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Pan Am Games Day 1 of Racing

Team USA Tops Three Classes Following Day One

NUEVO VALLARTA, Mexico — Following Monday’s opening day of Pan American Games sailing action at the Vallarta Yacht Club, Team USA holds or shares the lead in a quartet of classes — J/24, Lightning, Snipe and Sunfish.

Skippered by John Mollicone (Newport, R.I.), the J/24 was the lone U.S. craft to win both of its races Monday and holds an outright lead in the regatta with the minimum of two points. “We really used speed to our advantage,” Mollicone said. “The races are really long, even longer than Worlds.”

Joining Mollicone on the J/24 are Geoffrey Becker (Arnold, Md.), Daniel Rabin (Charlestown, Mass.) and Paul Abdullah (Jacksonville, Fla.).

Four-time Olympian Paul Foerster (Heath, Texas) won the first Sunfish race and took second in race No. 2 to share the top spot with Brazil’s Matheus Dellagnello with three points. “I did a little better than I thought, but I’ve got to get faster to beat (Dellagnello), who’s super fast downwind,” Foerster said.

Jody Lutz (Brick, N.J.) and the U.S. Lightning boat also share the lead with Brazil with four points following a first- and a third-place effort today. Jay Lutz (Houston, Texas) and Derek Gauger (Ann Arbor, Mich.) round out the Lightning crew. 

The U.S. Snipe, featuring Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Kathleen Tocke (Miami, Fla.), shares the top spot in its fleet with Brazil with six points, following second- and fourth-place finishes. 

Each sailing class is slated to race twice per day, with the exception of a scheduled off day Thursday. The medal races, reserved just the top five in each class, are set for Saturday. The low point total at the end of competition will decide the medalists. 

“It’s pretty important,” Foerster said about getting off to a quick start. “But it’s more important to keep it going.”

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