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Rio Test Event: US Sailing Team Perspective

Published on July 30th, 2014

by Josh Adams, Managing Director of US Olympic Sailing
Next week, Rio de Janeiro will be host to the first test event in sailing at Marina da Gloria, the sailing venue for the 2016 Olympic Games. In fact, the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta on August 2-9 will be the first test event of all Olympic sports in Rio.

For the national sailing teams that have invested to date in Rio training, this is an important event. For the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, next week marks the culmination of over a year’s worth of planning and a key step forward in the process of preparing for the ultimate test in Rio 2016.

The US contingent in Rio includes 25 athletes, plus a full coaching team and staff. There are no Paralympic sailors at this event; the first Paralympic test event is currently planned for 2015.

Our team is in Rio to experience the racing environment in a highly competitive setting; to get the team’s Rio training camp operating at full capacity; to increase our understanding of Rio weather conditions; and to acclimate to Rio culture.

Although we expect the test event to be a highly competitive regatta, it is not a peak event for our team in 2014. That will come in September, at the ISAF Sailing Worlds in Santander, Spain. We’re in Rio primarily to gain valuable experience at the 2016 Olympic Games site.

USA Camp

The US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider’s Rio training camp is located in Charitas, on the Niteroi side of Guanabara Bay. We have a long-term arrangement with a local venue featuring a healthy and secure training atmosphere, good access to the Games racecourses, and long-term storage of team boats and equipment. The team’s full fleet of Olympic class boats arrived in Charitas in early July.

The “US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider Rio Fleet” is owned by US Sailing, thanks to a generous team supporter, and will be based there for the next two years to be used in training. When the test event is over, we’ll have our camp up and running and ready for turn-key training.

Guanabara Bay Prep
If you are following the major themes of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, then you are probably aware of the unhealthy conditions of Guanabara Bay. Although what you read in mainstream media is largely exaggerated for effect, the sailing field of play is in fact contaminated due to the city’s unregulated sewage disposal.

Before the sensational stories about Guanabara Bay were published, the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider initiated a water testing project in partnership with the US Olympic Committee and our medical partners at the University of Miami Health System. The project was successfully completed, and we have gained the expert advice we were seeking to properly prepare American athletes for training and racing on Guanabara Bay. US sailors are ready to race in Rio.

In terms of local conditions, the real story about Rio water is the challenging current and sailing conditions. Next week’s event will be a great opportunity for sailors and coaches to gain more first-hand knowledge about the sailing venue and determine what our preliminary rounds of weather research have taught us.

Rio Culture
It’s also important to acclimate to life in Rio. For many on the national sailing team, this test event is a first visit to Brazil. Our team’s Laser and Laser Radial sailors have been to Rio on multiple training trips already, and they have set a positive tone for the rest of the team. We play futbol in free time. We soak up Rio’s dramatic surroundings. We enjoy being in Rio – period. The positive attitude that US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes have about being and sailing in Rio is a winning attitude.

This is an exciting time in the Rio 2016 quadrennium. Follow along on the social media channels, where the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider will be doing live coverage of the event via following on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta (Rio Test Event)
US Sailing Roster (Class, Athlete/Team, Hometown):

470 Men (Men’s Two-Person):
1. Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.)

470 Women: (Women’s Two-Person):
1. Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)
2. Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Carly Shevitz (Santa Barbara, Calif.)

49er (Men’s Two-Person High-Performance):
1. Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Francisco/San Diego, Calif.)
2. Brad Funk (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)

49erFX (Women’s Two-Person High-Performance):
1. Kristen Lane (San Francisco, Calif.) and Maggie Shea (Chicago, Ill.)
2. Genny Tulloch (San Francisco, Calif.) and Kathleen Tocke (Buffalo, N.Y./Newport R.I.)

Finn (Men’s Heavyweight One-Person):
1. Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)

Laser (Men’s One-Person):
1. Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)
2. Chris Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.)

Laser Radial (Women’s One-Person):
1. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.)
2. Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Nacra 17 (Mixed Multihull):
1. Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and John Casey (Miami, Fla.)
2. Stephanie Hudson (East Troy, Wisc.) and Ian Andrews (Kailua, Hawaii)

RS:X Men (Men’s Board):
1. Carson Crain (Houston, Texas)
2. Jonathan Rudich (Clearwater, Fla.)

Event website:


Photos by Briana Provancha (top) and John Casey.

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