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Preview to Sail Melbourne

First Stop on the ISAF Sailing World Cup Series

Contact: Dana Paxton, Communications Director, 401-683-0800, danapaxton@ussailing.org

Melbourne, Australia (December 13, 2010) -- While the Northern Hemisphere is gripped in icy temperatures and thoughts of Holiday shopping, many of the world’s Olympic hopefuls are in Melbourne, Australia for the first stop on the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2010-2011 series. From December 13-18, a small, but focused group of athletes from US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) will compete at Sail Melbourne: Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) in the Finn; 2008 Olympians Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) in the Men’s 470; Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (North Pomfret, Vt.) in the 49er; Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J.) in the Laser; Adam Roberts and Nick Martin (both San Diego, Calif.) in the Men’s 470; along with US Sailing Development Team member Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) in the Laser Radial. Daily racing in  is scheduled to start on Monday, December 13, with Medal Racing on Saturday, December 18. Cheer on the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics on Facebook and Twitter, or follow the regatta live http://www.sailmelbourne.com.au.

“Sail Melbourne happens to fit into our schedule perfectly,” said Graham Biehl, who ended the 2009-2010 World Cup season in fourth position overall. “We had already planned to do some training in Perth and took the opportunity while in Australia to compete in one of the World Cup events. Sail Melbourne is always a good event to kick the season off with. On top of already being in the country, we've always believed that by being professional athletes, it is necessary to do the events that mean the most, and we are big supporters of the ISAF World Cup Series.”

McNay and Biehl won silver at 2009’s Sail Melbourne and are looking to start the new season in top form. “We will be focusing on having a well-rounded event with minimal mistakes about our tactics, and our choice in settings. With the start of the 2011 season so near it’s good to get back in the swing of things by starting out with simple tasks.”

Much like their teammates, Erik Storck and Trevor Moore have clearly defined goals in the Olympic 49er. “We are excited to get an early jump on the Sailing World Cup competition here in Melbourne,” said Storck, who along with his parents and siblings was named Scuttlebutt’s 2010 Sailing Family of the Year. “The 22-boat fleet, while lower in number than most World Cup events, is deep in competition. We are planning to focus on our in-boat communication and decision making, which we made some progress on in the Perth International Regatta last month. We will also continue to improve upon our maneuvers, specifically maintaining full speed into marks and getting back up to speed as quickly as possible again.”

Storck and Moore competed in four of the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup events, with a season-high result of 11th at US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR.

Zach Railey, who finished the 2009-2010 ISAF SW Sailing World Cup season in fifth place overall in the Finn, is looking toward Sail Melbourne’s competition to adjust and begin the new season. “The competition will be very good at Sail Melbourne with a lot of the top-20 ranked sailors attending the event,” he said. “We are using this event to get some racing under my belt as I have not raced against the international sailors since the World Championship in September. We can see what improvements we need to make looking forward and what progress we have made so far this winter.”

Like her singlehanded team mate, Sarah Lihan is focused on the competition in Melbourne where the entry list consists of the current #1 ranked Radial (Marit Bouwmeester, NED) and several World and European Champions. “Sail Melbourne is simultaneously the kickoff of the 2011 World Cup Series and the conclusion of my tour down under,” said Lihan. “Beginning with the PIR (Perth International Regatta) in Fremantle, I have spent November and December in Australia training and racing during what would otherwise be a bit of an off season in the States.  By the end I will have sailed in three events (PIR, SIRS, and Sail Melbourne) and completed several weeks training with a variety of international sailors.”

Sailors 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. The next stop on the ISAF Sailing World Cup is US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR, scheduled for January 23-29, in Miami, Fla.

The upcoming events in the ISAF Sailing World Cup are:

2-9 Apr 11  Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma de Majorca, ESP
22-29 Apr 11  Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, FRA
24-29 May 11  Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, NED
5-11 Jun 11  Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta, Weymouth & Portland, GBR
18-26 Jun 11  Kieler Woche, Kiel, GER

Find out more about the ISAF Sailing World Cup, overall standings, the scoring system and the Notice of Series at www.sailing.org/isafsailingworldcup.

Follow the athletes:
Follow Erik Storck/Trevor Moore http://www.storckmooresailing.com/
Follow Zach Railey http://www.zachrailey.com/
Follow Stuart McNay/Graham Biehl http://blog.teammb.org/
Follow Clay Johnson http://www.claysails.com/
Follow Adam Roberts/Nick Martin http://www.teamrobertsmartin.com/blog/post
Follow Sarah Lihan http://lihansailing.com/news/

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.

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