Tough Lineup for ISAF Sailing World Cup's Second Stop
January 21, 2009
With six days of competition due to begin next Monday, organizers for US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR are making final preparations for hosting 436 sailors from 41 countries on Biscayne Bay. A majority of the athletes are Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, drawn by a track record of world-class racing and, this year, the promise of something more: The event is not only celebrating its 20th anniversary but it is also the second stop of seven in the International Sailing Federation's (ISAF) inaugural Sailing World Cup, in which cumulative points will determine World Cup champions in each of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic classes.
This is a record turnout for a year that directly follows one in which the Olympic and Paralympic Games were held. Some 323 boats have registered, which is 100-plus more than 2005 (217 boats) and more than double 2001's numbers (155 boats). In addition, 436 sailors have registered from 41 countries, compared with 25 in 2005 and 14 in 2001.
"We're honored to be a part of ISAF's new Sailing World Cup," said US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR Organizer Gary Bodie, "and considering this is the beginning of an Olympic and Paralympic quad, we're excited about the huge participation."
The 10 Olympic classes competing at US SAILING's 2009 Rolex Miami OCR are: Laser Radial, Laser, Finn, Men's RS:X, Women's RS:X, 49er, Men's 470, Women's 470, and Star, with the SB3 Laser replacing the Elliott 6m only at this regatta (for the new women's match racing discipline). The three Paralympic classes are: 2.4mR, SKUD-18 and Sonar.
The ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 started with Sail Melbourne (Australia) last December and rounds out with the Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia (Palma, Spain) and Semaine Olympique Française (Hyères, France) in April; Delta Lloyd Regatta (Medemblik, The Netherlands) in May; Kieler Woche (Kiel, Germany) in June; and Skandia Sail for Gold (Weymouth, Great Britain) in September.
US SAILING's 2009 Rolex Miami OCR is also the only ranking regatta for American athletes who aspire to make the 2009 US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. Based solely on the results at this regatta, US SAILING will recognize the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class.
Among the American stars competing are Laser Radial Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), who was just named US SAILING's 2008 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and US SAILING's 2008 SportsWoman of the Year for her outstanding achievement and performance in 2008, and fellow US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla)., who won a silver medal in the Finn class at the 2008 Olympic Games in China and was named US SAILING's 2008 SportsMan of the Year.
Tunnicliffe's main rival may very well be Railey's sister, 2006 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), with whom she has been training in Florida, while Zach will be watching out for fellow 2008 Olympians and training partners Chris Cook (CAN) and Rafael Trujillo (ESP).
Other medalists competing are Paul Tingley (CAN), Damien Seguin (FRA), and John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.), who took Gold, Silver and Bronze, respectively, at the 2008 Paralympic Regatta in the 2.4mR class. In the SKUD-18 class, the 2008 Paralympic Bronze Medalist skipper John McRoberts (CAN) and his new crew, Brenda Hopkin (CAN), will compete. 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Marblehead, Mass.) will join Paralympic teammate Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.) and newcomer Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Me.) in the triplehanded Sonar.
2008 Olympians and Sail Melbourne Silver Medalists Stu McNay (Lincoln, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) are expected to stand out in the Men's 470 class, while US SAILING's 2006 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Jud Smith (Marblehead, Mass.), sailing with crew Brad Balmert (Lorain, Ohio) will look to shake up the competition in the hotly-contested Star class.
Additional 2008 Olympians will take to the Men's RS:X course, including Julien Bontemps (FRA), King Yin Chan (HKG) and Ben Barger (Tampa, Fla.). In Women's Match Racing, top match racer Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN), will compete against the likes of Giulia Conte (ITA), who is ISAF's #1-ranked Women's 470 sailor, and 2008 Olympian Debbie Capozzi, who has recruited Jackie Schmitz (McLean. Va.) and Emily Hill (Miami, Fla.) as crew.
In the Star class, Andrew Campbell (Washington, D.C.), sailing with Brad Nichol (Miami Beach, Fla.), is another Olympian who has switched classes for this event. Campbell represented the USA in the Laser class at the 2008 Olympic Games.
A complete and final roster can be viewed at www.rolexmiamiocr.org, where regatta results, photos and updates will be posted daily once racing begins. Video highlights, produced by T2P.tv, will air Thursday through Saturday and can be viewed at the same url.
Regatta Headquarters are located at the US Sailing Center Miami, an official Olympic training center, in the Coconut Grove section of Miami, Florida. Event organizers have partnered with the city of Miami to provide world-class venues for competition. Additional hosts for the event include Coral Reef Yacht Club, Key Biscayne Yacht Clubs, Coconut Grove Sailing Club and Shake-a-Leg-Miami. These sailing organizations host classes onshore, as well as help run the on-the-water racing. The Coral Reef Yacht Club also hosts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as a mid-week dinner hosted by Nautica. In addition, the University of Miami's Sports Medicine Center will provide on-site medical care during the event.
About US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR
Established in 1990 by US SAILING, the Rolex Miami OCR annually draws elite sailors, including Olympic and Paralympic medalists and hopefuls from around the world. In non-Olympic/Paralympic years, the regatta is especially important as a ranking regatta for sailors hoping to qualify for the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, which annually distinguishes the top three sailors in each Olympic and Paralympic class. The 2009 Rolex Miami OCR consists of five days of fleet racing from Monday, January 26 through Friday, January 30, and one day of top-ten medal racing (for Olympic classes only) on Saturday, January 31.
US SAILING's 2009 Rolex Miami OCR is open to the classes chosen by ISAF for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competitions, except for the equipment used for women's match racing. While ISAF has chosen the Elliott 6m for the 2012 Olympic Games, Rolex Miami OCR will use the SB3 Laser. The 10 Olympic classes competing at US SAILING's 2009 Rolex Miami OCR are: Laser Radial, Laser, Finn, RS:X Men, RS:X Women, 49ers, 470 Men, 470 Women, Star and SB3 Laser. The three Paralympic classes are: 2.4mR, SKUD-18 and Sonar.
In addition to title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., US SAILING's 2009 Rolex Miami OCR is also sponsored by AlphaGraphics, Nautica, LaserPerformance, Harken, New England Ropes, Sperry Top-Sider and Team McLube.
For complete and up-to-the-minute regatta information and resources, including the Notice of Race, entry list, online registration, schedule, hosts and area information, please visit www.rolexmiamiocr.org
About Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc.
Since Rolex Watch U.S.A. first presented timepieces to America's Cup defenders in 1958, the company has consistently recognized and encouraged excellence in every important arena of competitive sailing, including supporting the US Sailing Team, US SAILING championships, disabled sailing, and offshore, one-design and women's events. In 2009, Rolex will sponsor over 20 prestigious yachting events globally, including the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Rolex Big Boat Series (also serving as the Rolex US-IRC National Championship), Rolex Capri Sailing Week, Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, Rolex Fastnet Race, Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship, Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race and Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex.
About US SAILING
US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR is organized by US SAILING, national governing body of the sport. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the organization provides leadership for the sport of sailing in the United States. 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, including National Championships and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org