Summary: Weymouth, U.K. – August 7 (Day 6 of racing)
In sharp contrast to yesterday’s quiet morning, today’s start was on time in 20-plus, building wind. In addition, the courses were longer and the target time per race was longer, putting a premium on boat speed, boat handling, fitness and tactics. Think of today’s trapezoid with three windward/leeward laps as Olympic racing for the new generation of super-fit athletes. The U.S. Team captured five top-10 positions at the mid-way point for the regatta. Full results, photos, video and audio interviews of the Team are online: http://olympics.ussailing.org/
Performance highlights include:
Mark Mendelblatt (Miami, Fla.) and Brian Fatih (Miami, Fla.) stole the show in race 4, the second of the day, by dominating the course and taking the win. They added that to a 6th in race 3 and now stand in 7th overall. (photo right: Brian Fatih brings the Star into the dock)
Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) described the day as tough, as did most of the U.S. Team, based on the extreme (wind) shifts. “It was breezy and still hard tactically,” she said. “When we first got out there we thought maybe the current would have more of an impact than the shifts, but the shifts were more important. It was hard work especially in the second race when it picked up. We were doing three laps out there. You have to be prepared for this.”
Railey’s long-term goal is a US Olympic Team berth and explained that this regatta is good preparation. “This is going to be a really good regatta for us to analyze the area. The conditions change all the time here; when we think it will be one thing it will change to the other.”
Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) held onto a top-10 spot despite today’s 26th in race 3. He explained that the conditions were so unpredictable and the wind so shifty that his tactics didn’t pay off quite the way he wanted to, and he wound up being one of many Finn sailors to capsize. ““If you flip over once you can usually get it back over pretty quick,” he said. “I was 11th at the first mark and caught back up to 7th, and then just lost it on a big wave. That race was done and I pretty much couldn’t get it back.”
After a quick break between races, he explained it was time to regroup. “We wanted to be on the left hand side of the racecourse. I won the pin end and was leading the fleet out to the left. Then there was a big right-hand shift, and I rounded 23rd, 24th. Maybe there were 2-3 boats behind me.” He wound up making up distance on the fleet and finished in 8th. “To finish 8th in that race was really good. I’m pretty satisfied with that second race and we’ll come back fighting tomorrow.”
Women’s 470: Erin Maxwell (Wilton, Con.) and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar (New York/Fishers Island, N.Y.) combined a 9th and 5th to hold a top-10 position, an 8th, after three days of racing. “It definitely could have been a 5, 5 on the day,” said Maxwell. “We had a few bloopers and we don’t have to go into the details. It was a solid day again. A little sharper and we could be up in the top three, we’re not that far off the mark. When it becomes heavy air, there’s a big difference in speed between the front and back of the fleet, and upwind boat speed is essential to play the game.” Erin & Isabelle racing on Saturday; photo: Britt Bischoff
Exclusive interview before racing: http://youtu.be/yEOoTKhzvJM
“It should be pretty exciting, we’re on the inner harbor and yesterday we were on the outer course and it was almost an hour tow (in) at full speedz planing. It was pretty brutal. I’m pretty excited to only sail out to my course and sail in.”
The Schedule: Monday, Aug. 8 racing continues in the Finn, Star and RS:X fleets. Women’s Match Racing will sail for 5-8, which means a day off for Sally, Alana and Elizabeth, as well as Brad Funk (Laser), Paige Railey, Erin Maxwell & Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar, and Stu McNay & Graham Biehl.
The Team: The U.S. Team is comprised of 16 athletes – nine men, seven women.
Full team roster available on US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics website: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/Events/2011/Olympic_Test_Event.htm
Join the Team and Watch Live: The Way to Weymouth
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics communications team will host live coverage of the U.S Team competing at the London 2012 Olympic Test Event. Beginning August 3, tune in for live updates, news, photos, videos and interviews with the athletes competing through August 13 at the 2011 Weymouth and Portland International Regatta. Bookmark the direct link for live coverage: http://olympics.ussailing.org/multimedia/
Follow the Athletes/ Follow the Team:
- Major daily highlights on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/USSTAG
- Live breaking news and results updated throughout the day on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/USSTAG
- Exclusive video interviews with sailors before / after racing http://olympics.ussailing.org/multimedia/video/
- Photo gallery http://olympics.ussailing.org/multimedia/photo-gallery/photos-olympic-test-event/
- Behind-the-scenes views from athletes, coaches and our support team http://www.usstag.blogspot.com
The Regatta: Designed to test the Olympic sailing venue and its operations in advance of the 2012 Games, the 2011 Weymouth and Portland International Regatta (an official London 2012 Olympic Test Event) takes place August 2-13 and will welcome 460 sailors competing in 10 Olympic classes.
The official event website is hosted at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) website: http://www.sailing.org/2011-test-event.php
About US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top athletes in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. US SAILING supports these elite athletes with funding, coaching and training. The title sponsor of the team is AlphaGraphics; other sponsors include Rolex Watch USA, Atlantis WeatherGear, Sperry Top-Sider, LaserPerformance, Harken Team McLube, Trinity Yachts, New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning and Bow Down Training. http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.