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USSTAG Wins Star, Women’s 470 Races at Sail for Gold

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Contact: Marni Lane, marnilane@ussailing.org, 617-671-8332

USSTAG Wins Bullets in Star, Women’s 470 Classes; Five Teams Head to Medal Races Tomorrow at Sail for Gold

Weymouth, England (August 13, 2010) –  It was an exciting day for many classes at Skandia Sail for Gold, being 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. Four US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) teams are in the top ten of their respective classes and have qualified for tomorrow’s double point Medal Races, and USSTAG’s Women’s Match Racing team will compete for a bronze medal in the petit finals. 

Rick Doerr2008 Paralympic skipper Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.) and his crew, Brad Kendell (Tampa, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Me.), posted a 3, 4 today to finish the week in sixth place out of 10 boats. They lost valuable ground at winning a medal yesterday when they lost a protest and were disqualified from race eight.  While disappointed, they chalked it up as a learning experience and went on to sail two solid races today, showcasing their downwind speed and tactics. Sail for Gold was their first time racing together as a team since US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR in January, so this week also served as much-needed training against a tough international fleet.

“We’re happy we finished strong on the last day. We started to show the things we’re capable of,” said Doerr. “We accomplished a lot of our goals on the water, which was important. “

“Rick, Brad and Hugh posted very strong finishes today in extremely tricky and challenging conditions,” said Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.), the coach of the USSTAG’s Paralympic classes. “One strength of this team is their communication with each other and their ability to learn from mistakes and not make the same one again. They are back on track as we look forward to team qualifiers later this year.”

John RufIn the 2.4mR, John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.), the current Open World Champion and 2008 Paralympic Bronze Medalist, had a tough week after suffering a DNS because of steering failure, and then an OCS yesterday. His single digit scores in the 21-boat fleet weren’t enough to make him a medal contender. 

It was a true nail-biter on the Women’s Match Racing course today for the best-of-three, eliminative quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. USSTAG’s Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), edged out GBR’s Lucy MacGregor’s team, 3-2, in a very tight quarter finals. In the tie-breaker, Team Tunnicliffe cleared a penalty and retrieved the lead on the run, which they held to the finish. The team later lost to Australia’s Nicky Souter 3-0 in a disappointing semifinals. They will square off against The Netherland’s Renee Groeneveld in tomorrow's petit-finals for a chance at the bronze medal.

Star sailors Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.) and Brad Nichol (Miami Beach, Fla.) overcame equipment failures and breakdowns from earlier this week to finish strong today with a four and a hard-fought bullet in the last race to qualify for the medal race. The depth of the Star fleet at Sail for Gold is remarkable – there are nine Star World Champions and 12 Olympic medalists among the 36 boats -- making for challenging racing and many position changes throughout the week.

“It has been a difficult week racing against one of the most talented fleets ever,” said Nichol. “We struggled to find our groove early in the week but were psyched to finish strong today.”

Campbell, who was the 2008 Olympic representative in the Laser and switched to the Star last year, described racing this week as a risk-taking experience: "We had to sail well to extend our regatta into the medal round, so I decided to apply a little more risk to the equation. We sent it left in the first race and rounded in a regatta-best third,” he said. 

“With rain looming on the horizon in the final race, we started at the boat and tacked for the clouds hoping that we could win the race,” continued Campbell. “Luckily things fell our way today, and I'd like to think it has something to do with our persistence through the series. We've stuck to our schedule, getting out early and working with Coach Mark Ivey on the data points, and until today it really hasn't produced spectacular results. I had confidence that we've been doing the right things, but luck hasn't been on our side with the breakdowns and some bad breaks. Sticking to our plan ensured we gave ourselves a chance to comeback today. By winning the day we succeeded in extending our series. Nothing to lose tomorrow!”

USSTAG’s Erin Maxwell (Norwalk/Stonington, Conn.) and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar’s (New York, NY), the 2008 World Champions in the Women’s 470, won their third race in two days, positioning themselves in second place heading into tomorrow’s Medal Races. They found yesterday and today’s racing to be tricky, thanks to 20- to 30-degree shifts on the windward legs, so it was difficult to know where to position themselves compared to the other boats in the fleet. 

“I think we did a good job never taking too much leverage, and we stayed close enough to the competition to minimize risk,” said Maxwell of their tactical strengths. “You had to be in a good position, so whichever way the wind went, you wouldn’t suffer too much of a loss.”

“The venue is nice because it’s so shifty and that really plays to our strengths,” she added, comparing this week to college sailing on the Charles River in Boston, where both Maxwell and Kinsolving Farrar have plenty of experience. “Sailing in Weymouth is like college sailing, turbo charged,” agreed Kinsolving Farrar.

When asked what they anticipate for tomorrow, Maxwell said, “The three boats in back of us are all really good teams. One could have a great race and beat us.”

In the Men’s 470, 2008 Olympians Stu McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) posted a 12, 4 today to advance to the Medal Race tomorrow in sixth place. 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) heads into the Medal Races in seventh place after posting a 29, 3 today.
 
The seventh and final event of the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup, Sail for Gold has been the most important event of the summer for 2012 hopefuls, because athletes have been able to get crucial first-hand experience at the venue of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Regattas. At the end of this event, in addition to the awards for the regatta, ISAF will award medals for the overall Sailing World Cup standings. Sailors have accumulated points at each World Cup event, which count toward their final standings in each class.

For complete results, please visit Sail for Gold web site:
http://www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk/news/_992/latest_results

To view Fried Elliott’s photos from Sail for Gold, please visit: http://photos.friedbits.com/2010skandiasailforgold

To watch today’s exclusive interviews with team members, please visit the USSTAG microsite at: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/Events/World_Cup/SFG2010.htm

To get up-to-the-minute racing news, please follow the teams on Facebook and Twitter. 

Schedule
Saturday, August 14 – Racing day 6, Medals decided in Olympic classes (no warning signal after 1530)

USSTAG Reports and Blogs:
Team Tunnicliffe: www.teamtunnicliffe.com
Zach Railey: http://www.zach2012.com/
Erik Storck/Trevor Moore: http://storckmooresailing.com/
Peet Must/Carl Horrocks: http://www.barnegatbay49er.com/
Rob Crane: http://robcraneracing.com/Blog/Blog.html
Clay Johnson: http://www.claysails.com/
Andrew Campbell/Brad Nichol: http://campbellnichol2012.blogspot.com/
Stu McNay/Graham Biehl: http://www.teammb.org/
Amanda Clark/Sarah Chin: http://www.teamgosail.org/
Erin Maxwell/Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar: http://www.470teamusa.com/wordpresstesting/
Rick Doerr/Brad Kendell/Hugh Freund: http://teamusa674.com/
Ben Barger: http://www.benbarger.com/
Farrah Hall: http://www.farrahhall.com/

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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