First results

As Danish team come out on top in the Women's Match Racing at the Rolex Miami OCR

Saturday January 31st 2009, Author: Barby MacGowan, Location: United Kingdom
At Rolex Miami OCR today medals were determined in three Paralympic classes (Sonar, SKUD 18 and 2.4mR) as well as one Olympic class (Laser SB3, which is being used here instead of the Olympic Elliott 6 in the Women’s Match Racing event), while each of the remaining nine Olympic classes (Finn, 470 Men’s, 470 Women’s, 49er, Laser, Laser Radial, RS:X Men’s, RS:X Women’s, Star) determined the top-ten sailors who will advance to tomorrow's medal race.

There was no pressure on SKUD-18 sailors Scott Whitman and Julia Dorset to win their two races today and, thus, claim the gold medal. “We really didn’t even have to sail at all,” said Whitman, referencing nine victories in as many races held for this class since Monday, when the regatta began. “Most important was that it put us #1 on the U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, which gets us more funding and resources. It’s a great way to start the quadrennium.”

Great Britain’s Sonar team of John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Alex Wang-Hansen also won two races today to take gold. “The wind came in quite nicely at 8-10 knots with 20 degree shifts,” said Robertson. “We’ve been quick enough, but we can use our speed a bit more if we get the shifts right as well.” Robertson represented his country in both the 2004 and 2008 Paralympics but finished out of the medal running each time. “After the disappointment of Qingdao,” said Robertson, who had won the test event preceding it and was favored for a podium finish, “it’s good to get back into winning form again. And it’s always good coming to Miami as well.”

Robertson’s closest rival all week was the USA’s Paul Callahan, sailing with crew Roger Cleworth and Tom Brown. “It was a sorting-out thing for us this week, but we are proud and delighted to be #1 ranked,” said Callahan, who as top US finisher, qualified his team for the U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.

In the 2.4mR Class, it was an able-bodied sailor, Canada’s Allan Leibel, who took the gold medal, because of a dispensation in the rules allowing for open entry. (US Sailing has traditionally included able-bodied sailors in this popular class and decided to allow it again during this transition year of becoming a World Cup event.) Leibel fought off week-long advances from two-time Paralympic medalist Damien Seguin (FRA), who ultimately took the silver medal, but will accumulate World Cup points based on his beating out all other disabled entrants here.

“This class has a huge worldwide fleet in which 80 percent of the athletes are able-bodied,” said Leibel. “It happens to be a boat that, with modifications, a disabled athlete can sail and be equal. I’ve been to three Olympic Games (’72, ’76, and ’80, sailing in Dragon, Tempest and Star classes, respectively), and these guys are as good as any. They are training full time, fully coached…just superb. I look at them as sailors, not anything else.”

Seguin was happy to have the stiff competition from both types of sailors, since this was his first regatta since winning his silver medal in Qingdao. “It was training for me,” he said. “It was a very good competition. I’m lucky to be here.”

While the Paralympic sailors competed in fair breezes, classes sailing later in the day (using a staggered start schedule) experienced things quite differently when squalls developed.

“It was very little wind to very much,” said Denmark’s Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, who with Tina Schmidt and Trine Palludan won the gold medal in Women’s Match Racing. “We tried it all today.” Denmark was the third-ranked boat going into today’s four-boat Semi Finals. After they proceeded to the Finals, their match-up was with none other than yesterday’s leading Italian team of Giulia Conti, Alessandra Marenzi and Alessandra Angelini. The final contest went all five races with Pedersen’s team posting a final win-loss score of 3-2. The final race served up a photo finish after the boats changed leads twice in the last six boat lengths. “It was too windy to have our chutes up,” said Pedersen, “and we just made a right decision. Conte did a very good job.”

Pedersen said two days ago she would have said her team could win, but four days ago she would have thought it impossible. “We didn’t know the boat; our teamwork and coach were new…we’ve had a very increasing learning curve!” She added with a smile: “It is always important to win a regatta, but it’s really great to win what is, in effect, the very first Olympic Match Racing event. It’s a nice victory.”

For tomorrow, back-to-back competition is planned for the medal races, to be held on two circles. With courses shortened for approximately 30-minute races, it should be a quick day, unless the wind causes postponements as it has on-and-off since Monday, when this event began. The stakes are high, just as they will be in the Olympics, with the single race weighing in for double in the sailors' score lines and not allowed as a discard.

Top-three results - day five

Laser (63 boats) – 9 races
1. Nick Thompson (GBR), 3-8-1-1-18-16-[23]-5-3, 55
2. Pavlos Kontides (CYP), 5-2-6-12-23-8-4-4-[64/DNS], 64
3. Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla., USA), 28-20-3-3-12-[64/OCS]-5-2-7, 80

Laser Radial (41 boats) – 10 races
1. Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla., USA), 2-5-1-2-1-[7]-7-1-1-1, 21
2. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 6-3-2-3-[42/OCS]-1-1-2-4-4, 26
3. Jennifer Spalding (CAN), 1-2-6-7-[11]-10-2-3-2-11, 44

Finn (30 boats) – 11 races
1. Christopher Cook (CAN), 1-3-2-4-1-1-7-1-2-2-[9], 24
2. Edward Wright (GBR), 2-4-[6]-3-2-2-1-3-4-3-1, 25
3. Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 4-5-1-1-6-[7]-4-6-1-6-3, 37

470 Men (18 boats) – 11 races
1. Onan Barreiros / Aaron Sarmiento (ESP), 1-[6]-2-1-2-1-1-1-2-1-1-4, 16
2. Stuart McNay / Graham Biehl (Lincoln, Mass. / San Diego, Calif., USA), 3-1-[6]-3-6-3-2-1-2-2-3, 26
3. Matthias Schmid / Florian Reichstaedter (AUT), [10]-5-3-2-4-2-4-3-4-4-1, 32

470 Women (9 boats) – 11 races
1. Henriette Koch / Lene Sommer (DEN), 4-1-2-1-1-2-3-2-1-[5]-1, 18
2. Erin Maxwell / Isabelle Kinsolving (Norwalk, Conn. / New York, N.Y., USA), 1-2-[10/OCS]-3-2-1-1-1-4-4-5, 24
3. Hanna Saari / Mikaela Wulff (FIN), [5]-5-1-2-3-5-2-5-3-2-2, 30

49er (22 boats) – 14 races
1. Nico Delle Karth/ Nikolaus Resch (AUT), 1-1-3-8-2-2-2-[16]-5-2-1-11-2-1, 41
2. John Pink/ Rick Peacok (GBR), 7-2-2-9-1-1-5-5-3-[10]-5-2-1, 50
3. Federico Alonso / Arturo Alonso (ESP), 3-[9]-8-3-8-4-1-4-1-3-2-8-7, 56

Star (31 boats) – 10 races
1. Rick Merriman / Phil Trinter (New York, N.Y. / Charlottesville, Va., USA), 3-6-[13]-4-2-8-1-2-13-9, 48
2. George Szabo/ Rick Peters (San Diego, Calif. / Marina del Ray, Calif.,USA), 2-7-4-12-1-[25]-4-11-7-7, 55
3. Flavio Marazzi / Petter Pedersen Morland (SUI), 1-3-1-[32/OCS]-5-5-32/OCS-6-1-4, 58

RS:X Men (34 boats) – 9 races
1. Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED), 2-1-1-4-4-[15]-2-4-2, 20
2. Ivan Pastor (ESP), 1-3-2-3-1-6-[11]-5-6, 27
3. Joao Rodrigues (POR), 3-2-6-7-3-8-3-[10], 33

RS:X Women (23 boats) – 9 races
1. Marina Alabau (ESP), 2-2-1-2-1-3-1-2-[24/OCS], 14
2. Zofia Klepacka (POL), [5]-3-2-1-3-1-4-3-1, 18
3. Blanca Manchon (ESP), 1-1-5-4-[8]-2-3-1-5, 22

Women’s Match Racing (12 boats) – Final Standings
1. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen / Tina Schmidt / Trine Palludan (DEN)
2. Giulia Conti / Alessandra Marenzi / Alessandra Angelini (ITA)
3. Lucy MacGregor / Annie Lush / Ally Martin (GBR)

2.4mR (19 boats) – 12 races
1. Allan Leibel (CAN), 2-1-2-1-3-1-1-4-4-2-[7]-2, 23
2. Damien Sguin (FRA), [21/OCS]-4-5-2-4-4-4-1-2-1-1-3, 31
3. Paul Tingley (CAN), 1-3-4-3-1-5-6-5-1-[8]-5-8, 42

Sonar (5 boats) – 12 races
1. John Robertson/ Hannah Stodel/ Alex Wang-Hansen (GBR), 2-[4]-1-2-2-2-2-1-1-1-3-3, 20
2. Paul Callahan/ Roger Cleworth/ Tom Brown (Cape Coral, Fla. / Lithia, Fla. / Castine, Maine,USA), 1-1-2-4-1-3-1-[5]-3-4-5-4, 29
3. Rick Doerr/ Maureen McKinnon-Tucker/ Hugh Freund (Clifton, N.J. / Beverly, Mass. / South Freeport, Maine, USA), [5]-2-5-1-3-5-3-3-2-3-2-1, 30

SKUD 18 (5 boats) – 11 races
1. Scott Whitman/ Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J. / Boca Raton, Fla., USA), [1]-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1, 10
2. John McRoberts / Brenda Hopkin (CAN), 3-4-[6/RAF]-6/DSQ-2-2-2-2-2-2-3, 28
3. Alexandra Rickham/ Niki Birrell (GBR), 2-5-3-2-5-3-[6/DNF]-3-4-6/DNS-2, 35

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