FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Marlieke de Lange Eaton, MarliekeEaton@ussailing.org, 401-441-3948
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics Member Anna Tunnicliffe Wins Gold
at French Olympic Sailing Week in Hyères, France
Portsmouth, R.I. (April 24, 2009) - US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) has done it again: today, she won another gold medal at a major international regatta in the Laser Radial. This time around, Tunnicliffe showed her dominance in Hyères, France, site of French Olympic Sailing Week - the fourth event on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist has now won her third ISAF Sailing World Cup event.
Tunnicliffe won the event in today's medal race after a slow start in the regatta. Throughout most of the week, Tunnicliffe had been gaining ground on the leaders and today she showed why she's the world's top Laser Radial sailor with a decisive performance when it mattered most. Going into today's medal race, Tunnicliffe was in second place and needed to sustain her momentum of the last few days and finish ahead of fleet leader Veronika Fenclova (CZE) to take the top spot at today's medal ceremony. In the end, Tunnicliffe crossed the finish line in third place, while Fenclova finished sixth.
"It was a mentally draining week but I was able to stay focused 100 percent," said Tunnicliffe after today's medal ceremony. On what helped her get the edge on the water today, Anna said: "I wanted to win. I wanted to win this regatta even before getting to France. I felt like I was in good shape going on the water today and all I needed to do was sail my own race and keep one boat between me and Veronika (Fenclova)."
Tunnicliffe will now head back home to Plantation, Fla., for a bit of rest and to do some match racing. Next month, she will go to Medemblik, The Netherlands, for the next stop on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit.
Stuart McNay (Newton, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) - sailing in the highly competitive74-boat men's 470 fleet - were ranked number one in the ISAF Sailing World Cup standings going into the regatta. With a fourth consecutive top ten finish in an ISAF World Cup event - they finished in 9th place overall today after earning 8th place in the medal race - it looks like they will retain their top spot in the rankings, while other countries' teams are inching closer.
USSTAG members came very close to qualifying for today's medal race in two other classes. Molly Carapiet (Belvedere, Calif.) and Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.) finished in 12th place overall in the women's 470 class, missing the cut-off for the medal race by just two spots. The team sailed a strong regatta (their best finish at a regatta in Europe since the busy European spring/summer season started), twice finishing a race in the top three of the 33-boat fleet. USSTAG member Bryan Boyd (Annapolis, Md.), sailing in the Finn class, also came very close to qualifying for the medal race, finishing in 13th place overall in the 46-boat fleet. This was Boyd's second strong finish at such a highly competitive event (he finished 11th at the Princess Sofia Trophy - also an ISAF World Cup event - in Palma, Spain, earlier this month).
In the very large Laser fleet (139 boats), USSTAG members Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla.) and Clay Johnson (Tom's River, N.J.) each had a rough start in the regatta but fought hard to catch up. Johnson pulled off three race wins and Funk one, but it wasn't enough to make the cut-off for the gold fleet. Funk finished 49th overall and Johnson finished 52nd overall.
In total, ten USSTAG members competed in French Olympic Sailing Week. In the men's RS:X fleet, 2008 Olympian Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.) finished 31 out 86. In the women's RS;X fleet, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) finished 28 out of 34. In addition to the USSTAG members, two other Americans competed in the regatta: Andrew McDonald and Brian Fatih finished fourth in the six-boat Star class.
French Olympic Sailing Week is the fourth stop on the inaugural International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 circuit, bringing together the world’s top Olympic and Paralympic class competitors. French Olympic Sailing Week is also part of a busy and competitive summer season in Europe for members of the USSTAG and their international competitors. Next up is the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, The Netherlands, which starts May 27, 2009. It is the fifth event in the ISAF Sailing World Cup.
For more information about the 2009 USSTAG, including bios and photos, please visit the new team web site, http://sailingteams.ussailing.org. For complete results from French Olympic Sailing Week, please visit the event web site at http://sof.ffvoile.net, or ISAF's web site, www.sailing.org.
About the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and US SAILING
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 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, Atlantis WeatherGear, LaserPerformance, Harken and Team McLube. 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.