17 from GBR through to medal race

A report from the final day of fleet racing at Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta

Friday January 26th 2007, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
It's down to the wire now at the 2007 Rolex Miami OCR, where 855 competitors from 49 countries have completed the five-day fleet racing portion of the competition, and the top ten from the overall standings in each of 14 Olympic and Paralympic classes are preparing for tomorrow's finals. The finals tomorrow will consist of only one medal race for each class, fired off in rapid succession. Two race circles - pared down from the eight used in the fleet racing - will be utilised simultaneously to accommodate the races, which will take approximately a half-hour to complete. Points for finish positions in the medal race will be doubled before they are added to overall scores for the series.

"Because the scores, in effect, count as two races in a sailor's series, the pressure is really on," said US Sailing Team Head Coach Gary Bodie. "In addition, the medal race must be counted and cannot be discarded."

For Yngling sailors Sally Barkow, Carrie Howe and Debbie Cappozi, mathematics will play as much a part in tomorrow's racing as boat speed and tactics. After today's three races, the US team pulled ahead of Great Britain's Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson, but only by two points in overall scoring. The two teams had been tied on points going into today, and all week they have been nipping at each other's transoms.

If Ayton wins tomorrow and Barkow follows in second, they will be tied in points, but Ayton would win the series after tie-breaker rules are applied. Therefore, the do-or-die reality for Barkow's team is that they must beat Great Britain, and they must finish no worse than sixth while doing it.

"We're going to go at it with full force," said Barkow, whose world champion team has been together longer than any other in this class. "The stakes are high, but it's important to keep a cool head on the water. We're all capable of taking on this kind of pressure and using it to our advantage."

Barkow added that her team also has to watch the third-place Finnish team. "It's hard to keep tabs on one boat, let alone two, so we have to take that into consideration when weighing the risks," said Barkow.

Norway's Per Moberg, leader in the Finn class, will be equally challenged to keep his eye on fellow Nordic competitors who are just a point and two points away: Danish World Champion Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, in second, and The Netherlands' Pieter-Jan Postma, in third.

Hoegh-Christensen, who led the 49-boat fleet after yesterday's racing, said it was "very tricky, very shifty" during today's two races. "The first race was looking good before a big left shift. I fell into the deep teens, but then I fought back to fourth." Hoegh-Christensen's second race, a twelfth- place finish, became his throwout. "It will be head-to-head racing, of course, tomorrow," said Hoegh-Christensen. "We will be fighting for this."

One team that has it a bit easier tomorrow is Sweden's Fredrik Loof and Anders Ekstrom. They are not untouchable, but there are 16 points between them and the second-place Portuguese team of Afonso Domingos and Bernardo Santos. "We are starting to come together," said Loof about his Olympic campaign.

USA's Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving are in third place in the 470 Women's fleet, behind Dutch duo Marcelien de Koning and Lobke Berkhout and Ingrid Petitjean and France's Nadege Douroux. In the 49er class, Athens Olympian Tim Wadlow and his crew Christopher Rast are in second place, only one point ahead of Morgan Larson and Pete Spaulding in third. For the second day in a row, the SKUD-18 team of Scott Whitman and Julia Dorsett hold on to first, ahead of David Cook and Brenda Hopkin of Canada and Karen Mitchell and JP Creignou. Sonar skipper Rick Doerr and his crew, Tim Angle and Bill Donohue, jumped to second after scoring two bullets today.

For Skandia Team GBR an impressive 17 boats qualify for the final medal races, with eight in medal-winning positions. Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield and Bryony Shaw have consolidated their leads in the 470 men’s and women’s RS:X categories, while Leigh McMillan and Will Howden have moved to the top of the Tornado leaderboard ahead of Australian World Champions Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby after Friday’s racing.

Athens silver medalists Rogers and Glanfield take a 19 point lead going into the final medal race on Saturday, recording 7,20,7 from their three races of the day, and will be joined in the medal race, featuring the top ten boats in a double-points scoring final showdown, by teammates and World Champions Nic Asher and Elliot Willis, currently in eighth place.

Bryony Shaw picked up her first race win of the regatta to see her extend her lead to four points in the women’s RS:X class, while Tornado sailors McMillan and Howden posted two solid seconds in Biscayne Bay’s 12 knot conditions to put them into first place and assured of at least a silver providing they sail a clean race tomorrow.

"It feels great to be in this position,” said Howden. “We have really struggled over the last few regattas for no apparent reason, and it’s easy to get your head down. We came here with no real expectations, just wanting to feel like our program was moving forward again.

"We haven’t changed a thing since the Worlds," he continued. "I think this just shows how tight and hard this fleet is to compete in consistently at the top which is our short-term goal. Bundy [Darren Bundock] is really good in the medal races so we will have to be on top of our game tomorrow."

The 49er leaderboard remains delicately balanced, with Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes still within reach of some silverware. Currently in fifth place, they’re just five points off the second placed boat of USA’s Tim Wadlow and Christopher Rast, while in the men’s RS:X class, third placed Nick Dempsey is on equal points with the Joao Rodrigues heading into tomorrow’s medal race.

In the single-handed events, Paul Goodison is currently fifth in the Laser class, Ed Wright and Ed Greig have made in through to the Finn medal race in seventh and ninth places respectively, and Charlotte Dobson and Lizzie Vickers will fly the Skandia Team GBR flag in the Laser Radial class. Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark head into the women’s 470 medal race in sixth place, while the Star class will be the only one without British interest as the new crew of Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson were unable to make the cut.

While there’s still everything to play for in the Olympic disciplines, there was a dramatic conclusion to the regatta for Sonar sailors John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas. With no medal races scheduled for the three Paralympic classes, Friday’s final fleet races determined the overall regatta winners. Robertson, Stodel and Thomas were overnight leaders in the Sonar class, but were left under pressure from their teammates and training partners Dan Parsons, Tom Pygall and Guy Draper heading into the final race.

In an attempt to aggressively match race Parsons’ team out of contention in the last race, the two-time IFDS World Champions Robertson, Stodel and Thomas inadvertently broke Rule 22, which prohibits a boat from altering its course to interfere with another boat sailing a different leg. On learning of their mistake, Robertson’s team confessed to the jury and were subsequently disqualified from the two races of the final day. They finished the regatta with bronze, after starting the day in the gold medal position.

"The guys have never been in the situation before where they’ve had to win a race through any other means than just sailing as fast as they can," said Skandia Team GBR Sonar coach Mark Rushall. "It was a training regatta for them here, so learning was the most important thing for the team - they’ve certainly learnt a lot!"

Megan Pascoe and Helena Lucas secured silver and bronze medals respectively in the 2.4mR Paralympic class, behind able-bodied sailor and five time 2.4mR Open World Champion Stellan Berlin of Sweden. For 20-year-old Pascoe, it was her best result to date, and “a brilliant way to start the year”.

Allan Smith and Jackie Gay finished in fifth place in only their second event in the new SKUD-18 class.

Results - day 5

Finn (49 boats) -- 11 races
1. Peer Moberg (NOR), 8-9-2-6-1-5-4-4-7-[11]-4, 50
2. Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN), 10-3-4-5-11-3-1-9-1-4-[12], 51
3. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), 1-6-1-10-21-1-[50/OCS]-3-2-1-6, 52

49er (47 boats) -- 14 races
1. Iker Martinez de Lizarduy/ Xabier Fernadez (ESP), 1-6-[12]-1-2-3-6-8-12-6-5-6-8-4, 68
2. Tim Wadlow/Christopher Rast (Beverly, Mass./Wake Forest, N.C., USA), 5-1-1-3-5-5-11-3-4-9-14-12-1-[15], 74
3. Morgan Larson/ Pete Spaulding (Capitola, Calif./Lafayette, In., USA), 4-7-[25/DNF]-2-1-4-1-11-3-10-8-2-4-18, 75

470 Men's (31 boats) -- 12 races
1. Nick Rogers/Joe Glanfield (GBR), 2-1-4-[11]-6-2-1-2-7-[20]-7, 43
2. Mathew Belcher/Nick Behrens (AUS), 6-[13]-8-7-5-10-6-4-2-4-10, 62
3. Gideon Kliger/Udi Gal (ISR), 16-[32/OCS]-3-2-2-9-7-6-9-10-1, 65

470 Women's (18 boats) -- 12 races
1. Marcelien de Koning/Lobke Berkhout (NED), 1-1-1-8-5-2-[13]-3-2-4-1-8, 36
2. Ingrid Petitjean/Nadege Douroux (FRA), 4-2-8-6-1-[9]-4-1-1-8-3-[14], 47
3. Erin Maxwell/Isabelle Kinsolving (Norwalk, Conn./New York, N.Y., USA), 3-4-[11]-3-2-7-1-9-8-1-5-10, 53

Laser (69 boats) - 10 races
1. Tom Slingsby (AUS), 2-1-7-8-1-13-1-1-3-[23], 37
2. Michael Blackburn (AUS), 2-6-1-3-5-2-6-[35]-21-5, 51
3. Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), 3-3-10-[22]-8-10-7-11-4-6, 62

Laser Radial (69 boats) -- 11 races
2. Sari Multala (FIN), 1-1-[27]-15-3-1-5-2-1-4-2-1, 36
1. Gintare Volungeviciute (LTU), 3-2-5-6-2-5-2-7-12-6-7-[36/OCS], 57
3. Evi Van Acker (BEL), [35/OCS], 3-7-3-7-3-16-12-8-2-5-4, 70

RS:X Men (44 boats) -- 11 races
1. Przeymslaw Miarczynski (POL), 1-5-[15]-10-3-2-1-1-3-9-3, 38
2. Joao Rodriques (POR), [18]-3-6-6-9-74-4-2-10-10, 61
3. Nick Dempsey (GBR), 4-4-[13]-8-6-4-2-6-9-[19]-5, 61

RS:X Women (28 boats) -- 10 races
1. Bryony Shaw (GBR), 4-5-4-3-[7]-6-6-6-1-3, 38
2. Marina Alabau (ESP), [10]-2-9-2-1-10-10-2-5-2, 43
3. Zofia Klepacka (POL), [13]-10-8-11-2-3-1-1-7-4, 47

SKUD-18 (10 boats) - 13 races
1. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J./Boca Raton, Fla., USA), 4-[6]-4-4-1-1-1-1-2-5-3-2-2, 30
2. David Cook/Brenda Hopkin (CAN), 2-4-3-1-5-2-[11/DNF]-3-3-2-4-4-4, 37
3. Karen Mitchell/JP Creignou (Deerfield Beach, Fla./St. Petersburg, Fla., USA), 6-2-1-2-[11/RAF]-4-3-2-5-11/DSQ-5-3-1, 45

Sonar (14 boats) -- 13 races
1. Dan Parsons/Tom Pygall/Guy Draper (GBR), 3-3-2-[15/OCS]-1-2-3-8-9-5-2-4-10, 52
*2. Rick Doerr/Tim Angle/Bill Donohue, (Clifton, N.J./ Marblehead, Mass./ Brick, N.J., USA), 6-1-9-2-8-[13]-8-2-7-7-1-1-1, 53
3. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Stephen Thomas (GBR), 2-4-1-3-7-1-4-6-4-3-3-[15RAF]-[15RAF], 53

Star (67 boats) - 8 races
1. Fredrik Loof/Anders Ekstrom (SWE), 3-2-2-1-2-4-[17]-2, 16
2. Afonso Domingos/ Bernardo Santos (POR), 1-11-1-[17]-2-1-7-9; 32
3. Ross MacDonald/Mike Wolfs (CAN), 4-4-[19]-7-4-5-4-16, 44

Tornado (43 boats) - 10 races
1. Leigh McMillan/William Howden (GBR), 4-4-1-[11]-3-2-11-3-2-2, 32
2. Darren Bundock/Glenn Ashby (AUS), 3-3-6-5-1-[44/OCS]-1-6-11-3, 39
3. Fernando Echavarri/Anton Paz (ESP) 6-2-[10]-2-10-5-8-4-9-6, 52

2.4 mR (25 boats) -- 13 races
1. Stellan Berlin (SWE), 1-5-[9]-7-7-1-1-2-5-2-2-2-4, 39
2. Megan Pascoe (GBR), 3-1-2-8-2-6-8-6-1-5-[13]-4-5, 51
3. Helena Lucas (GBR), 5-[7]-5-3-1-7-6-7-2-7-5-[10]-6, 61

Yngling (18 boats) -- 12 races
1. Sally Barkow/Carrie Howe/Debbie Cappozi (Nashotah, Wis./Grosse Pointe, Mich./Bayport, N.Y., USA) 3-1-4-6-4-2-[7]-6-1-2-1-2, 32
2. Sarah Ayton/Sarah Webb/Pippa Wilson (GBR) 1-3-[6]-5-6-6-3-1-2-4-2-1, 34
3. Silja Lehtinen/ Maria Klemetz/Livia Varesmaa, (FIN), 2-2-2-1-[12]-7-9-3-3-3-6-6, 44

Full Results:

470 Men
470 Women
Laser Radial
RS:X Men
RS:X Women

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