Monster medal haul for Skandia Team GBR
Skandia Team GBR scored what must be their biggest ever medal haul at a major Olympic classes regatta n the final day of Rolex Miami OCR, adding 12 medals in the Olympic classes to the two already won by the Paralympic classes on Friday. The total haul for the Brits stands at four gold, five silver, and five bronze medals across nine of the 12 events they contested, with GBR sailors claiming a clean sweep of the podium spots in both the Finn and 49er classes.
23 year old Giles Scott led the Finns from start to finish, although triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie did his utmost to narrow the gap over his teammate by winning the double-points scoring medal race today. Scott finished fifth giving him overall victory by a point, with silver going to Ainslie, and bronze to fellow Brit Andrew Mills.
“Today’s medal race was pretty tricky,” Scott admitted. “I had the tack of trying to go after Andrew and Ben just to kind of ruffle them a bit, and I managed to give Ben a penalty turn with about 20 seconds to go. Unfortunately that penalty turn forced him out to the right which was the favoured end and he ended up going round first or second and won the race which kind of made things a bit difficult for me. But holding on to fifth was what I needed to do and that’s what I did, so I’m massively happy.”
John Pink and Rick Peacock had already assured gold in the 49er event even before the final medal race started, heading into the day with an unassailable 23 point lead. But they were determined not to take their foot off the gas, finishing third in the final race, which was won by fellow Brits Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith, who took silver.
“We still went out and tried to do the medal race as well as we could,” Pink explained. “We quite enjoyed the race, it was pretty exciting – it got quite shifty and gusty, but we thought like most medal races it’s good to go and try and attack them because if you try and defend it never really works out for you. We thought we’d attack it and use as a bit of practice and we did quite well! We picked up third in the medal race so we’re pretty happy. It’s good to start the year by winning the first event. We’re looking forward to the rest of the season and trying to keep up the good work!
Dave Evans and Ed Powys rounded out the podium complete the clean sweep of the 49er medal spots.
There was a shake up in the 470 Men’s event, with series leaders Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell having to settle for bronze after a disappointing medal race where they finished tenth. Teammates and two-time World Champions Nic Asher and Elliot Willis took gold for Skandia Team GBR with the help of a third place in the final race. Australian World champions Matt Belcher and Malcolm Page claimed silver.
"It’s our first World Cup of the year, so it’s great to come away with gold and we’re both really happy with that,” said Willis. “We’ve sailed well all week and are looking forward to the rest of the year really and just staying consistent and staying healthy.
A resolute Patience added: “I can’t lie and say that we’re overly happy about losing gold. It’s a disappointment, but it’s still the first World Cup of the year, we sailed an outstanding series leading up to the medal race so we don’t doubt ourselves one bit.”
In the 470 Women Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes missed out on the gold by a mere point to French veterans Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux, but were able to claim their first podium spot together – and 21-year-old Hughes’s first at a senior event. In winning today’s medal race, Argentina’s 2008 Olympians Maria Fernanda Sesto/Consuelo Monsegur moved themselves past France's Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron to snag the bronze.
“It’s certainly been our goal this year to make our way onto the podium,” explained Clark. “It’s been knocking on the door for a few regattas now and to finally put a really good series together and then convert it in the medal race means a lot to us.”
2010 was a difficult season for the pair with illness to Clark and injury to Hughes disrupting the key winter training period, so Hughes is pleased that their preparations towards Games selection are back on track.
“It was quite hard last year – expecting things and having not put been able to put the training in place made it quite hard to put it all into practice. But we’ve had a good few months under our belt now, we’re feeling good and looking forward to a few more months of training before the European season and the key events this summer kick in.”
The Laser finale promised to be a tight battle for the medal spots, and it didn’t disappoint. In shifty conditions, Olympic Champion Paul Goodison ultimately had to settle for bronze behind Swede Rasmus Myrgren and Argentinian Julio Alsogaray, with teammate Nick Thompson in fourth. A third place for Sweden’s Rasmus Myrgren put him three points out in front of Argentina’s Julio Alsogaray to take the Gold.
“Among us three, plus Nick Thompson (GBR), it was who-beat-whom to take the Gold today,” said Myrgren. “When Paul and Julio started messing around with each other on the first downwind leg, it made it possible for me to catch up and by the last downwind leg the three of us were each a half boat length apart in a race to the finish, with two others ahead of us (who were not in contention).” Myrgren’s break came when he surfed ahead of Alsogaray on “the last couple of waves” at the finish to take third, leaving Alsogaray to fourth and Goodison to sixth.
It was sweet redemption for Myrgren, who was second behind Goodison going into the medal races at the 2008 Olympics and the only one with a mathematical chance at beating him for Gold. “In that race, Paul made sure to cover me, and we were both two minutes behind the rest of the fleet at the finish, because all he had to do was beat me. I was dead last, and so I fell to sixth overall. It is indicative of the pressures of a medal race on your final score.”
In the 58-boat Laser Radial class US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Paige Railey had Gold sewn up today as long as she didn’t get disqualified.
“I didn’t push it at all today,” said Railey, noting that her throw-out race for her lead-up series was a 59-pointer acquired from a black flag in race two. “I rounded the first mark fourth or fifth and just stayed relaxed, then rounded the next mark in first! The others were battling for the other medals, so I felt almost like I was watching it from the outside.” Railey said France's Sarah Steyaert passed her on the last leg to win and take the Silver Medal. “It was down to one boat for her, so she was sailing hard,” said Railey. Belgium's Evi van Acker, who had topped the scoreboard for several days this week, finished fourth today for eight points and the Bronze Medal, based on a tie-breaker in scoring that had her showing the same overall points as van Acker.
In the 57-boat Star class, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, the Beijing Silver medallists, clinched their 10-race series and the Gold Medal here, winning today’s race and leaving the battle for Silver to fall between Sweden, Canada and France. When Sweden’s Freddie Loof/Max Salminen finished third today, they assured themselves of the second spot on the podium, knocking France's Xavier Rohart/Pierre Alexis Ponsot out of contention and leaving Canada's Richard Clark and Tyler Bjorn to collect bronze.
In the 30-strong RS:X Women’s fleet, Spain’s Marina Alabau seemed untouchable here having scored six bullets from eight races prior to today's medal race. Today the World Champion finished a disappointing seventh, but this was good enough to secure her Gold with a five-point lead over Britain's Bryony Shaw, in turn another six over Italian Laura Linares.
Alabau has won the last three Rolex Miami OCRs and says the competition this year has been the toughest. “It is closer to the Olympics and the level is higher. Everybody is more prepared,” she said.
In the RS:X Men’s class, the Netherland's Dorian van Rijsselberge kept his early regatta and finishing fifth today took the Gold. Only two points behind him was Britain's Nick Dempsey who claimed the silver, but there was an upset for third with French veteran Julien Bontemps surging past Israel's Nimrod Mashiah to take the bronze. He was second to Mashiah’s sixth today and shared the same overall points, but the tiebreaker favored the Frenchman.
The Women's Match Racing started early this morning, with France's Claire Leroy/ Elodie Bertrand/Marie Riou meeting Anna Tunnicliffe/Molly Vandemoer/Debbie Capozzi in a first-to-three points knockout Finals match. Serious sailing went down as Leroy’s team took the first two matches and Tunnicliffe came back to win the third. A fourth and final match went to Leroy, giving her the Gold and Tunnicliffe the Silver.
“It is what it is,” said Tunnicliffe, the three-time (consecutive and current) Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. “If you lose, you want to lose in a good race, and it was a really good race...very entertaining for the spectators, with lots of lead changes. Claire is one of the most experienced match racers on the circuit, and sometimes I beat her and sometimes she beats me; it was going to be who was on their game today.”
Leroy is the 2008 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship and is ranked second to Tunnicliffe’s fourth on the women’s world match racing circuit.
In the Petit Finals for Bronze (a first-to-two points knockout match), the USA's Sally Barkow/Alana O’Reilly/Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham posted a win-loss score of 2-1 to win over Britain's Lucy Macgregor/Mary Rook/ Kate Macgregor.
On Skandia Team GBR's success, RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park commented: “It’s been a fantastic start to 2011, particularly bearing in mind that although we sent a strong team, we didn’t field a full team in all event. It’s pleasing to see that in this year where we start to look at selection trials for the Games, that lots of sailors are stepping up, are competing strongly and are seeing the fruits of their winters’ training. It’s great to see all of our Finn guys doing well again, where we were clearly well ahead of the rest of the fleet this week. A great win for Giles, and good to see Ben up there again but I’m also really pleased for Andrew who’s shown he can’t be discounted.”
Park continued: “I’m really pleased for Penny and Kat as well. They came so close to winning the regatta, and when you consider only 12 months ago they were at this event and due to Penny’s illness they struggled to complete all the races, it’s good to see them back in the game. The 470 fleet in Miami did have some of the top names missing, but even so, it’s a fantastic way to get some momentum going for 2011.”
Golden Torch Award
US SAILING’s Golden Torch Trophy, awarded to the U.S. sailor with the best overall performance at US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR, this year went to Laser Radial Gold Medalist Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.). The torch, from the 1980 Moscow Olympics, was presented by the Russian Olympic Committee to Andrew Kostanecki – United States Olympic Sailing Committee from 1985 to 1988. Mr. Kostanecki gave the torch to US SAILING as an award for aspiring Olympians and Paralympians. Railey also received the award last year.
Final Results (top three)
470 WOMEN (9 RACES)
1. Ingrid Petijean/ Nadege Douroux (FRA) 1-2-3-4-12-5-1--8- (36)
2. Penny Clark/ Katrina Hughes (GBR) 4-4-2-6-1-[25/BFD]-6-10-4 (37)
3. Maria Fernanda Sesto/ Consuelo Monsegur (ARG) 6-3-7-1--12-3-7-2-(41)
470 MEN (10 RACES)
1. Nic Asher/Elliot Willis (GBR) 1-3-5-2-6-10-10--2-6 (45)
2. Matthew Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS) 2-8-10-3-3--2-3-10-10 (51)
3. Luke Patience/Stuart Bithell (GBR) 3/RDG-2-2-5-1-8-1--9-20 (51)
LASER (11 RACES)
1. Rasmus Myrgren (SWE) 7-3-1-1-1-3-4-12--6 (38)
2. Julio Alsogaray (ARG) 5-1-3-5-2--1-5-11-8 (41)
3. Paul Goodison (GBR) 1-2-8-1-[53/DSQ]-1-2-1-15-12 (43)
LASER RADIAL (11 RACES)
1. Paige Railey (USA) 1-[59/BFD]-4-6-2-5-1-4-2-4-4 (33)
2. Sarah Steyaert (FRA) 10-6-6-4-1-3--7-14-3-2 (56)
3. Evi Van Acker (BEL) 2/RDG-2-1-1-7-16-3--15-1-8 (56)
FINN (10 RACES)
1. Giles Scott (GBR) 1-1-1-1-[38/OCS]-7-4-1-3-10 (29)
2. Ben Ainslie (GBR) 5-2-5-2-8-[38/RAF]-1-3-2-2 (30)
3. Andrew Mills (GBR) 7-6-2-3--4-2-2-1-6 (33)
Star (11 Races)
1. Robert Scheidt/Bruno Robert (BRA) 1-2-9-1-9-7--11-1-5-2 (48)
2. Fredrik Loof (SWE) 5-3-7-3-15-6--36-3-13-6-6 (97)
3. Richard Clarke (CAN)6-6-6-9-6-16-5-7-18--20 (99)
RS: X WOMEN 9 RACES
1. Marina Alabau (ESP) -1-1-1-1-1--6-14 (26)
2. Bryony Shaw (GBR) -2-2-2-2-6-4-5-8 (31)
3. Laura Linares (ITA) 5-5-6--5-5-2-7-2 (37)
RS: X MEN (9 RACES)
1. Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) 1-4-1-1-2-4--10 (24)
2. Nick Dempsey (GBR) 2-2-4-4-3-1-2--8 (26)
3. Julien Bontemps (FRA) 5--6-6-8-2-1-4-4 (36)
49ER (15 RACES)
1. John Pink/ Rick Peacock (GBR) 4-1-5-1-1-1-4--1-1-2-1-4-4-3-6 (39)
2. Paul Brotherton/Mark Asquith (GBR) 1-3-2-5-2-10-2-10-5-3-5-3-2-3-[30/DNS]-2 (58)
3. Dave Evans/Edward Powys (GBR) 2-6-1-3-3-2-5-1-2-2-6-10-[30/OCS]-11-10-10 (74)
Elliott 6m (Women’s Match Racing)
1. Claire Leroy/Elodie Bertrand/Marie Riou (FRA)
2. Anna Tunnicliffe/Molly Vandemoer/Debbie Capozzi (Plantation, Fla., USA/Redwood City, Calif., USA/(Bayport, N.Y., USA)
3. Sally Barkow/ Alana O’Reilly/Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham (Nashotah, WI./Charleston SC/Miami Beach FL, USA)
SKUD-18 (6 RACES)
1. Daniel Fitzgibbon/ Liesl Tesch (AUS) 1-1-4-1-[8/OCS]-1-1-1-2 (12)
2. Scott Whitman/ Julia Dorsett (USA) [8/DNF]-2-2-3-3-2-3-2-1 (18)
3. Alexandra Rickham/Niki Birrell (GBR) 2-4-3--1-4-2-3-3 (22)
2.4Mr (6 RACES)
1. Damien Seguin (FRA) 2--1-1-5-4-1-2-2 (18)
2. Thierry Schmitter (NED) 1-1-4-4--6-4-1-1 (22)
3. Allan Leibel (CAN) 3-2-2-2--5-6-4-5 (29)
SONAR ( 7 RACES)
1. John Roberston/ Hannah Stodel/ Steve Thomas (GBR) 3-2-1-7-2-5-[13/DSQ]-5-2-3 (30)
2. Bruno Jourdren/Eric Flageul/Nicolas Vimont Vicary (FRA) 8-7-2--3-4-2-1-7-2 (36)
3. Udo Hessels/ Mischa Rossen/Marcel van de Veen (NED) 2-1-4--6-3-5-2-1-13 (37)
Full results here
From Richard Langdon/Skandia Team GBR
From Ingrid Abery/www.ingridabery.com