Americans march toward medals at Rio Olympic Test Event

Published on August 17th, 2015

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 17, 2015) – Challenging conditions at the 2015 Olympic Test Event as the winds were not adapting very well to the day three schedule. A dying breeze on the courses located outside Guanabara Bay meant long waiting times for the Laser, Finn and 49erFX before the fleets were finally moved inside the Bay for wind, finishing their day in fading daylight as racing got cut short.

Highlights for American sailors were in the Men’s 470, Women’s 470, and Laser Radial fleets as they maintain their march toward Olympic medals.

Stuart McNay and David Hughes opened their day with a victory in the first race, followed by a 9th. This was good enough to move the pair into the overall lead in the Men’s 470. “We’re feeling good. There are always opportunities to be better,” said McNay. “Luckily the results thus far have taken care of themselves.”

McNay and Hughes have been on a hot streak, having won major events such as ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and the 470 Europeans. McNay attributed that success to a steady approach, combined with patience. “This is a class where you have to pay your dues. There is a lot of nuance with the tuning, and the different modes available, but theres always the opportunity to improve your tactics and strategy. The 470 is a fascinating class to sail, especially in a place like Rio.”

Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha successfully defended their 2nd place overall position with a solid 3,6 scoreline. “It was very different from yesterday. We were on the inside course, so it was a current-driven race [day],” said Haeger. “The coaches were the real MVPs today. We had a solid game plan every race, and executed.”

Provancha added that a balanced approach to training on both the open-ocean and inner-harbor courses has been beneficial. “We’ve spent a lot of time down here, and worked hard in the practice races to be able to form a game plan and get our communication on point. The plan is working. We are doing what we’ve been practicing, but we have a long way to go until next Summer. Everyone [in the fleet] is racing well, so we’re trying to minimize mistakes.”

Paige Railey looked to be in for a tough day when she rounded the first windward mark deep in the fleet in today’s sole Laser Radial race, but she managed to climb back up to 8th place. The comeback was enough to preserve her 2nd place overall position. “I had a mediocre start, and both sides [of the fleet] passed me [upwind], but I fought back.” said the 2012 Olympian. “Conditions in Rio are always changing, and that means there’s always opportunities to pass. Today we actually had two different breeze directions and two separate areas of current on our course, so if you figured that out, you could make gains.”

Racing continues at the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta 2015 (Olympic Test Event) on Tuesday, August 18. The event will conclude with medal races for the top competitors in each fleet from August 20-22.

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Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition
The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition will take place at the Marina da Glória, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and will feature 380 athletes competing across ten events. Racing is scheduled to take place from 8-18 August 2016 and the competition format for all events is fleet racing.

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