Sail for Gold – final

MEDIA ALERT- Final

Podium finish for Lihan and Clark (far right)

Day 6 summary: Weymouth and Portland, U.K. (June 9, 2012) – The final day of racing at Sail for Gold brought silver and bronze medals to US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan won silver in Women’s 470, while in Women’s Match Racing Anna Tunnicliffe with her ‘Team Maclaren’ of Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi won bronze. Additional medal race finishes were Zach Railey, 4th overall in the Finn, and Charlie Buckingham 10th in Laser. The regatta was held in Weymouth and Portland, U.K. where racing in 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes took place in advance of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Click on the photo to go to the photo gallery by Mick Anderson and US Sailing

“Sail for Gold is always a highlight on our schedule because of the practice it gives our athletes on the Olympic and Paralympic race course areas,” said Dean Brenner, chairman of the Olympic Sailing Committee. “We are full steam ahead on our Games’ goals, and this regatta gave us a clear picture of where we are. For the next 48 days everyone will be working toward our ultimate goal – Olympic and Paralympic medals.”

Video interview with Brenner on the Team’s performance: http://youtu.be/iJWKhMkbcdY

Performance highlights

video interview with Clark and Lihan

Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan started the day in 6th overall, with a chance at either silver or bronze medals. The three-lap windward-leeward course was set up on the Nothe Course, which will be the spectator course during the Games. The 10-boat 470 fleet started close together, but was soon out-paced by Clark and Lihan, the team Israel and a few other teams. By the second beat, Clark and Lihan were neck-and-neck with the Israeli team and kept close behind. Once they got to the second windward mark rounding, the two teams were clear ahead. Clark and Lihan won the medal race to clinch the silver medal.

“It feels great,” said Clark. “We’re pretty excited to be racing at the front of the fleet. It’s going to be amazing competition. By no means does this say this is how it’s going to stack up (next month). This is why we do this, to sail against the best in the world and to challenge ourselves. Sarah and I have worked really hard for this. We’re psyched to take this into the Olympics.” Although the team has only been together for 15 months, they have seen their performance advance. “I think we’re the strongest we’ve ever been,” said Lihan. “Amanda is one of the most talented skippers in the world and I’m honored to sail with her.”

Video interview with Clark and Lihan: http://youtu.be/lDPnCB5z9Ws

video interview with Capozzi, Tunnicliffe and Vandemoer

-In Women’s Match Racing Anna Tunnicliffe with her ‘Team Maclaren’ of Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi won two matches in the morning quarter-final match up against Silja Lehtinen (FIN). They advanced into the semi-final round against Claire Leroy and lost the “first-to-two-wins” match up. In the petit-final match, where the third- and fourth-place teams compete for bronze, Tunnicliffe was paired against Ekaterina Skudina (RUS).

“Considering how this regatta started for us, we’re happy with our end results,” said Tunnicliffe. “We didn’t have the smoothest regatta and sometimes you have those regattas. We are very happy to come away with the bronze. We would have been happy if we made the finals, but we did the best we can and we’re psyched about it.”

Next up for the team is the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championships at the end of the month. “We’d love to defend the championship title,” said Tunnicliffe. “It’s a good lead in regatta to the Olympics and the second biggest event of the year. We’re looking forward to having a good event and winning like we always do.”

Video interview with Tunnicliffe, Vandemoer and Capozzi: http://youtu.be/bnt0bitXVco

The world #1 match racers also collected two gold medals at ISAF World Cup events, Princess Sofia Trophy regatta and French Olympic Sailing Week. With the bronze medal at this event, they won an overall 2011-2012 ISAF World Cup gold medal.

video interview with Zach Railey

-Zach Railey

With an assertive start, Railey was launched out to the left side of the course with an advantage over the fleet. Although the entire 10-boat fleet went to the left side, Railey tried to hold his top-three spot at the top mark. The fleet converged on the downwind and Railey soon found himself in the middle of the pack without a lot of options.

“Going into the start of the race we thought the left side would be favored,” he explained. “We wanted to win the pin. I was in third and looking to have third place secured. The sailor I needed to beat (Postma, NED) rounded in 10th. There was a big change in pressure on the first downwind. Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side and he actually wound up going from 10th to third. That’s sailboat racing.”

Video with Railey talking through the rest of the medal race and his outlook to the Games: http://youtu.be/ofVcLNxY6yU

–US Sailing Development Team member Charlie Buckingham finished in 10th overall in the Laser class. Buckingham explained that this regatta was one of the highlights on his summer competition schedule. Video interview:

US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes competing at Sail for Gold

Final Results

Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) – women’s match racing, bronze medal (3rd overall)
Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – Women’s 470, silver medal (second overall)
Bob Willis (Chicago, Ill.) – RS:X (Men’s Windsurfer), 29th
Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) – Finn, 18th
Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (Pomfret, Vt./Naples, Fla.) – 49er, 11th
Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) — RS:X (Women’s Windsurfer), 27th
Jen French and JP Creignou (both St. Petersburg, Fla.) – SKUD-18, 4th
Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.) – 2.4mR, 9th
Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (both Miami, Fla.) – Star, 13th
Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) – Laser Radial, 13th
Paul Callahan (Cape Coral, Fla./Newport R.I.), Tom Brown (Castine, Me.) and Bradley Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.) – Sonar, 8th
Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) – Laser, 19th
Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) — Men’s 470, 13th
Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) – Finn, 4th

US Sailing Development Team members competing and results, to date:

Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)  – Laser, 10th
Carson Crain (Houston, Texas) – RS:X , 58th
Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.) and Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) – 49er, 33rd
Gordon Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.) – Finn, 41st
Greg Martinez (Houston, Texas) – Laser, 78th
Solvig Sayre (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) – RS:X, 41st

Results: http://www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk/results/index12.html?rnd=123

Greatest American Sailor
With a bronze medal at Sail for Gold, does Anna Tunnicliffe get your vote for Greatest American Sailor? How about her coach Dave Dellebaugh? They’re two of 64 sailors selected in US Sailing’s “Greatest American Sailor” content.

View Zach Railey talking about the Greatest American Sailor game: http://youtu.be/onzILTZz0ng

Vote: http://ussailingentry.com/Bracket/tabid/84/Default.aspx

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Editors Notes:

Editorial-free photos available: http://usst.photoshelter.com/gallery/2012-Sail-for-Gold/G0000OYHT4ApkXX0 Please use password “USA” to download

About Sail for Gold Held June 4-9 at the location selected for the Olympic Sailing competition, Sail for Gold is an important milestone event for sailing athletes preparing for the Games. Organizers expect over 700 athletes from 60-plus nations to compete in the fifth stop on the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) World Cup circuit. This will be the last time US Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Team members will have a chance to compete at the venue before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, scheduled for July 29-August 11. The Paralympic Games, scheduled for August 29-Sept. 6, also will be held at the same location.

About the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
The US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider 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 Sperry Top-Sider. US Sailing supports these elite athletes with funding, coaching and training. The title sponsor of the team is Sperry Top-Sider; other sponsors include Rolex Watch USA, Atlantis WeatherGear, LaserPerformance, Harken Team McLube, Bow Down Training, New England Ropes and Trinity Yachts.

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