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

Team USA Shows Strength on First Day of Racing at Sail for Gold

Weymouth, England (August 9, 2010) -- The first day of racing was smooth sailing at Skandia Sail for Gold, the final ISAF Sailing World Cup event of the 2009-2010 series. Held at the venue of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Regattas in the towns of Weymouth and Portland, England, Sail for Gold has attracted more than  975 sailors from 57 countries, including 50 members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and  US Sailing Development Team (USSDT) who are competing in all 10 Olympic classes and two Paralympic classes.

The conditions cooperated on the first day of racing, unlike previous Sailing World Cup events this year. Most fleets were able to start on time this morning at 10 a.m. in a Southwesterly 10-12 knot breeze. The Finns and Stars, whose courses were the furthest from shore, waited on shore for an hour as the wind tried to settle in.  Every class was able to finish two races without a hitch before the weather turned progressively cold and windy by mid-afternoon.
 
Team USA kicked off the first day with some solid scores across the fleets:

Both Women’s Match Racing teams – Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.)/Molly Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.)/Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) and Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.)/Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.)/Genny Tulloch (Tiburon, Calif.) – went undefeated today in their groups, each pocketing 3-0 to start the event. They will finish group racing tomorrow with four races. 

“We are racing in a little bay that is surrounded by the marina wall, and a hill with a fort on it,” Team Tunnicliffe wrote in their newsletter. “It makes for a slightly challenging race course because of the wind shifting around the various obstructions, but the girls did a great job at putting us in the right place, and we came out on top at every mark.” Tunnicliffe, the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist in the Laser Radial, and her team have won three medals at three Sailing World Cup events this year.
  
Zach Railey2008 Silver Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) christened his new Finn boat today and finished a respectable sixth out of 51 boats in the first race of the day. In the second race, he lost a shift but accomplished a major comeback with two fast downwind runs to pass approximately eight boats. “The new boat and mast feel good, and I will keep making small adjustments during the regatta to find out what works best,” he said.

2008 Olympians Stu McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) scored a bullet and USSDT’s Adam Roberts (San Diego, Calif.) and Nick Martin (San Diego, Calif.) finished sixth in the second race of the day in the 60-boat Men’s 470 fleet. In the shifty and challenging conditions on the 470 course, both teams made some solid decisions upwind, which helped put them in strong positions.  In the Women’s 470, Erin Maxwell (Stonington, Conn.) and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar (New York, N.Y.) finished fifth out of 46 boats in the second race of the day.

USSDT’s Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) finished an impressive second in the first race of the day in the yellow fleet, and USSTAG’s Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) scored a consistent 6, 6 in the blue fleet.  The 180 boat-strong Laser class is split into three fleets – red, yellow and blue. 

USSTAG’s Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), who won two gold medals at Sailing World Cup events this year, finished fifth in the first race in the yellow Laser Radial fleet today, while teammate Claire Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.) rolled a pair of nines. USSDT’s Sarah Lihan (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) grabbed an 8 in the second race of the blue fleet.  There are 91 Laser Radial sailors competing at Sail for Gold.

Among 36 boats, USSTAG’s Star teams are once again showing their strength:  Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and John von Schwarz (Annapolis, Md.) finished both races with formidable final downwind runs to pass boats and finish fifth and seventh in today’s two races. The team has won two bronze medals at two Sailing World Cup events this year. USSTAG teammates George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.) and Mark Strube (West Palm Beach, Fla.) sailed well in the second race to lead at the top mark and finish second behind NZL's Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk. The New Zealand team won both races today, making them the team to beat tomorrow.
 
2010 2.4 mR World Champion John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.) posted two top ten finishes -- a 7, 6 -- today in the 22-boat fleet. Ruf won the bronze medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games and won the 2010 U.S. 2.4 mR National Championship earlier this summer.
 
The forecast calls for big breeze tomorrow, and racing is scheduled to start at 11 a.m., conditions permitting. 

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 see all of the team members competing at Sail for Gold, as well as video 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 of Events
Monday, August 9 - Racing day 1
Tuesday,  August 10 - Racing day 2           
Wednesday, August  11- Racing day 3
Thursday, August 12 - Racing day 4
Friday, August 13 - Racing day 5, Medals decided in Paralympic classes
Saturday, August 14 – Racing day 6, Medals decided in Olympic classes (no warning signal after 1530)

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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