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Interview with USSTAG’s Mark Mendelblatt, Bronze Medalist at Star Western Hemisphere

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

Interview with USSTAG’s Mark Mendelblatt, Bronze Medalist at Star Western Hemisphere

Portsmouth, R.I. (April 21, 2010) – Sustaining major sail and boat damage in a practice race didn't deter US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and John von Schwarz (Annapolis, Md.) from ultimately winning a bronze medal Saturday at the 2010 Star Western Hemisphere Championship in Nassau, The Bahamas. The week of high-action racing started in big breeze, but once the wind eased to a more seasonal norm, the places started changing on the leaderboard. Mendelblatt and von Schwarz, one of four USSTAG teams competing at the event, posted six single digit scores, including a bullet in the third race.

Mark MendelblattUS SAILING: Congratulations on winning a bronze medal. Why was medaling at this event important for you?

MENDEBLATT: Getting on the podium is always a goal for us at each regatta. It was great to get another top three finish, and this result will help us in terms of ranking and qualification for future Star regattas.

US SAILING: It sounds like you had a great week of windy weather, with some sharp changes on a few of the days. What did this mean for racing?

MENDELBLATT: There was definitely a lot of breeze in Nassau during the regatta. The first windy day came during the Harry Knowles series which is the tune-up for the main event. We had a situation where Richard Clark fell out of his boat during a jibe which led to his boat wiping out into us. We had some pretty serious damage to our sails and boat. After that, it got even more windy and the Race Committee had to cancel the first day of racing. The first two days were about 18-23 knots, which is top end for a Star. The third and final day was much lighter, about 10-15 knots.

US SAILING: What did you find your strengths to be? Any lessons learned for the next event?

ZF-9642-54649-1-022MENDELBLATT: This was the first time John and I sailed in a heavy air regatta. We both enjoyed it and learned a lot. I think we did a good job handling the boat but there is plenty to work on. Our starts were not great, so that is one big area for improvement.

US SAILING: What’s next on your Star campaign trail?

MENDELBLATT: Next thing for us is to head over to Europe for more training and racing. Our goal is to improve as much as possible over the course of the summer and be ready for next year when the results really start to count.

For photos of the USSTAG boats in action, please visit: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/Multimedia/Photos/2010Nassau.htm 
To view all the photos from the event, please visit Fried Elliott’s gallery at: friedbits.com 

For final results from Star Western Hemisphere, please visit the event web site: http://star2010.nassauyachtclub.org/results/star_2010.htm 

About the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and US SAILING
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: sailingteams.ussailing.org.

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