>It’s morning here in Weymouth, and it is the fifth and (for some) the final day of racing at Skandia Sail for Gold.
The Paralympic classes wrap up today, and it was a good day on the water yesterday for some members of US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. Mark LeBlanc posted a 6-1-6 in the 2.4mR and is poised to finish in the top 5 here with another good day today. In the Sonar, Rick Doerr, Brad Kendall and Hugh Freund are in 5th overall, with a bit of a gap above them. But they’ve got plenty to race for today, and a 5th overall would be a nice solid result. And in the Skud 18s, Scott Whitman and Julia Dorsett are in a tight fight with Jennifer French and JP Creignou for 4th overall. Scott and Julia lie in 4th, two points ahead of their USSTAG teammates. The podium is a bit of a gap away, but the racing will be healthy between the USA teams.
The Olympic classes are competing for spots in the medal races tomorrow. The highlights from a USSTAG perspective are in the women’s match racing, where Team Barkow is seeded #1 going into the quarterfinals today, and Team Tunnicliffe is seeded #3. The earliest these two teams can meet at this event is in the finals, so we’ll be cheering for an all-USA gold medal match. There is also an interesting battle going on in the women’s 470 where the Maxwell-Farrar team is just four points ahead of the Clark-Lihan team. Remember that this Sail for Gold event is not only part of our Trials system for the Olympic classes, but it is also how we will determine who gets to participate in the Olympic Test Event here in August. The top American boat in each class is invited back to Weymouth for the Test Event. We are also competing for medal race participation in a number of other events: Finn, Radial, Star, 49er among them.
It’s been interesting to watch how the realities of the Trials impacts the way some (but not all) of our sailors have sailed this week. It is an international event with lots riding on the outcome. But many have found it hard just to race the event… some have been very conscious of where their American counterparts are at all times, and this reality has certainly had an impact on our results here this week. There is no denying the Trials impact here.
It’s all exciting, and I for one am looking forward to today’s perforances on the water.