Half way stage
It was a critical day of racing for the ten Olympic and two Paralympic classes at the 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. As the fleet series winds down for these events and in some cases new racing formats go into motion, the time is now for sailors to make a run at the leaderboard.
Biscayne Bay was surrounded by overcast conditions today. Wind speed fluctuated throughout the day and ranged from as light as four knots to as high as 15.
The regatta’s largest event this year is the Laser, which features 70-boats in gold and silver fleets. Sweden’s Jesper Stalheim finished the first series, which concluded yesterday, with the lead and he finished today on top of the leaderboard in the new series. He was third and second today, while Charlie Buckingham (USA) overtook second place after winning race nine in the new series. The World #3 Bruno Fontes is in third.
“With the new carryover system and the bonus points for wins they have here for scoring, I'm not sure what will happen. It should be interesting," said Stalheim. “Yesterday, everything fell into place. I'm here to work on my starts and I did well with that. It's a really good fleet this week, especially a year after the Olympics.” Stalheim finished third at the Laser European Championship (France) in June and won the Laser Europa Cup (Denmark) in September.
Fontes finished 13th at the Olympics and second last year at World Cup Miami. “Keeping the clean starts with good speed has helped me a lot this week,” said Fontes. “I'm a smaller guy so to be good in strong wind I need to work a lot in the gym. Now I need to improve a bit more in light wind because the main goal is Olympics, and Rio is light wind. For me, Rio is the highest goal in my life. With the Olympics in my home country, I am excited to work hard to be ready and do my best to get a medal.”
The Laser Radials also started a new series this morning. Paige Railey (USA) asserted herself by winning the two of three races today. She has won three of the last four races to take a two point lead. Her discard is a six. Finishing second twice today was Ireland’s Annalise Murphy. She started the new series with a lead. The World #5 Tuula Tenkanen won race seven.
The Finns wrapped up another competitive day of racing and Caleb Paine (USA) extended his lead to seven points. The Finn U.S. National Champion won race seven and was third in race eight. World #1 and ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne Champion Brendan Casey (AUS) is in second. He was third and second today. Casey is impressed with the new wave of talent in the Finn class.
"I've come to Miami to race against the world's best that are currently sailing to see where I stack up,” said Casey. “I'm 35 years of age now, so I'm probably at the tail end of my sailing, but I'm still very competitive. The younger guys like Caleb Paine are at the start of their sailing journey and Greg Douglas too. Those are the two guys to watch out for in the future."
In the Men’s 470, Matthias Schmid and Floran Reichstaedter (AUS) had a disappointing day on the water and American’s Stuart McNay and David Hughes catapulted to an 11-point lead. McNay and Hughes were second and first in today’s races, while Schmid and Reichstaedter were 10th and 11th. The 11 becomes their discard and the 10 applies to their score.
In the Women’s 470, Brazil’s Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan are pulling away. Their win in race seven and fifth in race eight put them in the lead by 12 points over China’s Xiaomei Xu and Chunyan Yu.
Dorian Van Rijssbelberghe (NED) excelled in Thursday’s quarterfinal series by finishing first, second and third today in the Men’s RS:X event. Finland’s Tuuli Petäjä took control of the Women’s RS:X event by winning two of three races this afternoon in the quarterfinals. Both events conducted quarterfinal repechage rounds. For a detailed explanation of the Laser and Laser Radial scoring format, see the section at the bottom of the recap.
Despite a tenth place finish in race eight, Fred Strammer and Zach Brown (USA) maintain a six point lead in the 49er event. They posted third place results in race seven and nine. Ryan Pesch and Trevor Burd (USA) moved into second place.
Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze held ground on Thursday in the 49er FX. They lead Anna Tunnicliffe and Molly Vandemoer (USA) by five points. Grael and Kunze won race 12, while Tunnicliffe and Vandemoer won race 10. Both teams have a six as their discard.
Sarah Newberry and John Casey (USA) are sailing away from the entire fleet. They have an impressive 11-point lead through four days of racing in the Nacra 17 event. The won race eight to cap another outstanding performance. The duo has won six of eight races this week.
It will be a four way race for the 2.4 mR title on Friday’s final day of racing. Bruce Millar (CAN) and Megan Pascoe (GBR) each have 16 points through eight races, while Allan Leibel (CAN) and Bjornar Erikstad (NOR) are close behind with 17 points. Millar led by four coming into today and he sustained a DNC in race eight.
Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen of Norway expanded their lead from four to five, despite posting a seven in race eight, which now stands as their discard. They are followed by Ireland’s John Twomey, Ian Costelloe and Brad Johnson. Racing in the Sonar event concludes on Friday.