second beat and took over the lead, which they held for the remainder of the race. Marina Gallego and Fatima Reyes (ESP) finished third with Xiaomei Xu and Ping Zhang (CHN) in fourth and Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) in fifth.

Nacra 17

Early days in the Nacra 17 as two races were completed. Dutch racers Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning enjoyed the best of the day with two single digit scores, a first and a seventh. They lead and are followed by race two victors, Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG).

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

Chinese light wind specialists came to the forefront in the Men’s RS:X. Chunzhuang Liu claimed the opening victory and was followed by compatriot and 2015 Olympic test event winner Aichen Wang.

London 2012 gold medallist Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) completed the top three.

Van Rijsselberge’s compatriot Lilian de Geus revelled in the light breeze, taking the single Women’s RS:X race. De Geus beat Patricia Freitas (BRA) to the post by eight seconds with defending champion Bryony Shaw (GBR) a further 26 seconds behind.

Finn

Like a fine wine, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) appears to only be getting better with age.

The silver medalist from the 2012 Olympics and two-time world champion rounded the first mark in third, jumped into the lead by the leeward mark and never let go. He was, however, pushed all the way to the finish by Lei Gong (CHN) who was within 10 seconds of the lead around the final two marks. Teammates Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) and Aleksey Borisov (RUS) finished third and fourth with Facundo Olezza (ARG) in fifth. American sailors finished seventh, eighth, 12th, 13th and 15th in the first race of the selection series for the Finn berth at the Rio Olympics.

Paralympic Events

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016France’s Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary put their 2015 Para World Sailing World Championships disappointment behind them on the opening day of Sonar racing.

The French trio have been a mainstay on the Sonar podium following a fourth place at London 2012 but the Worlds in Williamstown, Melbourne saw them finish seventh overall.

They came out firing in the single Sonar racing, winning by a massive three minute 30 second margin over Norway’s Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Jacob Haug and Per Eugen Kristiansen.

In the light Miami breeze the French pair showed their worth but with the wind to pick up on Tuesday they’ll have bigger challenges ahead.

One race was completed in the 2.4mR and the victory was picked up by Canada’s Bruce Miller. He was followed by Charles Rosenfield of the USA and Peter Eagar (CAN).

Racing resumes on Tuesday 26 January at 10:00 local time. Having lost races on Monday, the Race Committee will use the day to catch up on the schedule.

SWC Miami Day 1 Morning Brief: Light wind start to 2016

Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella, the first big Olympic sailing battle of the Olympic year, will see its opening day on played out across Biscayne Bay in light winds.

A mixed bag of conditions on Miami’s waters were prevalent in the build to the regatta and that trend does not look like changing with ups and downs in wind strength, wind direction and temperature predicted this the week.

As sailors arrived at the venues – US Sailing Center Miami, City of Miami’s Regatta Park, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Coral Reef Yacht Club and Shake-A-Leg Miami – a slight flutter of flags and palm trees could be seen.

A north easterly 4 knot flicker will kick off the morning. As the day progresses the direction will shift to the east and pick up later in the afternoon to 8-11 knots. The 470 and 49er fleets are due to start first at 10:00 local time. The remainder of the fleets will follow as the day advances.

The day’s schedule is available below:

Class Course # of Races Start time
Men’s RS:X Delta 3 11:00
Women’s RS:X Delta 3 13:30
Laser Blue Echo 2 11:00
Laser Yellow Echo 2 11:10
Laser Radial Blue Echo 2 13:00
Laser Radial Yellow Echo 2 13:10
Finn Foxtrot 2 13:00
49er Blue Charlie 3 10:00
49er Yellow Alpha 3 10:20
49erFX Alpha 3 13:20
Men’s 470 Foxtrot 2 10:00
Women’s 470 Foxtrot 2 10:10
Nacra 17 Charlie 3 13:00
2.4mR Bravo 2 13:00
Sonar Bravo 2 11:00

A confirmed number of 711 sailors from 64 nations in 514 boats will race across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic fleets throughout the week.

As well as World Cup glory being on the line, a number of North and South American nations will by vying for an Olympic berth. One spot in each of the fleets for both continents will be up for grabs with two available in the Men’s RS:X.

The nations aiming for Olympic qualification are:

Nacra 17

North – Canada, Puerto Rico

South – Guatemala, Uruguay, Venezuela

RS:X Men

North – Aruba, Canada, USA

South – Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela

RS:X Women

North – Canada

South – Argentina, Peru, Venezuela

Laser

North – Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico

South – Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela

Laser Radial

North – Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cuba, St. Lucia, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago

South – Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela

470 Men

North – Canada, Mexico

South – Chile, Ecuador

470 Women

North – Canada

South – Argentina, Chile

49er

North – Canada, British Virgin Islands, USA

South – Chile, Uruguay

49erFX

North – Aruba, US Virgin Islands, USA

South – Chile

Finn

North – Canada

South – Argentina, Chile

—Daniel Smith, World Sailing

Olympic Dreams On the Line at Sailing World Cup Miami

With the calendar switched to an Olympic year, the intensity on the water at the 2016 Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella is a match for the famously bright South Florida sun. In less than 200 days, many of the nearly 800 sailors gathered in Coconut Grove this week will walk in the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. For the sailors with a confirmed spot in the Olympic Regatta, this event is about sharpening their tactical game, refining their equipment and improving their conditioning. Others have a more immediate focus as they are in the midst of a selection series for their respective countries or working to qualify their country for the Olympic regatta.

“There’s a lot at stake this year at Sailing World Cup Miami,” said Josh Adams, Managing Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing. “For the first time in the event’s 27-year history, it’s being used as part of the U.S. selection process and part of country qualification process for the 2016 Olympic Games.”

For American sailors in eight of the Olympic classes and the 2.4mR, this event is the first of two events that will determine the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team for this summer’s Games.

Sailing World Cup Miami is the second of six regattas in the 2016 series. From 25-30 January 2016, Coconut Grove, Miami, USA is hosting more than 780 sailors who are competing across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic classes on the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay.

Sailing World Cup Miami is the second of six regattas in the 2016 series. From January 25-30, 2016, Coconut Grove, Fla., is hosting more than 780 sailors from around the world who are competing across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic classes on the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay.

The Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella is the second event in the six-regatta 2016 Sailing World Cup. Competition in US Sailing’s premiere racing event gets underway this Monday in all 10 Olympic classes and two of three Paralympic classes. Saturday’s Medal Races will be carried live on ESPN3.

The Olympic classes competing this week will be: Laser Radial (women), Laser (men), Finn (men), Men’s RS:X, Women’s RS:X, 49er (men), Men’s 470, Women’s 470, Nacra 17 (mixed) and 49erFX (women). Paralympic classes included are the 2.4mR (open, Para World Sailing) and Sonar (open, Para World Sailing).

Befitting an event of this magnitude, this evening athletes, volunteers and regatta officials participated in an Opening Ceremony on the lawn of the Coral Reef Yacht Club. The 68 national flags ringing the lawn—and the variety of languages heard in the various boat parks—are a stirring reminder of the global popularity of this event. The event record of 855 sailors, which was set last year, is safe; the 2016 edition of the Sailing World Cup will rank third in terms of attendance. The 68 nations attending breaks the record set in 2015.

“Sailing World Cup Miami is a pivotal event for Olympic sailors on the road to Rio. The caliber of the athletes that will be on show in Miami is exceptional and many of the medalists here will be on the Olympic podium in August,” said Sailing World Cup Manager, Antonio Gonzalez de la Madrid. “Racing in Miami in January provides a welcome respite for the European sailors looking to escape the European winter. We have World Champions Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) in the 49erFX, Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) in the Nacra 17 and Danish Laser Radial star Anne Marie Rindom. That’s to name but a few in the world class fields we have on show in the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events.”

The trickle down of having all these top international athletes training and racing in the United States every January should not be understated.

“The training leading up to this regatta is at a very high level,” said Adams. “For the US Sailing Team Sperry and our overall Olympic program, there’s great value in this event. Our athletes are able to go out and train against the world’s best.”

Racing gets underway tomorrow at 10 a.m. (EST), weather providing and will run until the late afternoon each day through Friday. Saturday’s double-point medal races—a shorter sprint for glory with just the top 10 sailors in each class competing—will start at 11 a.m., and be broadcast live on ESPN3.

—Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami

Photo credits: Pedro Martinez & Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

RESULTS / ENTRIES
An entry list for Sailing World Cup Miami can be found here
Once racing starts on Monday, January 25, results will be available hereLIVE VIDEO
Medal Races on Saturday 30 January will be broadcast live on the World Sailing YouTube channel as well as on 10 major broadcasters including ESPN3 in the USA.LIVE TRACKING
A majority of the fleets will be available to watch in 2D and 3D via the live tracking, which will be available here

Live Tracking via the Sailviewer-3D Tablet App will be available for devices with 7″ or greater screens.
Click here to download the iOS Application –
Click here to download the Android Application –

COMPETITION STATUS
The Competition Status Screen feeds in straight from the Race Committee boats with the teams inputting data such as race times, course type, the status of each race and the plan moving forward. Once racing commences, the competition status screen will be available here\

Sailing World Cup Miami
The Sailing World Cup Miami 2016 presented by Sunbrella is the premier North American event for top-level Olympic and Paralympic class sailors, and the only North American regatta to be included in World Sailing’s 2015-16 Sailing World Cup series. Competitors in the 10 Olympic and two Paralympic events will have five days of fleet racing from Monday, January 25 to Friday, January 29. Medal Races across the Olympic classes will bring the regatta to a close on Saturday, January 30, where medals will be awarded to the top three boats. The regatta is organized by US Sailing.

Regatta Headquarters will be located at the US Sailing Center Miami, a U.S. Olympic Training Site, in Coconut Grove, Miami, Fla. Additional hosts for the event include the City of Miami’s Regatta Park, Coconut Grove Sailing Club and Shake-A-Leg Miami. The Coral Reef Yacht Club hosts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and is the site for the Regatta Village throughout the week.

Sailing World Cup Miami is presented by Sunbrella, and sponsored by BeneteauJeanneauLagoonSperryChubb Personal InsuranceCity of MiamiHarkenMcLubeCoral Reef Sailing ApparelUHealth Sports Performance and Wellness InstituteAdventure Sports MiamiSwitlikSturgis Boat WorksVetus-MaxwellPapa’s Pilar RumNacra Racing, and Beneath the Waves.

US Sailing
Sailing World Cup Miami Presented by Sunbrella is organized by the United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, which provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry. For more information, please visit us at www.ussailing.org.

Olympic Sailors Gearing up for Live Miami Showdown

Sailors from 64 nations are gearing up for the first big showdown of Olympic and Paralympic sailing in 2016, Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella.

More than 780 athletes will feature across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events from Monday 25 to Saturday 30 January. Whilst the Paralympic racing wraps up on 29 January, the Olympic competitors will be fighting it out to appear in Saturday’s live television broadcast of the Medal Races.

Set to be shown in front of a live audience on the World Sailing TV YouTube channel and on more than ten global broadcasters, Sailing World Cup Miami will provide sailing fans with a window of opportunity to see who is looking strong on the Road to Rio.

Live Medal Races will be available from 11:00 EST on Saturday here:
URL – https://youtu.be/_V2YQYar0IU
Embed – <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/_V2YQYar0IU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

If World Cup glory was not enough to drive the sailors forward, those from North and South America will be aiming to qualify their nation for Rio 2016 as the event acts as the Continental Qualification regatta for both regions.

Puerto Rico Nacra 17The Nacra 17 will be fiercely contested as Puerto Rico’s Enrique Figueroa and Franchesca Valdes face off against two Canadian teams for the North American spot. Long term campaigners and Olympians Luke Ramsay and Nikola Girke will be the main Canadian hopefuls aiming to to overcome the Puerto Ricans. They’ll have compatriots and relative newcomers to the Nacra 17 Maxime Loiselle and Justine Antaya for company in the fleet.

Throughout 2015 the Puerto Ricans faced Ramsay and Girke on six occasions in highly competitive fleets. Figueroa and Valdes finished ahead of the Canadians at World Cup Miami, the World Championships and the European Championships.

Ramsay and Girke were in front of the Puerto Ricans at World Cup Hyeres and Weymouth & Portland as well as the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Regatta.

At each regatta the separation between the teams was minimal. That rivalry will resume in Miami for what could be the final bout between the teams as there will be no second chances for whoever misses out.

As for South American qualification, Guatemala’s Jason Hess and Irene Abascal, Uruguay’s Pablo Defazio and Mariana Foglia and Venezuala’s Yamil Saba and Andrea Saba will go toe to toe for the Rio 2016 spot.

At the head of the fleet World #1 Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) will spearhead a pack of 49 that includes high profile Nacra 17 contenders. Teams such as three-time World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), World #2 Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) and the experienced Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) will all be on the start line.

In the 49er, crews from the British Virgin Islands, Canada and USA will be going for the North American Olympic spot and duos from Chile and Uruguay will aiming for the South American position.

The 66-boat 49er fleet features a strong and seasoned contingent of skiff racers. London 2012 Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) are amongst the entrants. They are joined by defending champions Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) and Beijing 2008 gold medallist Jonas Warrer and crew Anders Thomsen (DEN).

Newly crowned 49erFX World Champions Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) are amongst the 36-boat 49erFX fleet in Miami. The Italian duo won their first World Championship together in Buenos Aires, Argentina last year and will be looking to bring that form into Miami.

They will be joined by World #1 duo, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), defending Miami champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) as well as three leading Danish crews.

Partnerships from Aruba, US Virgin Islands and USA will be aiming for the North American Rio 2016 place and Chilean sailors are the only representatives from South America.

Forty-nine sailors will compete in the Finn class. London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Jonas Hogh Christensen (DEN), World #3 Jake Lilley (AUS) and national favourites Zach Railey (USA) and Caleb Paine (USA) will all be in the running for the medals. Sailors from Argentina and Chile as well as Canada are looking to qualify for Rio 2016 from South and North American.

In the Men’s and Women’s 470, fleets of 24 and 18 will sail on Biscayne Bay across the week. Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA) and two-time World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) will lead the charge in the Men’s and Women’s fleets.

South American Olympic Qualification will be between Chile and Ecuador in the Men’s and Argentina and Chile in the Women’s. As for North America, Canadian and Mexican sailors will compete for the Men’s Rio 2016 slot and Canada’s Allie Surrette and Ali Ten Hove are left uncontested in the Women’s.

Paralympic sailors had a fast paced finish to 2015 with back to back regattas in Melbourne, Australia. The Para World Sailing Championships was quickly followed by Sailing World Cup Melbourne in December and for those in the 2.4mR and Sonar, they’re back on the Paralympic campaign trail in Miami.

2015 Sonar Para World Sailing Champions John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR), runners up Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) and bronze medallists Aleksander Wang Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen (NOR) will all be in Miami.

Paralympic sailing regular Paul Tingley and his crew of Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes (CAN) will join the fleet, as will as the strong French trio of Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary.

Twelve boats will compete in the 2.4mR. London 2012 gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) will be wanting to break her Miami hoodoo and take a maiden victory on the American waters. However, four Canadian and three American sailors will be aiming to put a halt to the Britons charge.

Watch a promotional video to Sailing World Cup Miami here:
URL – https://youtu.be/gAmGURstKko
Embed – <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/gAmGURstKko” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Racing is set to commence at 10:00 local time on Monday 25 January across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic fleets. Medal Races on Saturday 30 January will bring Sailing World Cup Miami to a close with the races to be broadcast live on the World Sailing TV YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/worldsailingtv

By Daniel Smith – World Sailing

Editors Notes

RESULTS / ENTRIES
Entries for Sailing World Cup Miami are available to view here – http://www.regattanetwork.com/clubmgmt/applet_registrant_list.php?regatta_id=11442&custom_report_id=66 and results will be available throughout when racing commences on 25 January here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php

LIVE TRACKING
The racing will be available to watch in 2D and 3D via the live tracking. Live tracking will be available when racing commences via – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php

Live Tracking via the Sailviewer-3D Tablet App will be available for devices with 7″ or greater screens.
Click here to download the iOS Application – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sailviewer-3d/id912801278
Click here to download the Android Application – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stsportservice.sailviewer

COMPETITION STATUS
The Competition Status Screen feeds in straight from the Race Committee boats with the teams inputting data such as race times, course type, the status of each race and the plan moving forward. The competition status screen will be available when racing commences via – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php

PHOTOGRAPHY
High resolution imagery free for editorial usage will be provided throughout Sailing World Cup Miami by Sailing Energy. Imagery will be available to download via http://worldsailing.photoshelter.com/archive

VIDEO
A daily agency news feed will be available from Sailing World Cup from Wednesday 27 January until the conclusion of the event on Saturday 30 January.

For further TV news information or interview requests please contact:

Daniel Smith
World Sailing Website and Media coordinator
M: +44 (0)7771 542 131
E: Daniel.Smith@isaf.com

Sabina Mollart-Rogerson
M: +44 (0) 7922 140 148
E: smollartrogerson@sunsetvineapp.com

Pilar Alberola Albors
M: +44 (0) 7546 830 192
E: palberola@sunsetvineapp.com

Blanca Handrich
M: +34 657 854 173
E: blanca.handrich@sunsetvineapp.com

PRESS RELEASES
The International Sailing Federation will be releasing international press releases after racing throughout the duration of Sailing World Cup Miami. All the latest news and reports will be available to read here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/news/index.php

SOCIAL MEDIA
The hashtag of Sailing World Cup Miami is #SWCMiami16

Follow the event on World Sailing’s social networks:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ISAFWorldSailing
Instagram – https://instagram.com/isafworldsailing/
Twitter – @worldsailing

CONTACT
World Sailing Marketing and Media Department
Tel: + 44 2380 635 111
Fax: + 44 2380 635 789
Email: marketing@isaf.com

Editors Notes
Sailing World Cup
The Sailing World Cup is a world-class annual series for Olympic sailing. It is open to the sailing events chosen for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Its centre piece is the Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The 2016 Sailing World Cup will consist of five regattas for all ten Olympic events and where possible, Formula Kite Racing. Qualification places for the Sailing World Cup final are up for grabs at each event. The final will bring together the top 20 boats in each Olympic event and an Open Kiteboarding event where the World Cup champions will be crowned

2016 Sailing World Cup
Melbourne – 7-13 December 2015
Miami – 23-30 January 2016
Hyères – 25 April – 1 May 2016
Weymouth and Portland – 6-12 June 2016
Qingdao – 12-18 September 2016
2015 Final Abu Dhabi – 24-28 October 2016

View the World Cup qualification system here.

Playing the cards right in Miami with 200 days to Rio

In 200 days 380 sailors will be set-up at the Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, finalizing their preparations for the greatest sporting spectacle, the Olympic Games.

On 5 August the Rio 2016 Olympic flame will be lit, signalling the start of 17 days of sport. For sailors to get to an Olympic Games they have to play their cards right, qualify their country, qualify themselves and fine tune their physique and boats so they’re fully optimized for the stresses and strains an Olympic Sailing Competition provides.

In order to do exactly that, sailors go through the Sailing World Cup series and over 780 sailors will be using the first shuffle of 2016 in Miami, USA to deal a killer blow to their rivals in

Robert Scheidt

Robert Scheidt

the Olympic year.

Watch a promotional video to Sailing World Cup Miami here:
URL – https://youtu.be/gAmGURstKko
Embed – <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/gAmGURstKko” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

London 2012 gold medallists, World Champions and Rio 2016 medal hopefuls will be among the starters aiming for glory in the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events on show in Miami from 25 to 30 January 2016.

A World Cup podium position is not the only thing at stake in Miami. As a Rio 2016 Continental Qualification regatta for North and South America, several nations will be vying for an Olympic berth. One spot in each of the fleets for both continents will be up for grabs with two available in the Men’s RS:X.

The Laser Radial fleet will be the one to watch in Miami with a special trio facing off in the 80-boat fleet. London 2012 gold medallist Lijia Xu (CHN) will be joined by silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and bronze medallist Evi Van Acker (BEL).

Alongside Ireland’s Annalise Murphy, Xu, Bouwmeester and Van Acker had a famous four way battle for gold at London 2012 with the Chinese racer coming out on top. Xu stepped away from the Laser Radial in 2013 but after a two-year hiatus she returned to Olympic sailing at the 2015 Laser Radial World Championship.

The rivalry with Bouwmeester and Van Acker resumed instantly as she finished sixth to their second and third. With more miles and training in the bag, Xu, who stole the hearts of the sailing world in 2012 will be aiming to make an impression in Miami.

Denmark’s Anne Marie Rindom continues to excite in the Laser Radial and returns to Miami to defend the title she won 12 months ago. Rindom also comes into the American World Cup regatta off the back of a world championship victory last year and will be aiming for the medals once again.

Much like the Radial, the Laser fleet will feature many of the leading lights of sailing and is set to be a hot contest.

World #1 Tom Burton (AUS) and #2 Matt Wearn (AUS) will spearhead a fleet that includes key players on the road to Rio. Five-time Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt (BRA), 2014 world champion Nicholas Heiner (NED), Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED), Andy Maloney (NZL), Jesper Stalheim (SWE) and Charlie Buckingham (USA) will be amongst the front runners looking to capture top honors.

Miami will welcome strong windsurfers in the Men’s and Women’s RS:X fleets. London 2012 Olympic gold medallists Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) and Marina Alabau (ESP) will be on their respective start lines come Monday 25 January.

Joining Van Rijsselberge in the men’s pack of 59 racers will be World #1 Ivan Pastor (ESP), World #3 Mattia Camboni (ITA), London 2012 silver medallist Nick Dempsey (GBR) and bronze medallist Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL).

In the 39-boat Women’s RS:X fleet, Alabau will be up against the world’s top four sailors, Defending champion and World #1 Bryony Shaw (GBR), World #2 Lilian de Geus (NED), 2015 Youth Worlds Champion and World #3 and Italian World #4 Flavia Tartaglini.

Racing is set to commence at 10:00 local time on Monday 25 January across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic fleets. Medal Races on Saturday 30 January will bring Sailing World Cup Miami to a close with the races to be broadcast live on the World Sailing TV YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/worldsailingtv

By Daniel Smith – World Sailing

Editors Notes

RESULTS / ENTRIES
Entries for Sailing World Cup Miami are available to view here – http://www.regattanetwork.com/clubmgmt/applet_registrant_list.php?regatta_id=11442&custom_report_id=66 and results will be available throughout when racing commences on 25 January here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php

LIVE TRACKING
The racing will be available to watch in 2D and 3D via the live tracking. Live tracking will be available when racing commences via – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php

Live Tracking via the Sailviewer-3D Tablet App will be available for devices with 7″ or greater screens.
Click here to download the iOS Application – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sailviewer-3d/id912801278
Click here to download the Android Application – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stsportservice.sailviewer

COMPETITION STATUS
The Competition Status Screen feeds in straight from the Race Committee boats with the teams inputting data such as race times, course type, the status of each race and the plan moving forward. The competition status screen will be available when racing commences via – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php

PHOTOGRAPHY
High resolution imagery free for editorial usage will be provided throughout Sailing World Cup Miami by Sailing Energy. Imagery will be available to download via http://worldsailing.photoshelter.com/archive

VIDEO
A daily agency news feed will be available from Sailing World Cup from Wednesday 27 January until the conclusion of the event on Saturday 30 January.

For further TV news information or interview requests please contact:

Daniel Smith
World Sailing Website and Media coordinator
M: +44 (0)7771 542 131
E: Daniel.Smith@isaf.com

Sabina Mollart-Rogerson
M: +44 (0) 7922 140 148
E: smollartrogerson@sunsetvineapp.com

Pilar Alberola Albors
M: +44 (0) 7546 830 192
E: palberola@sunsetvineapp.com

Blanca Handrich
M: +34 657 854 173
E: blanca.handrich@sunsetvineapp.com

PRESS RELEASES
The International Sailing Federation will be releasing international press releases after racing throughout the duration of Sailing World Cup Miami. All the latest news and reports will be available to read here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/news/index.php

SOCIAL MEDIA
The hashtag of Sailing World Cup Miami is #SWCMiami16

Follow the event on World Sailing’s social networks:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ISAFWorldSailing
Instagram – https://instagram.com/isafworldsailing/
Twitter – @worldsailing

CONTACT
World Sailing Marketing and Media Department
Tel: + 44 2380 635 111
Fax: + 44 2380 635 789
Email: marketing@isaf.com

Editors Notes
Sailing World Cup
The Sailing World Cup is a world-class annual series for Olympic sailing. It is open to the sailing events chosen for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Its centre piece is the Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The 2016 Sailing World Cup will consist of five regattas for all ten Olympic events and where possible, Formula Kite Racing. Qualification places for the Sailing World Cup final are up for grabs at each event. The final will bring together the top 20 boats in each Olympic event and an Open Kiteboarding event where the World Cup champions will be crowned

2016 Sailing World Cup
Melbourne – 7-13 December 2015
Miami – 23-30 January 2016
Hyères – 25 April – 1 May 2016
Weymouth and Portland – 6-12 June 2016
Qingdao – 12-18 September 2016
2015 Final Abu Dhabi – 24-28 October 2016

View the World Cup qualification system here.

Countdown to ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami

 

Bigger than ever in 2015, with an atmosphere crackling with adrenaline, the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami was ground zero on Sunday as competitors from 63 countries made their final preparations. US Sailing’s premiere event brings together a who’s who of Olympic and Paralympic talent. Six days of racing will test them and leave them judged. Australia’s silver-medalist 470 skipper of last year, Mat Belcher, summed up that experience by saying simply that being on that racecourse, with that fleet, “was essential.” Essential, that is, to anyone who hopes to be standing on a podium in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympic Games.

With as many as 800 sailors entered, the 26th year of this event sets a record for participation. The ISAF Sailing World Cup, presented by Sunbrella, is the only U.S. stop on the 2014-2015 SWC series. Melbourne, Australia kicked off the first of six events, with successful sailors earning qualification spots and ranking points toward a finale in Abu Dhabi late in 2015.

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