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Rolex Miami OCR Sailing in Miami

Rolex Miami OCR by Rolex/Dan Nerney

Sailing at the Rolex Miami OCR

It was “one race, one chance” today at US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR, the second of seven stops of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010.. After gold, silver and bronze medalists were determined yesterday in three Paralympic classes, it was now the turn for sailors in ten Olympic classes to claim podium positions, but the plot came with a twist. Just as will happen at the Olympics in 2012, only the top-ten finishers–determined after five days of fleet racing–earned the right to sail in today’s single medal race for each class, except for in Women’s Match Racing. In that event, which makes its Olympic debut in 2012, sailors competed in finals and petit-finals to determine medalists.

The Rolex Miami OCR, which this year hosted 448 teams (633 athletes) from 45 nations, is one of the world’s most competitive regattas for 2012 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. As such, each nation’s medal tally is closely watched; USA had the most medals with 10, followed by Great Britain with six, France with five and Spain with four.

In the Women’s Match Racing finals, Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) defeated Lucy MacGregor’s GBR team in a highly charged, best-of-five series. Team MacGregor hadn’t lost a race since the first round until today’s race three against Tunnicliffe. Tunnicliffe went on to win the fourth race s well, tying up the score 2-2, so the tie-breaker became a do-or-die match for the gold. After a tough start, Tunnicliffe trailed MacGregor on the first beat, but MacGregor hit some waves and slowed down and Tunnicliffe caught up by the bottom mark. On the downwind leg, MacGregor jibed early, and Tunnicliffe extended on port and jibed, catching the waves. From that point on, Tunnicliffe defended the starboard layline and narrowly edged out MacGregor by half a boat length.

“We had a great day on the water,” said Tunnicliffe. “My team did a great job of staying in the game despite the two losses in the beginning. We fought back and kept it calm and pulled off the moves we needed to and are so happy we came out on top.”

Thanks to a substantial 35-point lead in the Laser Radial, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) wrapped up the gold medal a day early in the 57-boat fleet, but today she added another bullet to her collection. Following in second was Spain’s Alicia Cebrian who sailed a consistently strong event, and the bronze medal went to GBR’s Alison Young. Railey’s strengths this week were her boat speed and being able to see the pressures and realizing the phase of the shift a few seconds ahead of her competition. By the end of the regatta, she had found her groove and won several races comfortably. Coach Luther Carpenter (LaPorte, Texas) said she managed risk very well in very difficult conditions.

“I’m so pleased about winning the gold,” said Railey. “I wasn’t thinking about the results. I was out there taking one race at a time and pushing myself to use new techniques I’ve incorporated into my sailing. I’ve been learning when to take risks and when to stay conservative.”

2008 Olympians Amanda Clark (Shelter Harbor Heights, N.Y.) and Sarah Chin (Hoboken, N.J.) won an impressive gold medal in the Women’s 470, after taking a year off since the 2008 Games in Qingdao, China. Leading into today’s medal races, they were two points away from the top (the top three were only separated by one point each) and finished fifth in today’s race, which secured their overall win. France’s Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux won silver and Denmark’s Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer won bronze.

“It was a very tactical regatta; we couldn’t necessarily rely on being fast in a variety of conditions to pull us through,” said Clark. “It was the best racing we could ever ask for.

“It’s great to win our first major regatta back,” she added. “This was a huge positive for us. We wanted to enter this quad with a strong start, proving we still have what it takes. This time around, we’re ready to be on the podium.”

Norway’s Eivind Meklleby and Petter Morland won a gold medal in the Star class in a come-from-behind victory over USA’s Andy Horton (S. Burlington, Vermont) and James Lyne (Granville, Vt.), who led the 24-boat fleet throughout the regatta. Only three points separated the two teams going into today’s race. Horton and Lyne went back at the start for an unforced error, so they played catch-up for the rest of the race and finished fifth in the race and second overall, only one point behind the Norwegian team. Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and John Von Schwarz (Annapolis, Md.) rounded out the podium with a bronze.

In the Men’s 470 class, the Swedish team of Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostling was third going into today with the knowledge that whoever finished first among yesterday’s top-four boats would secure the gold medal. “There is so much to tell,” said Dahlberg about today’s action on the race course. “It was one of the closest races yet, and every inch counted.” He explained that yesterday’s leaders (and eventual bronze medalists) Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela (ISR) became part of a “tough lineup” and got caught up on the top mark. “They had been in second and had to do penalty turns; a lot of boats did turns.” Dahlberg and Ostling, in eighth at the time, scooted clear. By the second windward mark, France (not in medal contention) was leading with the Swedes in second and eventual silver medalists Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) behind them. “We all did a jibe set,” said Ostling, “and we were focused on our position with Australia when suddenly they jibed away (to make sure they covered ISR), and we were glad. We managed to get a boost for boat lengths at the end and won.”

Dahlberg and Ostling competed here three years ago but admittedly were beginners trying to get experience. “Now we have a lot more confidence, for sure on the downwind legs,” said Ostling. “This is our first gold; it’s big for us, big for Sweden.” The duo is hoping that the same scenario might play out at the 2012 Games if they are fortunate enough to represent their country there. “In Beijing we were 15th, and with more experience, hopefully we can medal,” said Dahlberg.

For the French 49er team of Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis, it was important to finish in front of the Austrian team of Nico LM Delle Karth/Nikolaus Leopold Resch and the Danish team of Simon Karstoft andJonathon Bay. The three were one-two-three going into today and finished the regatta in the same order. “After a really good start, our goal was to control them and we managed to do that,” said Christidis matter-of-factly. “Usually we have a longer rest after our Worlds, which this year were held in January in the Bahamas (the team finished fourth), but we came right to Miami because this event and the World Cup is very important to us.

In RS:X Men’s (windsurfing), The Netherlands’ defending champion Dorian Rijsselberghe watched Spain’s Ivan Pastor most closely in his play to win the gold. With a short 500-meter windward leg, Rijsselberghe’s entire race took less than 30 minutes to complete. As he tells it, he was next to Pastor at the start boat, and in the beginning Pastor was controlling him. “But the more we were going the more I got control,” said Rijsselberghe, “just by speed and hard work.” Then it was the tacking game. “My goal was first to get rid of him to be sure he was not in front, then start racing others.”

The light 7-9 knot breezes were typical of “pumping conditions” that have prevailed here for the windsurfers and continually tested their physical strength. “In these conditions you have a maximum heart rate of 4-5 times normal, and you have to get ‘over the hump,’ as we say and get up on a plane. Today there was not a lot of wind, but just enough to have a nice race.” Pastor took the silver, while France’s Julien Bontemps won the bronze.

In RS:X Women’s , the battle between Spanish teammates Marina Alabau, the defending champion, and Blanca Manchon, yesterday’s leader, wound up with Alabau snatching gold and Manchon settling for silver. “I was worried for the French as well at the start,” said Alabau, “but it was me who rolled Blanca, and she had to tack to the wrong side. I was more concentrated on not losing second, but thinking maybe to get a first. By the first mark, I was second behind Laura (Linares of Italy), and I just had to keep my position.”

Linares, who won today’s race, took the bronze and epitomizes the up-and-coming youth contingent at this regatta. Coming into today in fourth, the 19-year-old said, “I was determined more than in any other of the races. I was calm; I believed in myself. I just finished a youth period and now I am not anymore a youth, so I am entering another period where it will be my job to be a professional sailor trying for the Olympics.”

“Not only did we have terrific racing this week by the best sailors in the world,” said Gary Bodie (Hampton, Va.), Regatta Co-Chairperson, “but also we had the best, most qualified group of volunteers we’ve ever had. They worked tirelessly to run a superb event.”

Medals were awarded tonight to the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic event at a ceremony held at Coral Reef Yacht Club. In addition to her gold medal, Paige Railey was chosen to receive US SAILING’s Golden Torch Award, given to the American sailor deemed to have the best overall performance among all classes. Tunnicliffe was the last athlete to win the award in 2006, so she presented Railey with the trophy.

US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR
Top-three Finishes Day Six – Final

Star (26 boats) – 11 races
1. Eivind Melleby/Petter Morland Pederson (NOR), 1-11-2-(20)-1-1-2-2-8-2-6, 36
2. Andy Horton/James Lyne (Burlington, Vt., USA/Granville, Vt., USA), 2-1-3-1-4-5-(25/OCS)-1-6-4-10, 37
3. Mark Mendelblatt/John Von Schwarz (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA/Annapolis, Md., USA), 8-8-1-11-(25/OCS)-2-1-5-2-14, 55

49er (36 boats) – 16 races
1. Manu Dyen/Stephane Christidis (FRA), 2-6-3-7-9-1-(15)-6-1-10-(10/OCS/RDG)-10-3-4-(37/OCS)-6, 93
2. Nico LM Delle Karth/Nikolaus Leopold Resch (AUT), 3-5-4-14-11-8-3-5-7-14-(20)-5-2-2-15-12, 110
3. Simon Karstoft/Jonathon Bay (DEN), 10-23-2-5-6-3-12-14-9-3-3-3-1-(37/BFD)-8-16, 118

Laser Radial (57 boats) – 11 races
1. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 1-1-4-10-3-9-3-1-(58/BFD)-1-2, 35
2. Alicia Cebrian (ESP), (58/BFD)-2-19-5-1-4-4-5-20-8-6, 74
3. Alison Young (GBR), 3-11-16-1-8-(25)-11-9-13-24-16, 112

Laser (104 boats)-11 races
1. Nick Thompson (GBR), 1-6-1-1-(23)-13-1-1-1-3-6, 34
2. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), 2-11-14-11-1-3-8-(25)-16-8-10, 84
3. Kyle Rogachenko (GBR), 12-9-9-15-9-3-10-4-(27)-1-14-86

470 Men (34 boats) – 11 races
1. Anton Dahlberg/Sebastian A-stling (SWE), 7-4-2-8-11-(19)-4-4-16-5-2, 63
2. Mathew Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS), 3-(19)-10-18-5-2-1-17-2-3-6, 67
3. Gideon Kliger/Eran Sela (ISR), 2-6-4-6-12-(13)-2-13-6-9-10, 70

470 Women (26 boats) – 11 races
1. Amanda Clark/Sarah Chin (Shelter Island Heights, N.Y.,USA/Hoboken N.J., USA), 7-6-2-1-3-1-(13)-3-3-8-10, 44
2. Ingrid Petitjean/Nadege Douroux (FRA), 10-2-1-(11)-5-2-1-2-4-6-14, 47
3. Henriette Koch/Lene Sommer (DEN), 8-4-5-6-1-(10)-2-1-2-3-18, 50

Finn (37 boats) – 11 races
1. Edward Wright (GBR), 1-2-(19)-1-4-1-1-3-5-2-8, 28
2. Giles Scott (GBR), 2-7-1-3-3-3-(8)-6-2-7-14, 48
3. Gasper Vincec (SLO), 5-12-5-8-(19)-2-7-1-3-1-3-5-4, 52

Elliott 6m (24 boats)
1. Anna Tunnicliffe/Molly Vandemoer/Debbie Capozzi (Plantation, Fla., USA/Palo Alto, Calif., USA/Bayport, N.Y., USA)
2. Lucy Macgregor/Annie Lush/Ally Martin (GBR)
3. Claire Leroy/Marie Riou/Elodie Bertrand (FRA)

RS:X Women (25 boats) – 9 races
1. Marina Alabau (ESP), 2-2-(4)-2-4-2-1-3-4, 20
2. Blanca Manchon (ESP), 1-1-(10)-3-2-1-4-1-8, 21
3. Laura Linares (ITA), (6)-4-2-1-5-6-2-4-2, 26

RS:X Men (37 boats) – 9 races
1. Dorian Rijsselberghe (NED), 1-1-2-7-1-5-(9)-4-8, 29
2. Ivan Pastor (ESP), 6-5-4-1-2-3-2-(12)-10, 33
3. Julien Bontemps (FRA), 5-10-1-9-7-(16)-10-1-2, 45

2.4mR (28 boats) – 10 races
Paul Tingley (CAN), 5-5-7-2-1-1-4-(9)-1-3, 29
Thierry Schmitter (NED), 1-3-6-3-2-4-(29/DSQ)-2-9-2, 32
John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.,USA), 2-1-2-10-3-6-1-(11)-8-1, 34

Sonar (9 boats) – 10 races
1. Aleksander Wang-Hansen/Per Eugen Kristiansen/Marie Solberg (NOR), 1-4-1-1-3-1-1-3-(7)-1, 16
2. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Steve Thomas (GBR), 3-3-2-6-1-2-2-1-(8)-4, 24
3. Rick Doerr/Brad Kendall/Hugh Freund (Clifton, N.J., USA/Tampa, Fla., USA/South Freeport, Me., USA), 4-(8)-4-4-4-3-3-2-2-2, 28

SKUD-18 (7 boats)-10 races
1. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J., USA/Boca Raton, Fla., USA), 1-3-1-1-1-2-2-2-1-(8/BNF), 14
2. Jennifer French/Jean-Paul Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA/St. Petersburg, Fla., USA), 2-2-3-4-6-1-1-1-(8/OCS)-1, 21
3. John McRoberts/Brenda Hopkin (CAN), 3-4-2-2-3-4-(6)-4-2-2, 26

More Sailing News

Jessica Watson

Jessica Watson

16 year old Jessica Watson is gearing up for the most dangerous part of her solo round-the-world voyage.  The teenager is heading for the world’s most deadly stretch of sea, Cape Horn, relying solely on the headsail after suffering a problem with the mainsail.  Jessica Watson’s parents have flown to South America in the hope of catching sight of her as she rounds Cape Horn.

Cape Horn is notorious for strong winds, big waves, strong currents and icebergs. But despite admitting to being a “little bit on edge” because of the strong winds and cold, the Australian teenager is in good spirits and enjoying the challenging conditions. “The cabin temp has been sitting on 4C. The wind chill outside is really quite something. Handling wet lines on deck is just downright painful, but mostly I’m staying toasty warm in all my layers,” she said.

Jessica Watson is expected to reach Cape Horn early next week. If Jessica completes the trip around the world, she will become the youngest solo yachtsman to circumnavigate the globe.

More news about Jessica Watson:
Jessica Watson Sailing for a Record?
Jessica Watson Gets a Beating Sailing to Sydney
Jessica Watson Warned to Call off Sailing Trip

Geoff Holt

Disabled Sailor Geoff Holt by OCVision

Record-breaking disabled sailor Geoff Holt is starting on his 2,700 mile journey to cross the Atlantic. Returning to the scene of the accident that paralysed him 25 years ago, Geoff is sailing across some of the most hostile waters in the world on his 60 foot catamaran sailboat Impossible Dream. If he makes it, he will be the first quadriplegic sailor to make the journey, unassisted in every aspect of the sailing.

This is not Geoff Holt’s first time in the spotlight. In 2007, Geoff sailed his way into the record books when he completed his Personal Everest when he became the first disabled yachtsman to sail single-handed around Great Britain.

Geoff says that this will be his first time he will be away from his wife Elaine and 7 year old son Tim at Christmas time, but he will not be spending it alone as whilst Geoff is a vastly experienced yachtsman he does need someone to help with his personal care. New Zealand born, Susana Scott who has specialist skills in caring for those with a high-level disability will provide care for Geoff, but will have no input into the sailing.

Geoff explains why this is such a personal challenge, ‘I’ve been living off the memories. I now want to relive the experience. It seems right to sail back to Cane Garden Bay in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands as this is where I had my accident. I will be returning as a quadriplegic yachtsman and it is a personal challenge where I feel I will be closing the circle from having my accident and returning again as a yachtsman.’

Read an interview with Geoff Holt here: Geoff Holt Interview


Laura Dekker

14 Girl Not Sailing Around the World, Yet

Netherlands — A Dutch court has ruled that 14-year-old Laura Dekker is not yet experienced enough to set off on a record-breaking sailing trip around the world alone.

Judges at Utrecht District Court also placed Laura Dekker under the guardianship of child protection authorities until next July.

The ruling on Friday means Laura can keep living with her father but her parents must consult child protection authorities about all major decisions in her life and she cannot begin her planned solo trip.

Judges said plans to ensure Laura’s safety on the voyage were insufficient for them to let her set sail.

After a closed court hearing on Monday, Laura Dekker said she plans to wait until next May, after school ends, to embark on the voyage.


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16-year-old Jessica Watson will begin her bid to become the youngest round-the-world solo sailor on Sunday, her spokesman said, defying calls to cancel the trip after she crashed on a test voyage.

Jessica Watson will sail out of Sydney Harbour in her bright pink yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady, early on Sunday after days of strong winds abated, spokesman Andrew Fraser said on Saturday.

“We were always hoping we could get her away on the weekend, and it has all fallen into place,” Fraser said.

“She’s absolutely 100 percent happy with the preparation and the boat and the conditions are looking good. Her head space is really good.”

Watson will be given a private send-off by family and friends for the well-publicised trip, but crowds of onlookers are expected to gather along the harbour as she heads for the high seas.

The teenage adventurer hit the headlines last month when she crashed into a 63,000-tonne cargo ship just hours into a dummy run after apparently dozing off, snapping her yacht’s mast and damaging its rigging and hull.

Marine safety experts said she was lucky to have stayed afloat and reported seeing childish doodles on her navigation charts, prompting calls from senior officials for her to abandon the attempt.

“There are people out there who I suppose have their doubts, and rightly so because it’s a big, scary and possibly dangerous thing, but I am not here without confidence,” Watson said later.

Watson hopes to complete the hazardous 23,000 nautical mile journey alone and unaided, bettering fellow Australian Jesse Martin who finished the feat aged 18 in 1999.

In August, Britain’s Mike Perham, 17, became the youngest person to sail round the world but rudder problems and other hitches forced him to pull into port three times.

Watson will sleep in 20-minute bursts and has had a new, powerful alarm fitted on her boat to stop any recurrences of her September accident.

Her bid follows a ruling by a Dutch court in August that 13-year-old Laura Dekkers could not embark on a solo round-the-world voyage and should be placed in the care of social services.

In February, 72-year-old Jure Sterk went missing off the Australian coast after setting sail from New Zealand in October 2007 in his yacht, Lunatic, on a bid to become the world’s oldest non-stop circumnavigator.

Jessica Watson‘s route will take her north from Sydney to the equator above New Zealand, around South America’s treacherous Cape Horn and back via the Southern Atlantic and the Cape of Good Hope.

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Jessica Watson

Jessica Watson

Jessica Watson’s Gets a Beating Sailing to Sydney

16 year old sailor Jessica Watson’s trial voyage to Sydney is giving her a taste of the massive challenge she’ll face on her bid to sail single-handed around the world solo. The young girl has battled three-metre waves on her shakedown run from Queensland’s Gold Coast to Sydney after having abandoned an earlier attempt last month when her yacht Ella’s Pink Lady collided with a cargo ship. The Australian teenager set sail, for her trial run, on her second attempt at daybreak last Thursday and expects to reach Sydney on Monday.

Jessica plans to sail around the world in a bid to become the youngest sailor to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe. Jessica Watson’s mum, Julie Watson, updated her website last night to report that her daughter had been coping with strong southerlies and a heavy swell. “Jess called in this evening to say that she has 23 knots of southerlies and has three-metre steep seas,” Ms Watson said. “She sounds good and has been busy checking her equipment and systems.” Jessica cooked her own breakfast yesterday morning then lived on sandwiches, honeycomb and apples for the rest of the day.

Meanwhile, her parents remain totally committed to their daughter’s cause even after a damning Maritime Safety Queensland report into Jessica Watson’s collision with the 63,000-tonne vessel off North Stradbroke Island.

The report said Jessica had kept “irregular latitude and longitude entries” in her log, had no course plots nor a fatigue management plan. It also said she most likely “dozed off” and that she had not activated an alarm device which would have warned her of the approaching ship.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh even weighed into the debate. “This is a very high-risk venture. Frankly, it’s one that I would be reconsidering, but ultimately it’s a decision for them (the family),” she said after the report’s release.

Jessica’s spokesman Andrew Fraser says believes the tide of support has turned in her favour. Mr Fraser said yesterday the 16-year-old has been flooded with encouraging messages on her internet blog. “We’re getting 114,000 hits a day on the website and I’d say 95 per cent of the blogs and emails are messages of support. “She’s very brave and mature for a 16-year-old. With everything that’s happened, it has made her even more resilient. “She’s had 30 knot winds and two-and-a-half metre swells,” Mr Fraser said. “It’s nothing compared to what she’s going to get in the Southern Ocean but it’s a good test for the boat, the rigging and Jess’s experience.”

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Jessica Watson on her Boat

Jessica Watson on her Boat

Jessica Watson Warned to Call off Sailing Trip

Jessica Watson, the 16 year old girl aiming to break a world record as the youngest to sail solo around the world, has reportedly been advised to cancel the trip by authorities in Australia. The Courier Mail revealed an alarming report this week, assessing Jessica Watson’s skills, or lack thereof, following the collision between her yacht and a bulk carrier during her test sail. The report states the Australian teenager most probably dozed off before her vessel hit and was dragged alongside the 63,000-ton cargo ship, didn’t activate a device to warn her of a potential collision, could not plot her journey, didn’t have a fatigue management plan, and had irregular latitude and longitude entries in her log book.

Acting Premier Paul Lucas last night said Jessica Watson should abandon her attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world. “I’ll be honest. On this evidence I don’t think she’s ready to do this,” Mr Lucas told the CM. “We all admire this young woman’s spirit, but sailing solo around the world is a demanding and dangerous venture. It’s not a task anyone young or old should undertake lightly.”

Jessica Watson plans to set sail on her voyage around the world in October if repairs to her sailboat Ella’s Pink Lady are completed in time.

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