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Contact: Marni Lane, 617.671.8332 , MarniLane@USSAILING.org  

USSTAG Members Win Three Silver Medals at Sail Melbourne

Portsmouth, R.I. (December 19, 2009) – Silver rules down under today, as US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) members kicked off the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) 2009-2010 Sailing World Cup series by winning three silver medals: Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) in the Laser Radial, Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J.) in the Laser, and Stu McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) in the Men’s 470.

More than 350 Olympic and Paralympic class sailors from 29 countries competed this week in the first event of the series. Hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club, the event was held December 14-19, 2009. Competitors were greeted with ideal sailing conditions - a south-easterly wind between 12 and 15 knots - for the final day of racing today, after facing a week of unpredictable weather.

“I am very proud of our sailors who traveled to Melbourne and got the USSTAG off to a great start to the ISAF Sailing World Cup season,” said High Performance Director Kenneth Andreasen (Tampa, Fla.). “Winning three silver medals is great proof that all our hard work over the winter is paying off. We will keep training hard and continue to get even better.”

It was déjà vu for McNay and Biehl, who, for the second year in a row at Sail Melbourne, finished second to 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS). While the Australian team won every race this week in a 17-boat fleet, McNay and Biehl sailed a consistently strong series, solidified by a second place finish in today’s medal race.

“Mat and Mal sailed an excellent regatta, they were very quick upwind all week and incredibly hard to get around,” said McNay. “The medal race was quite good for us, the start line was short, which was a challenge, but our second place was a good way to cap off a great week of sailing.”

Railey consistently led the 18-boat Laser Radial fleet throughout the week, but going into the medal race, only one point separated her from Marit Mouwmeester (NED). Railey described the medal race as “winner takes all,” and Mouwmeester edged Railey, grabbing the overall lead. The 2006 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year won two ISAF Sailing World Cup events in 2009, Kieler Woche in Kiel, Germany, and Princess Sofia in Palma, Spain.

“My goal at Sail Melbourne was to see where I was in my physical state and what I had to work on,” said Railey, who just finished final exams at the University of South Florida before hopping on a plane to Australia, arriving only a day prior to the event. “I just wanted to evaluate where I was in my current condition. Given that, I have learned what I need to work on.”

In the 43-boat-strong Laser class, Johnson seized his first podium finish at an ISAF Sailing World Cup event today, finishing second to Canadian Michael Leigh by a mere two net points. The Laser up-and-comer grabbed two bullets and a second place this week, which kept him in the first or second position throughout the event. Leigh finished fourth to his seventh in the medal race, which secured Leigh’s win.

“Going into the event, my goal was to make the medal race and hopefully finish in the top five, so a podium finish exceeded my expectations,” said Johnson, who also won a bronze medal at the 2009 Laser North American Championship. “I've been training hard over the past few months so it feels rewarding to see all of my work pay off.”

“Coming to Melbourne was a pretty big part of my 2010 schedule,” he added. “This regatta was the first leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, so getting off to a good start was awesome. The end goal of my campaign is heading into the Olympics with a chance to medal. I think that coming to international regattas like this and doing well is important so that you know - and your competitors know - that you can finish at the top of the fleet. Doing well in Melbourne was a big step for 2010.”

Other USSTAG sailors had strong results this week: The San Diego, Calif., team of Adam Roberts and Nick Martin finished sixth in the Men’s 470, their best result at an ISAF Sailing World Cup event. Derick Vranizan (Shoreline, Wash.), a member of the US Sailing Team – Under 23, finished 25th in the Laser class.

For complete results from Sail Melbourne, please visit the event web site: http://www.sailmelbourne.com.au/

To view pictures of USSTAG athletes in action, please visit: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/Multimedia/Sail_Melbourne_2009.htm

For more USSTAG bios, news, and Meet the Team video interviews, please visit the US Sailing Teams web site at http://sailingteams.ussailingorg/. Get the latest news and updates by becoming a fan of the team on Facebook and following them on Twitter.


About US SAILING and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top 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 Watch USA, Atlantis WeatherGear, Sperry Top-Sider, LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube, Bow Down Training, New England Ropes and Group Experiential Learning. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 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: www.ussailing.org. For more information about the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, please visit: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.

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