FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dana Paxton, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, +1 401-683-0800, x615, mobile: +1 401-369-0490, firstname.lastname@example.org
Portsmouth, R.I. (December 18, 2010) – The first stop on the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) 2010-2011 Sailing World Cup series concluded today in Melbourne, Australia, and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG)members took two medals, silver and bronze. Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) won a silver medal in the Men’s 470, while Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (North Pomfret, Vt.) collected a bronze medal in the 49er class.
More than 350 Olympic and Paralympic class sailors from 42 countries competed this week in the first event of the series. Hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club, the event was held December 13-18, 2010. Unstable conditions challenged sailors and the race committee throughout a week of unpredictable weather.
“Winning two medals in Melbourne is a great start to the 2011 Sailing World Cup season and I am very pleased with how our team performed in the tough conditions,” said USSTAG’s High Performance Director/Head Coach Kenneth Andreasen (Tampa, Fla.). For Erik and Trevor to win a medal in the 49er is a huge step forward for them and it really shows that the plan of training hard is working. Stu and Graham won another Silver medal and showed they are going to be a contender in the 470 class. Now we go home and work hard for the next month and look forward to another test in Miami for the Rolex Miami OCR.”
The Men’s 470 is always one of the closest classes and the medal race delivered excitement. Four teams went into the final race with a chance at gold: World Champions Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS), Austrian”s Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichsteadter, Sam Kivell and Will Ryan (AUS) and USSTAG’s Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl.
From the start of the medal race, the wind shifted northwest to southwest and the race was abandoned, much to the relief of overall second-placed McNay and Biehl who had pulled out of the race after spinnaker trouble.
“We got caught right and on the wrong end at the start, and we started coming back and closing in on the fleet,” said Biehl. “At the mark we had a sail-handling problem and we ran over our spinnaker. It was at that point we saw the race was abandoned. We relaxed, pulled it back in and got ready for the race.”
After re-setting the course, the race began with a general recall and then went to a black flag.
“The black flag is unforgiving and a disqualification from a medal race is a lot of points,” continued Biehl. “We were conservative at the start and did a good job picking the shifts up the beat and first mark. The wind was really weird by the time we got to the leeward mark. The Australians were in front, we were in second, and the breeze was dying. From there, both Australian boats got in front of us, and we were in third, which meant we would be second overall. But on the run—the last run—the wind really got weird. Things worked out favorably where we were able to stay just where we needed to finish ahead of Kivell (Samuel Kivell and Will Ryan).”
This is the third straight year McNay and Biehl have finished second to 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists Matthew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS). A strong series of two bullets and top-four finishes combined with a fourth in the medal race gives the duo a big jump on the World Cup season.
Going into the medal race in the high-performance 49er class, Storck and Moore stood in third overall and a very good chanced at a podium finish.
“This morning we talked to Kenneth about what our strategy would be,” recalled Storck moments after winning a medal. “There were four boats we’d be worried about. If they were ahead (of us) we could have moved down to sixth. As long as we were top four in the race, we’d hang onto third overall.”
While the wind was erratic and shift throughout the day, the team kept their focus from the start. “We were forced to tack 20 seconds after the start,” explained Storck. “We tacked out and split with the fleet, and sailed right into a righty puff that turned out to be good for us. We were third around the first mark and able to clip out a few more boats.”
As they concentrated on covering the boats behind them there was a wind shift of 30-40 degrees. “We rounded the last mark in first with the next boat maybe five boat lengths behind us. We didn’t jibe and had to jib reach to the gun. We were really fast downwind and with the steep waves we really extended. We were happy to see it was our training partners (from the German team) finishing behind us.”
With a medal race win, Storck and Moore captured the bronze medal.
“We are very, very happy,” said Storck moments after reaching the dock. “This is our first podium at a World Cup event. We can’t wait to do it again in Miami.”
Other USSTAG sailors had strong results this week: Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) finished in 7th in the 23-boat Finn class, and Clay Johnson (Tom’s River, N.J.) finished 14th in the 66-boat Laser fleet. For the US Sailing Development Team, Adam Roberts and Nick Martin (both San Diego, Calif.) finished fifth in the Men’s 470, their best result at an ISAF Sailing World Cup event, Derick Vranizan (Shoreline, Wash.) finished 18th in the Laser and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) finished 21st in the Laser Radial class.
For complete results from Sail Melbourne, please visit the event web site:http://www.sailmelbourne.com.au/
Sailors accrue points at each of the seven ISAF Sailing World Cup events to earn an overall Series Score. A first place win translates into 20 points, a second place earns 19 points and so on. (Twentieth place earns one point.) The skipper/crew with the highest Series Score at the end of the inaugural season wins the ISAF Sailing World Cup Trophy. The next stop on the ISAF Sailing World Cup is US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR, scheduled for January 23-29, in Miami, Fla.
Find out more about the ISAF Sailing World Cup, overall standings, the scoring system and the Notice of Series at www.sailing.org/isafsailingworldcup
Reports from the athletes:
Erik Storck/Trevor Moore http://www.storckmooresailing.com/
Zach Railey http://www.zachrailey.com/
Stuart McNay / Graham Biehl http://blog.teammb.org/
Clay Johnson http://www.claysails.com/
Adam Roberts and Nick Martin http://www.teamrobertsmartin.com/blog/post
Sarah Lihan http://lihansailing.com/news/
About the 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, Bow Down Training, New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning and Trinity Yachts.
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. For more information about US SAILING, please visit:www.ussailing.org. For more information about the US Olympic Sailing Program and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, please visit:http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.