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Contact: Marni Lane, US SAILING, 617.671.8332 , MarniLane@USSAILING.org
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics Members Tunnicliffe and McNay/Biehl Win Gold, Silver Medals at Sail Melbourne
[Editors: A high-resolution image of the three medalists together is available upon request.]
Portsmouth, R.I. (December 21, 2008) – US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics members Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) and Stu McNay (Lincoln, Mass.)/Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) won a gold and silver medal, respectively, at the Sail Melbourne Regatta today, the first of seven events in the inaugural International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup series. The event brought together 2008 Olympic stars and 2012 hopefuls, as they kicked off the quadrennium with six days of elite competition. Hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne and sailed on Port Phillip Bay, the event was held from December 16 to December 21.
More Gold for Tunnicliffe
Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Tunnicliffe again dominated the 16-boat Laser Radial women’s fleet, in all types of breeze this week. She consistently led the scoreboard with single-digit finishes all week, including four bullets in a row, which cushioned her substantial lead ahead of silver medalist Gabrielle King (AUS) and bronze medalist Andrea Brewster (GBR). She finished the event with a gold medal, earning 20 points for her Sailing World Cup series score.
“My main goals for this event were to work on my fitness, work on my starts, and get a grip again on long course tactics,” said Tunnicliffe, who is ranked number one in the world in the Laser Radial class. Thanks to shorter races, Tunnicliffe was grateful to “work hard for the entire beats, rather than having to conserve my energy as I work to get back into shape,” she said.
After returning home from China this summer, Tunnicliffe switched gears and competed in a triathlon and then spent the fall match racing across the globe. While Sail Melbourne was her first major regatta in the Radial since the 2008 Olympic Games, she proved she was able to jump back into the Olympic class boat with ease. Tunnicliffe is excited to start training and competing for the 2012 Olympic Games in the Laser Radial class.
“I'm very happy with where I'm at, at the beginning of the quad,” said Tunnicliffe. “I'm happy with how [this] event ended. I have a lot to work on now, and I'm glad that I got this event in before US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR next month.”
Tunnicliffe was selected as US SAILING’s 2008 SportsWoman of the Year and is on the short list for US SAILING’s Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award for her outstanding achievement and performance in 2008. She was also nominated to the short list of ISAF’s 2008 World Sailor of the Year awards.
McNay/Biehl Finish Strong With Silver
In the Men’s 470 class, Olympians Stu McNay and Graham Biehl won a silver medal in a tight eight-boat fleet, which was their first podium finish in their post-Olympic Games season. They consistently trailed fleet leaders Matthew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) with single-digit finishes throughout the week. (Page won an Olympic gold medal in 2008 with skipper Nathan Wilmot.) McNay and Biehl finished nine points ahead of third place Sam Kivell and Max Taylor (AUS). While their top rivals on the leader board enjoyed sailing on their home waters, McNay and Biehl offered tight competition in borrowed equipment. They won two races and finished second in five races out of eleven total races. Their worst, throw-out score was only a five.
McNay and Biehl were thrilled with their results: “We’ve had a great time down here,” Biehl told ISAF. “We’ll definitely be back again next year. The conditions really kept us on our toes and we managed to get some great sailing in.”
Conditions on Port Phillip Bay changed throughout the week: A cold front passed at the beginning of the event, followed by small rain showers and puffy conditions before the first race. The second day brought heavy rain in the morning and sun in the afternoon, with the breeze blowing 6-8 knots. By the fourth day, Port Phillip Bay boasted strong wind (up to 22 knots) and big waves, which made for more exciting sailing conditions. By the end of the event, sailors enjoyed a sea breeze in the high teens, which later turned shifty on the final day of racing.
About the ISAF Sailing World Cup
The second stop in the prestigious ISAF Sailing World Cup series is US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Miami OCR from January 25 to 31, 2009. Already a long-time ISAF Grade 1, world-ranking event, as well as a US SAILING Team AlphaGraphics qualifier, US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR features elite-level competition in the classes selected for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Mandatory, online registration is available until January 19 at www.RolexMiamiOCR.org.
The ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 series consists of the following seven events:
16-21 December 2008 - Sail Melbourne The Asia Pacific Regatta, Melbourne, Australia
25-31 January 2009 – US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, Florida, USA
4-10 April 2009 - Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma, Spain
18-24 April 2009 - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, France
27-31 May 2009 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands
20-28 June 2009 - Kieler Woche, Kiel, Germany
14-19 Sept 2009 - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, Weymouth, Great Britain
Sailors are able to accrue points at each of the seven ISAF Sailing World Cup events to earn an overall Series Score. A first place win translates into 20 points, a second place earns 19 points and so on. (Twentieth place earns one point.) The skipper/crew with the highest Series Score at the end of the inaugural season wins the ISAF Sailing World Cup Trophy.
Find out more about the ISAF Sailing World Cup, including more on the seven events, overall standings, the scoring system and the Notice of Series at www.sailing.org/isafsailingworldcup.
About the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and US SAILING
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. US SAILING supports these elite athletes with funding, coaching and training. The title sponsor of the team is AlphaGraphics; other sponsors include Rolex, LaserPerformance, Harken and Team McLube. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING provides leadership for the sport of sailing in the United States. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country. For more information about US SAILING, please visit: ussailing.org. For more information about the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, please visit: olympics.ussailing.org.