Sailing World Cup: Equal parts sparkling and stormy
Published on January 26th, 2015
Miami, FL (January 26, 2015) – The storm bearing down upon the northeast USA had a tail sweeping through southern Florida today that gave a good swat at the first day of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami.
A record fleet of over 600 entrants from 63 countries are competing in the 10 Olympic and 3 Paralympic classes named to the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. And on day one, it was equal parts sparkling and storming.
Laser sailor Robert Scheidt, winner of five medals in five Olympiads, two of them gold, described the opener as, “A windy, tough day. What you have to do this early in the regatta is avoid the big problems.” Which is not so easy when a major squall is the big takeaway. “In the first race there was a time on the second weather leg where we couldn’t see through the rain, couldn’t find the marks,” Scheidt said. “Finally Bruno (Fontes) saw a bit of color out there in the gray stuff, and we both went for it and made big gains.”
Figure the breeze at the moment was high 20s or perhaps even 30 knots, so a boat aimed the right direction – and on its feet – had a lot going for it. “After that,” Scheidt said “I didn’t have a special second race, but I didn’t need to. I was happy with a second and a fourth.” Those finishes left Scheidt third to Fontes, first, and Andy Maloney of New Zealand, second.
The other piece of Laser class news happened in the other division of the split fleet, where the Aussie, Tom Burton, who has been on a winning streak, dug himself a hole with finishes of 19th and 20th.
Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus came first in that one.
Wherever you looked, the people at or near the top of the leaderboard were satisfied to be just that. Australian 470 skipper Mat Belcher figured “The job was to get around the course. We were happy with a 1 and a 5 and a boat that was still working. We have the whole week to make points.” Perhaps it is fair to add, Belcher was busy gluing and screwing new parts onto his “still working” mast as he spoke.
Forty of 45 starters completed both races in the Men’s 470, where Belcher and Will Ryan now stand second to Luke Patience of the UK and crew Elliot Willis, 1-2. Patience and Willis are coached by Olympic medalist Morgan Reeser. The Japanese duo of Tetsuya Matsunaga and Yugo Yoshida used both sides of the course, “sometimes” to good effect, said Matsunaga: “It was very shifty. In the second race, we went left and the wind came from the right. We rounded the top mark 20th or so. I really don’t know.” But that “20th or so” turned into a 10th for a 2-10 day and fifth in the standings.
The Women’s 470 leaders, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie of New Zealand, “had just made it around the gybe mark” of race one, Aleh said. “We looked back and the blast was just flattening the fleet. You wanted to ask, where did everybody go? But we got the kite down, stayed on our feet and made some nice gains.”
With so many boats crashed out, those gains were nicer than “nice,” but Americans Anna Haeger and Briana Provancha were not so lucky. They were gybing at the mark when the blast arrived. It did not go well. Haeger and Provancha had an 11-10 day and some body pain to take home.
Report by event media. Photos by Ingrid Abery.
Background: ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami (Jan. 26-31) is the second qualification regatta for the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final scheduled for October 29 – November 1 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Miami gold medallists in each Olympic event will qualify for the World Cup Final. After Miami the season includes stops in France, Great Britain and an Asian venue. The ISAF Sailing World Cup is open to the sailing classes (equipment) chosen for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competitions.