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USSTAG’s Whitman/Dorsett Win Silver at IFDS World Championship
Medemblik, The Netherlands (July 14, 2010) – US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) members Scott Whitman (Brick, N.J.) and Julia Dorsett (West Chester Pa./Boca Raton, Fla.) scored a silver medal in the 12-boat SKUD-18 fleet at the 2010 IFDS World Championship, held in Medemblik, The Netherlands, behind GBR’s Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell. Their final position was especially important because they also qualified the United States in the SKUD-18 class for the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Whitman and Dorsett sailed a consistently strong regatta, finishing first or second in all but two races this week. Light air was the theme of the week, except for today when it was blowing 20-30 knots. “We train in all kinds of situations, so we handled the light air really well and then did the same when the breeze picked up,” said Dorsett. “It was exciting to finally get some breeze in the afternoon today. The highlight today was our first reach at the windward mark when we were motoring.”
“Overall, we’re really happy with our performance,” said Dorsett. “We came to this Worlds looking to check our boat speed and see how we’re doing compared to the other countries. Our speed was really good.”
"Scott and Julia sailed a very solid series from start to finish,” said Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.), the coach of the USSTAG’s Paralympic classes. “In at least three races, in which they finished second, they led around the race course and something out of their control happened to alter the results. The extensive team training camps they did with other USSTAG SKUD sailors had an impact on their speed and boat control. They remain on track as major players on the international scene."
Even though there was more pressure on the teams to perform well at this event, which also served as the country qualifier for the 2012 Games, Dorsett and Whitman stayed calm and collected throughout the week. “It’s huge,” Dorsett commented on the accomplishment. “We haven’t done that before. It’s very exciting that we came through for our country.
“We knew if we sailed the way we normally sail and do what we do best, everything would work out ok,” she explained. “We didn’t want to put added pressure on ourselves, and we felt confident we could do it.”
USSTAG sailors faced tough competition in the other two classes: 2008 Paralympian Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.) and his crew, Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Me.) and Bryan Tabler (Winter Park, Fla.), finished 12th out of 19 Sonars, and Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.) finished 15th among 47 boats in the 2.4mR. The next opportunity to qualify as a country in the 2.4 mR and Sonar classes will be at the 2011 IFDS World Championship.
“The overall performance of the team at the IFDS Worlds was disappointing as we had hoped to qualify the USA in all three disciplines,” said Alison. “Our silver in the SKUD guarantees us a spot in Weymouth, but we have some work to do in the Sonar and 2.4mR. Our next big event is Sail for Gold in Weymouth in three weeks, where our sailors will work hard to post some better results.”
Please visit the USSTAG web site for action photos from the IFDS World Championship. For complete results, please visit the event web site: http://ifdsworlds2010.com. For the latest USSTAG news and updates, please follow the team on Facebook and Twitter.
USSTAG is made up of the United States’ top athletes in each of the 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes who train together with the common goals of winning medals at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The next major event for the team is Sail for Gold, the seventh and final ISAF Sailing World Cup event in the 2009-2010 series, which is scheduled for August 8-14 in Weymouth/Portland, England, the venue of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
About the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics
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 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, Group Experiential Learning and Trinity Yachts. 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 Olympic Sailing Program and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, please visit: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.
Photo credit: Sander van der Borch