Medal Races Determine Champions in Nine Olympic Classes

January 31, 2009

The medal race in the Laser class, Saturday, January 31.

It's not often in a sailing regatta that a single 30-minute race decides the outcome, but that's exactly what happened on the last day of competition for US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR, serving as the second of seven stops on the 2008 - 2009 ISAF Sailing World Cup tour. The event, which began on Monday, hosted 444 sailors from 41 countries in ten Olympic and three Paralympic classes, with nine of those Olympic classes participating in today's spectacular finale in which top-ten sailors, determined from scores after five days of fleet racing, competed in medal races that counted double for points and could not be used as throw-outs. (Paralympic and Women's Match Racing medals were determined yesterday, according to schedule.)

"We didn't necessarily expect to win the gold today but thought we had as good a chance as anybody," said the USA's Phil Trinter (Charlottesville, Va.) after he and skipper Rick Merriman (New York, N.Y.) turned in a performance that secured their spot at the top of the 31-boat Star fleet and the podium. Trinter, an Olympian in this class, described a disappointing start where being "the pickle in the middle" could only go from bad to worse. "By the time the dust settled," he said, "we were ninth around the first weather mark (of a twice-around windward-leeward course)." Still in ninth after rounding the bottom mark, the team leveraged a right wind shift when everyone else went left and worked its way back to second at the second weather mark ."We knew we only needed to be fourth to win, so we sailed the downwind leg conservatively," said Trinter, explaining that a final race finish of third sufficed for their purposes. The performance also earned the team a spot on the U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics 2009, for which this regatta is the only qualifier.

In the 49er class, Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) finished sixth today to take the gold, after having lead their 22-boat fleet since racing began.

"It was quite shifty and not the best race for us, but it was good enough," said Resch. "It would seem that we have to do more with our boat handling; we didn't feel that confident in our jibes, and our teamwork wasn't perfect like it was four months ago when we last sailed together. We were really pleased the competition was so good."

RS:X Women's
In the RS:X Women's class, the 23-board fleet had more than a dozen countries represented, but it was Marina Alabau (ESP) who took gold, on the strength of a second-place finish today. "It was a little difficult because of the strong wind," said Alabau. "It is not my wind. But I said before the race, 'I can do it.'" Like many sailors here, Alabau, who represented her country at the 2008 Olympics, was happy to use this regatta as a kick-off training session for the new quadrennium.

RS:X Men's
In the 34-board RS:X Men's class, where ten different countries populated today's 10 racing spots andGBR's Nick Thompson now leads the Laser class.Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) has dominated all week, the medal race again showed him favor. "It was quite a nice breeze with chop as well," he said, explaining that he had to keep his eye most on eventual silver medalist Ivan Pastor (ESP). "I had to stay close by, but it was not that much of a problem," said van Rijsselberge. "I spent quite a lot of preparation with a trainer and a coach before this regatta, so it's good to have confirmation that I'm heading in the right direction."

There were two primary battles going on in the 30-boat Finn class today: one for gold and one for bronze. In the end it was Edward Wright (GBR) who took the top podium step, edging out yesterday's leader Christopher Cook (CAN) by just one point.

"It was light wind all week and then for our medal race it started blowing (18-20 knots)," said Wright, who won today while Cook finished second. "I got a bad shift off the line, and Cook got away and rounded the top mark ahead of me, but I passed him on the downwind leg. He sailed a great regatta; it was good to beat him, but it's a shame for him. The leading five sailors in the fleet have been knocking on the door all week. I came for a winter's worth of training and was pleased to get such good competition with this regatta." The USA's Finn silver medalist from 2008, Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), secured the bronze, fighting off Rafael Trujillo (ESP). "It was fun racing; that's what the medal race is all about: creating these situations." Railey also is now top-ranked on the U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.

470 Women's
In the nine-boat 470 Women's class, Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer (DEN) took the gold over silver medalists Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving (Norwalk, Conn. / New York, N.Y., USA), who are the current world champions and now have a spot on the U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.

Maxwell explained that had it not been for a mishap yesterday (they capsized in the last race), things might have been quite different. "We had a huge lead on the fleet in that race, and we were saying to ourselves 'all we have to do is beat the Danish (which we were doing) and don't flip!,'" said Maxwell, explaining that had they not, they would have won and simply had to have beaten the Danish in the medal race today to take gold. "We knew it was going to be a big breeze in the meda race and that would be to our advantage." As Maxwell foreshadowed in her story, she and Kinsolving won today's race while the Danish team finished second, leaving a point spread of four points between them.

470 Men's
In the 18-boat 470 Men's class Onan Barreiros, with crew Aaron Sarmiento (ESP) finished fifth in today's medal race to maintain their lead at the top of the scoreboard, while Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl (Lincoln, Mass. , San Diego, Calif., USA), secured the silver with a fourth today.

"Today was more of a conservative plan, because we knew that mathematically it would be easier for the boat behind to pass us than it would be for us to pass the Spanish team, so we decided to protect our silver," explained McNay, who as a U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member with Biehl, is making a big push for the 2012 Olympics by planning to compete in all their class's World Cup events as well as European and World championships. "We're beginning to sort things out with the other international teams to see where we stand. We're at a good starting point to see where we can make gains," he said.

In the 63-boat Laser class, the largest here, Nick Thompson (GBR) had to keep Pavlos Kontides (CYP) at bay today to win the gold. "First I pinned him to the left and then I pinned him on the right," said Thompson about his tactics on two different upwind legs, which left Kontides to settle for silver. "It was good fun, very shifty," said Thompson, "but I wasn't really playing shifts; I was spending so much time looking behind me. Another one he loosely covered was Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla. USA), who took bronze and is now on the U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. "Brad had to beat me or finish within four boats, but I had more of a speed edge on him," said Thompson.

Laser Radial
The top battle in the 41-boat Laser Radial fleet was between long-time U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics members Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla., USA) and Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA). Tunnicliffe, a gold medalist from Qingdao who has been named US SAILING's Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, finished third today to Railey's fourth, leaving Railey the silver medal. "Paige had a good start," said Tunnicliffe, with a nod to the 15-18 knot winds. "My plan was to be top-three and at worst be two boats behind her. I had a decent start and was fourth at the top mark with Paige in front of me and the two Danish teams in first and second." Tunnicliffe explained that one Danish team fell back and she split at the gates with Railey. "That put me ahead of Paige, so I just covered her from there." About this event being part of the inaugural ISAF World Cup, Tunnicliffe said: "There's a bit more pressure to perform. It was a nice way to start the quadrennium."

Cumulative points tallied from the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 will determine World Cup champions in each of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic classes. The series 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.

Regatta results, photos and updates are posted at Video highlights, produced by, can be viewed at the same URL.

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.

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.

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.

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 Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex.


US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR is organized by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for sailing and sailboat racing. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING 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 the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams and National Championships. For more information, please visit

US SAILING's 2009 Rolex Miami OCR

FINAL Top-three Finishes
Day Six

Laser (63 boats) - 10 races
1. Nick Thompson (GBR), 3-8-1-1-18-16-[23]-5-3-12, 67
2. Pavlos Kontides (CYP), 5-2-6-12-23-8-4-4-[64/DNS]-20, 84
3. Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla., USA), 28-20-3-3-12-[64/OCS]-5-2-7-6, 86

Laser Radial (41 boats) - 11 races
1. Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla., USA), 2-5-1-2-1-[7]-7-1-1-1-6, 27
2. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 6-3-2-3-[42/OCS]-1-1-2-4-4-8, 34
3. Jennifer Spalding (CAN), 1-2-6-7-[11]-10-2-3-2-11-16, 60

Finn (30 boats) - 12 races
1. Edward Wright (GBR), 2-4-[6]-3-2-2-1-3-4-3-1-2, 27
2. Christopher Cook (CAN), 1-3-2-4-1-1-7-1-2-2-[9]-4, 28
3. Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 4-5-1-1-6-[7]-4-6-1-6-3-8, 45

470 Men (18 boats) - 12 races
1. Onan Barreiros / Aaron Sarmiento (ESP), 1-[6]-2-1-2-1-1-1-2-1-1-4-10, 26
2. Stuart McNay / Graham Biehl (Lincoln, Mass. / San Diego, Calif., USA), 3-1-[6]-3-6-3-2-1-2-2-3-8, 34
3. Matthias Schmid / Florian Reichstaedter (AUT), [10]-5-3-2-4-2-4-3-4-4-1-12, 44

470 Women (9 boats) - 12 races
1. Henriette Koch / Lene Sommer (DEN), 4-1-2-1-1-2-3-2-1-[5]-1-4, 22
2. Erin Maxwell / Isabelle Kinsolving (Norwalk, Conn. / New York, N.Y., USA), 1-2-[10/OCS]-3-2-1-1-1-4-4-5-2, 26
3. Molly Carapiet / Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer (Belvedere, Calif. / Redwood City, Calif. , USA), 3-4-[10/OCS]-4-4-3-4-3-2-1-04-8, 40

49er (22 boats) - 15 races
1. Nico Delle Karth/ Nikolaus Resch (AUT), 1-1-3-8-2-2-2-[16]-5-2-1-11-2-1-12, 53
2. John Pink/ Rick Peacok (GBR), 7-2-2-9-1-1-5-5-3-[10]-5-2-1-8, 58
3. Federico Alonso / Arturo Alonso (ESP), 3-[9]-8-3-8-4-1-4-1-3-2-8-7-4-6, 62

Star (31 boats) - 11 races
1. Rick Merriman / Phil Trinter (New York, N.Y. / Charlottesville, Va., USA), 3-6-[13]-4-2-8-1-2-13-9-6, 54
2. George Szabo/ Rick Peters (San Diego, Calif. / Marina del Ray, Calif.,USA), 2-7-4-12-1-[25]-4-11-7-7-2, 57
3. Flavio Marazzi / Petter Pedersen Morland (SUI), 1-3-1-[32/OCS]-5-5-32/OCS-6-1-4-8, 66

RS:X Men (34 boats) - 10 races
1. Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED), 2-1-1-4-4-[15]-2-4-2-2, 22
2. Ivan Pastor (ESP), 1-3-2-3-1-6-[11]-5-6-6, 33
3. Joao Rodrigues (POR), 3-2-6-7-3-8-3-[10]-10, 43

RS:X Women (23 boats) - 10 races
1. Marina Alabau (ESP), 2-2-1-2-1-3-1-2-[24/OCS]-4, 18
2. Zofia Klepacka (POL), [5]-3-2-1-3-1-4-3-1-2, 20
3. Blanca Manchon (ESP), 1-1-5-4-[8]-2-3-1-5-6, 28

Women's Match Racing (12 boats) - Final Standings
1. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen / Tina Schmidt / Trine Palludan (DEN)
2. Giulia Conti / Alessandra Marenzi / Alessandra Angelini (ITA)
3. Lucy MacGregor / Annie Lush / Ally Martin (GBR)

2.4mR (19 boats) - 12 races
1. Allan Leibel (CAN), 2-1-2-1-3-1-1-4-4-2-[7]-2, 23
2. Damien Seguin (FRA), [21/OCS]-4-5-2-4-4-4-1-2-1-1-3, 31
3. Paul Tingley (CAN), 1-3-4-3-1-5-6-5-1-[8]-5-8, 42

Sonar (5 boats) - 12 races
1. John Robertson/ Hannah Stodel/ Alex Wang-Hansen (GBR), 2-[4]-1-2-2-2-2-1-1-1-3-3, 20
2. Paul Callahan/ Roger Cleworth/ Tom Brown (Cape Coral, Fla. / Lithia, Fla. / Castine, Maine,USA), 1-1-2-4-1-3-1-[5]-3-4-5-4, 29
3. Rick Doerr/ Maureen McKinnon-Tucker/ Hugh Freund (Clifton, N.J. / Beverly, Mass. / South Freeport, Maine, USA), [5]-2-5-1-3-5-3-3-2-3-2-1, 30

SKUD 18 (5 boats) - 11 races
1. Scott Whitman/ Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J. / Boca Raton, Fla., USA), [1]-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1, 10
2. John McRoberts / Brenda Hopkin (CAN), 3-4-[6/RAF]-6/DSQ-2-2-2-2-2-2-3, 28
3. Alexandra Rickham/ Niki Birrell (GBR), 2-5-3-2-5-3-[6/DNF]-3-4-6/DNS-2, 35



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