Perth, Australia (Dec. 13, 2011 — Fleet racing hit its stride on Tuesday at the ISAF Sailing World Championships. With a set of significant thunderstorms rolling through overnight, conditions on the course were moderate, shifty and, at times, rain-covered. US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ top performers included: Erik Storck and Trevor Moore, 2nd overall, in the 49er; Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih, 3rd, in Star; and Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan, 7th overall, in Women’s 470.
The event serves as the second and final U.S. Olympic Team Selection Event in the nine Olympic fleet racing events. It is also the country qualification regatta where USA will look to secure an Olympic berth in all 10 Olympic events. Exclusive photos and reports will be posted on USSTAG’s website, Facebook and Twitter channels.
In the 67-boat 49er fleet, which is split into two fleets daily, Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (North Pomfret, Vt./Naples, Fla.) found the combination that clicked and won the day’s first race.
“The first race was great,” said Storck. “We started in a decent position, probably 8-10 boats down from the (race committee) boat. We were able to continue on toward the left, which was our game plan. Then we found ourselves doing too many tacks, and we convinced ourselves to stick with our game plan. We chased out left and got leverage on the fleet. Then we got a nice puff and ended up first at the weather mark. We were able to extend on the fleet and put that #1 up on the board.”
The next two races went their way as well. As Storck described, they followed a similar game plan to the winning formula in race 4. “The pressure was significantly left for the whole beat and we brought ourselves down to the pin, maybe one boat to leeward, at the start. We were pulling the trigger at the right time. We had good boat speed. Doug Charko our meteorologist gave us good things to think about. How the pressure was going to come across the course from the left. And it was just like college sailing; if you start at the pin 80% of the races, you’ll do well. And that’s what we did today.”
The 1-3-3 for the day finds the top American skiff sailors in 2nd overall, three points behind leaders Peter Krüger Andersen and Nicolai Thorsell (DEN).
“There’s a lot of really good competition,” said Storck. “The Danish and Kiwis sailed well. It’s too early in the regatta to tell what’s going to happen. We’re going to keep putting up top fives and top 10s and get to the final series.” The 49er fleet continues its qualifying series on Wednesday.
Mark Mendelblatt (Miami, Fla.) and Brian Fatih (Miami, Fla.) came back strong in the Star class, scoring a 4-4 on a tricky day with intermittent rain. They are tied on points for second overall with Mateusz Kusznierwicz and Dominik Zycki (POL), and sit only one point from new fleet leaders Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA). Yesterday’s fleet leaders Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) dropped out after they sustained injury and dropped out of the regatta.
Women’s Match Racing continued with the seeding matches for semi-finals. The top four teams, including Anna Tunnicliffe’s (Plantation, Fla.) Team Maclaren of Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), spent the day practicing while the repechage round was completed.
Wednesday will see the quarter-final round where Tunnicliffe will match up against Nicky Souter (AUS), the third-place team from the repechage round. Quarter finals are a “first to three wins” round. The top four teams will advance to the semi-final round on Thursday, Dec. 15 with the finals scheduled for Friday, Dec. 16.
For Genny Tulloch (Sausalito, Calif.), Alice Manard Leonard (East Haven, Conn.) and Jenn Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.), the team saw their chance at a World title end when they finished the repechage round with 7 wins, 8 losses, 11th overall.
The team, sailing together as Team GETsailing, lost to Rita Goncalves (POR), and then won handily against Renata Decnop (BRA).
“In our first match was against Rita Goncalves we were sailing pretty well around the course,” explained Leonard. “A couple of things didn’t go our way and we had a couple pretty big boat handling errors that let her catch up with us. We got ahead of her and then she passed us on a shift, but we were still ready to take on the next one.
The team then lost their final match against Stephanie Hazard (NZL). “We took that race like we take every race, one at a time, trying to get a win on the board,” continued Leonard. “We had a good pre-start against her, and got the start we wanted. We ended up leading her, then at our last windward mark the wind got squirrely. The windward mark was up under a (cargo) ship, and we got caught in a vortex. We got into a luffing match where she was able to roll us and win the match.”
Although the team had not yet debriefed the day, Leonard summed up the team’s outlook. “We try to take every regatta and every race as a learning experience because what really matters is our Trials in May and the Games in August.”
Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) slipped down two places to 7th overall in the Women’s 470 (Women”s Two Person Dinghy). They scored a 15-16, while world #1 duo Erin Maxwell (Wilton, Conn.) and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar (New York/Fishers Island, N.Y.) went 6-19 to climb up to 19th overall.
World Championship racing in the Women’s RS:X, Laser Radial, Men’s 470 and Finn classes were completed on Dec. 11. The Olympic Trials Tracker has been updated showing final points for all American competitors in those classes.
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- Photo gallery http://olympics.ussailing.org/multimedia/photo-gallery
- Behind-the-scenes views about US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics from Team Leader Dean Brenner http://www.usstag.blogspot.com
- US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics roster http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/Events/Perth_2011.htm
About ISAF Sailing World Championships: This event serves as the second and final U.S. Olympic Team Selection Event in the nine Olympic fleet racing events. It is also the country qualification regatta where USA will look to secure an Olympic berth in all 10 Olympic events. Full results: http://www.perth2011.com/results
The event: More than 5,000 officials, 1,200 sailors and tens of thousands of spectators are expected to visit Western Australia for the two-week regatta (Dec. 3-18) where world champions in each of the 10 Olympic sailing events will be determined.
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 boats 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. For more information about the US Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Program and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, please visit: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.
Editors Notes: All photos credit: Mick Anderson/SailingPIX.dk
Press contact: Dana Paxton, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: +1 401-369-0490 (in AUS Nov. 27-Dec. 19)