La Rochelle, France (August 7, 2011) – In a remarkable display of consistent sailing across six days of racing, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) won the 2011 Laser Radial Youth World Championship held July 24-31, in La Rochelle, France. Less than two weeks prior, Reineke won a silver medal at the ISAF Youth Worlds and moments after the prizegiving she stated her goal of defending her 2010 Radial World title.
“I am so happy to achieve the gold; it’s a dream come true,” said 17-year-old Reineke, who repeats as the World Champion. “I wanted it last year and I wanted to win it again this year.”
With seven race wins in the 12-race series, and two throwouts, a 5-2, her total scoreline added up to 11 points. To put this achievement in perspective, she had a commanding 38-point lead on second place sailor Oren Jacob (ISR) and 40 points on Sandy Fauthoux (FRA), in third.
Her results at US SAILING’s 2011 Rolex Miami OCR propelled her onto the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics for the first time, and it is a role, she noted, that is part of her goal of making the U.S. Olympic Team.
As such, this regatta marks a significant step in Reineke’s progress as an Olympic-caliber athlete and a turning point for her. The Laser Radial Youth Worlds was her last regatta as a junior-aged sailor, and although she has been competing at major events like the ISAF Sailing World Cup events alongside her USSTAG team mate Paige Railey, she will now only be able to compete in the big leagues.
“It can get discouraging sailing against bigger girls and not being at the top at the World Cup events, but that’s what prepared me for this,” she explained.”It really helped out with my tactics. Last year, when I went to Youth Worlds I had doubt in myself. This year I learned not to doubt myself. I know my strengths and weaknesses and I work with what I have. It feels really good to come off strong at my last youth event.”
Erika crossing the finish line of the final race and flipping for joy!
Laser Radial Youth Boys
In the boy’s Laser Radial, 16-year-old Mitchell Kiss (Holland, Mich.) finished 4th overall after a week of racing that included three first-place finishes. “I’m very happy with the results,” said Kiss. “It’s an improvement on last year’s result (5th overall) and that’s all you can ask for. Looking to improve is my goal.”
He went on to call the 5th day of racing (the penultimate), the turning point for his regatta as he moved into second place overall. “That day shot me up in the results and gave me a chance to be in the top three.”
Going into the final day of racing, Kiss had a podium in sight. However, the day’s races didn’t go according to plan. “I felt very good and knew it would come down to the last day,” he continued. “But, I finished 23rd and then went on to get OCS in the last race. I messed up on the start and was seriously behind, From there I was not able to catch up. I started between my main competition (PUR and FRA), and obviously I pulled the trigger a little too soon. I didn’t know until the end of race that I was over early. I wish it didn’t happen.”
A member of the USSDT since 2008, Kiss has another year left of youth eligibility and is determined to come back in 2012 with a better result. “I’m really excited about going to Worlds next year and going for the win.”
The world’s best youth Laser Radial sailors – 375 sailors from 44 countries – competed in the boys and girls divisions this week in a mixture of weather conditions.
For complete results, please visit the event website: http://www.srr-sailing.com/world-laser-radial-youth-news/
About 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 athletes 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, Trinity Yachts, New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning and Bow Down Training. http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.
photos Tovi Kiss; flip photo credit Larry Kennedy
Contact: Dana Paxton, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, email@example.com, + 1-401-369-0490 (in the UK through Aug. 15)