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USSTAG’s Team Tunnicliffe Wins Silver Medal in Hyères

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

USSTAG’s Team Tunnicliffe Wins Silver Medal in Hyères; Light Air Plagues Sailing World Cup Event

Hyères, France (April 30, 2010) – US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ (USSTAG) Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) won a silver medal in the Women’s Match Racing event at the 42nd French Sailing Week today, after finishing 1-3 in the final series against Germany’s Silke Hohlbrock. This was their second podium finish in the 2009-2010 International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup series, after winning gold at US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR in January. Tunnicliffe’s team sailed strong and smart rounds throughout the week, but piecing together the puffs proved difficult in today’s first-to-three final series, and they found themselves on the wrong sides of the shifts more often than not.

20100425_sof2010guillaumedurand_7311_s“It was a tough day. When it’s that shifty and you don’t get your choice of the shifts, it’s hard to gain back what you’ve already lost,” said Tunnicliffe, the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist in the Laser Radial and the 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. “Hohlbrock sailed a really good series, and they definitely deserved to win.

“During the week, we were working on teamwork and communication, which we did really well,” she said. “We kept it simple and sailed smart. Today, we put too much pressure on ourselves and we weren’t thinking clearly. Our biggest takeaway is to keep it simple, even in the higher rounds. We need to do what we know how to do.”

Light air plagued the ISAF Sailing World Cup event this week, as “hurrying up to wait” became a recurring theme for the top Olympic and Paralympic class sailors in the world. Today, limp AP flags greeted sailors who had qualified for the top-ten Medal Races and the Women’s Match Racing finals. After the sixth morning postponement in a row, sailors set out to compete in a challenging 1-4 knot, shifty breeze.

Two other USSTAG boats competed in today’s Medal Races: 2008 Olympians Amanda Clark (Shelter Harbor, N.Y.) and Sarah Chin (Hoboken, N.J.) finished eighth overall among 44 Women’s 470 boats, while Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) finished ninth in the 52-boat Finn class. “I just tried to make the best out of difficult and ever-changing conditions,” said Railey.

“Consistent racing always pays off, and in this edition of the French Sailing Week, it was ever more important,” said USSTAG’s High Performance Director and Head Coach Kenneth Andreasen (Tampa, Fla.). “Challenged by light and shifty wind conditions, the team did their best to stay sharp throughout the week.”

After enduring frustrating travel sagas to even get to France, thanks to Iceland’s volcanic ash, USSTAG members were anxious to get on the water and have some consistent races this week. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans, which favored tourists. As a result, sailors stared at glassy water for most of the week, until yesterday, when they were finally able to get in a full day of racing to wrap up the qualifying series. Patience and staying focused were key to enduring the long days on shore and then racing in challenging conditions late in the day.

Railey had a realistic perspective: “Postponements and waiting is part of the sport. Sometimes the wind just isn’t going to work in your favor. I just try to relax and wait for the Race Committee to make a decision on when to race and then go out and try to perform.”

“Hyères just really hasn't been itself this week,” said fellow Finn sailor Bryan Boyd (Annapolis, Md.). “We're all used to cold howling winds here, but this week has been more suitable for supermodels working on their tans.”

This week was an excellent notebook regatta for members of the US Sailing Development Team, some of whom were in Europe for their first Sailing World Cup series. The members found learning opportunities in tough conditions, and debriefed with coaches and sought advice from seasoned USSTAG members.

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 in Weymouth, England. The US Sailing Development Team is a new youth pipeline team comprised of future Olympic hopefuls, who are learning the skills required to launch successful campaigns and compete at an elite level. The next ISAF Sailing World Cup event is the Delta Lloyd Regatta, scheduled for May 26-30, 2010, in Medemblik, The Netherlands.

For final results of all USSTAG and USSDT sailors, exclusive video interviews and action photos, please visit the event web site: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/Events/World_Cup/SOF_2010.htm 

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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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[Photo Credit: SOF/ Guillaume Durand]