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USA Wins Two Gold Medals in Paralympic Classes; Medal Races Tomorrow
Weymouth, England (September 18, 2009) – The strong and shifty gusts in Weymouth didn’t deter two US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) teams from winning gold medals today in the Paralympic classes at Sail for Gold, the final ISAF Sailing World Cup event, in Weymouth England. It only took one race for Scott Whitman (Brick, N.J.) and Julia Dorsett (Westchester, Pa./Boca Raton, Fla.) to clinch the gold in the doublehanded SKUD-18 class, but they sailed the second race and won that too. The Sonar team of Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Hugh Freund (So. Freeport, Me.) and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Marblehead, Mass.) also won a gold medal in the Sonar class after two tough races today and a successful week of bullets.
Today was the final day of racing for the three Paralympic classes and the final day of fleet racing before tomorrow’s Medal Races for nine out of 10 Olympic classes. For the Women’s Match Racing event in the new Elliott 6m, sailors competed in the eliminative quarter finals and semi finals today. Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) and crew Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.) and Alice Manard (Charleston, S.C.) won the quarter finals 3-0 but lost to the Netherland’s Renne Groeneveld 3-1 in the semifinals. They will race against France’s Claire LeRoy in tomorrow’s Petit-Finals. USSTAG’s Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) finished first and second today, pushing him to third overall going into tomorrow’s Medal Races. Olympic Windsurfer Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.) also advanced to the Medal Races in the Men’s RS:X.
Winning a gold medal in the SKUD-18 class felt “amazing,” said skipper Whitman after racing. “I love it.” His crew, Dorsett, said they succeeded in keeping the boat moving in the big wind, which she says keeps the sailing “exciting.” She added: “These conditions are really similar to what we train in in Newport, R.I., so we’re comfortable. It was nice there weren’t any big waves; it was nice and flat.”
“We’re going to hopefully keep riding the wave for the next three years [leading up to the 2012 Paralympic Games],” said Dorsett.
For Doerr’s Sonar team, their two races were hard-fought today, and early setbacks caused them to work hard to advance in the fleet to secure a medal overall. “We put ourselves in a position where we had to work hard to get back in the middle of the fleet in the last race,” said Doerr. “We were pretty confident we could outmaneuver them and have better boat speed, which is what happened.”
“We felt relief coming over the finish line, knowing we were six or better,” said bowman McKinnon-Tucker, who won a gold medal in the SKUD-18 class at the 2008 Paralympic Games. “We had two points to spare.”
This is only the second event the Sonar team has competed in together, and they credit their success with clear communication, teamwork and speed. Looking ahead to 2012, they have confidence in their team, but McKinnon-Tucker says they have a lot of work to do. “We can’t take anything for granted… The game just gets harder and harder as we get closer and closer to the Games.”
Whitman and Dorsett also won the ISAF Sailing World Cup standings in the SKUD-18 after winning gold medals at two ISAF World Cup Events: US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Miami OCR and Sail for Gold. Rick’s team finished second in the ISAF Sailing World Cup standings in the Sonar.
Held at the venue of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Weymouth/Portland, England, Sail for Gold is the seventh and final stop of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 series.
For more USSTAG news, bios and racing photos from Sail for Gold, please visit the team web site, http://sailingteams.ussailing.org. For complete results and real-time racing commentary, please visit the event web site: http://www.sailracer.co.uk/events/event-v2.asp?eventid=18401
About 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 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, Sperry Top-Sider, LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube, Bow Down Training, and New England Ropes. 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.