Kiel, Germany (June 22, 2010) – The bright sun, light wind and hours of postponements didn’t deter US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and US Sailing Development Team (USSDT) athletes from having a record day today, as 19 boats posted impressive single-digit scores at Kiel Week. It was the single best day of scores for the USSTAG this quadrennium. As today was the last day of fleet racing, nine U.S. boats qualified for Wednesday’s top-ten, double-point Medal Races. In addition, two USSTAG Women’s Match Racing teams will compete in the quarter finals.
American Laser sailors dominated the 118-boat split fleet today in their lone race sailed in 2-5 knots: USSDT’s Clay Johnson scored a prized bullet, followed by USSDT’s Charlie Buckingham in second and USSTAG’s Kyle Rogachenko in fifth. Johnson sits in fifth overall, heading into the Medal Race. This is only his second time competing in the Medal Race at an ISAF Sailing World Cup event; he won a silver medal at Sail Melbourne in December, 2009. "After the start, Kyle came out of the right side, I played the middle, and Charlie came from the left; we all converged at the weather mark in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th," said Johnson. "We continued to race in the top four, even rounding one mark in first-second-third! It was pretty cool to see all of us up there, racing among each other in a competitive Laser group."
USSTAG’s Laser Radials were at the top of their 59-boat fleet today, with Paige Railey finishing second and USSDT’s Sarah Lihan finishing sixth in their only race, qualifying both of them for the Medal Race. Railey, who won a gold medal at Kiel Week last year, currently sits in third place, with only two points separating her from first. "Since there have been such few races, it makes you realize that every point is so crucial," said Railey. "When you look back and see where you may have given away all of these points, that’s like shooting yourself in the foot. So I'm going to learn from my mistakes and go as hard as I can and try not to make the same mistakes I have made before. ...I'm going to make it count tomorrow."
In the Star class, two USSTAG teams are sitting in the top five, thanks to top results in the 22-boat fleet. Mark Mendelblatt and Magnus Lilljedahl finished off today’s three races with a bullet (5-3-1), followed by Andy Horton and James Lyne, who finished the last race today in second (9-8-2).
49er sailors Erik Storck and Trevor Moore accomplished Medal Race status today when they finished second in the first race of the day, as well as a 16 in the second race, in the deep 59-boat fleet. This will be the first time Storck/Moore will compete in a Medal Race at any major event. “We are going into the Medal Race with nothing to lose,” they wrote in their daily blog. “We are planning to learn as much as we can about the experience.”
It was a tough day on the Finn course today, as sailors battled shifty and patchy breeze. After sailing his drop score, Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey finished the day strong with a two in the second race. The point spread is tight in the top ten of the 57-boat Finn class, with Railey sitting in seventh overall. Nine points separate him from third going into tomorrow’s Medal Race. Bryan Boyd also sailed his drop and then posted an eight today, securing his 14th place position overall.
2008 Olympians Stu McNay and Graham Biehl grabbed a fourth place finish in their one race today, while USSDT’s Adam Roberts and Nick Martin finished ninth, qualifying both teams for the Medal Race.
Fellow Olympian Ben Barger also had a great day today, posting a nine among 39 boards in the Men’s RS:X class.
In the Women’s Match Racing event, two USSTAG teams finished three flights in the first-to-three quarter finals, but they weren’t able to finish the series. Team Tunnicliffe was up 2-1 versus Australia’s Katie Spithill’s team 2-1, while GBR’s Lucy MacGregor’s team went 2-1 versus Team Tulloch.
All eyes will be on the nine USSTAG and USSDT boats competing in the final Medal Races tomorrow, as well as the two teams competing for a medal in Women’s Match Racing. For up-to-the-minute news, please follow the teams on Facebook and Twitter. Kiel Week’s event web site will broadcast them live at www.kieler-woche.de.
Forty-four members of the USSTAG and USSDT are competing at Kiel Week this week, among 5,000 competitors. This is the sixth ISAF Sailing World Cup event in the 2009-2010 series. Check out the USSTAG event site for the latest news, results, action photos from Fried Elliott, and exclusive video interviews with the team.
More USSTAG and USSDT athlete reports from Kiel Week:
Erik Storck and Trevor Moore
Peet Must and Carl Horrocks
Adam Roberts and Nick Martin