Rewarding hard work and good sailing
Published on September 30th, 2019
The Oakcliff Triple Crown Series has been running for three years and has solidified its spot on the Olympic training circuit, regularly drawing top sailors in five of the Olympic classes: 470W, 470M, 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17.
With half a million dollars of prize grants awarded annually to competitors, this is one of the only regattas that directly rewards hard work and good sailing with financial support for their Olympic campaigns.
The allocation of prize grants changes depending on the year of the Olympic quad. With the Tokyo Olympics less than a year away, the prize grants are concentrated in the top three spots. Next year they will reset to be more evenly distributed across the fleet and help the younger up-and-comers strive for Paris 2024.
In two out of the seven races in the 470 fleet, two of those up-and-comers, Trevor Bornarth and Rachel Bryer, beat Olympic veterans Stu McNay and Dave Hughes, who took 4th at Rio 2016. As the only mixed gender team competing, this gave a glimmer of hope for Olympic sailing’s goal to be the first gender neutral sport by the Paris 2024 Olympics, having an equal number of men and women competing. Supporting teams like this is Oakcliff’s mission: To Build American Leaders Through Sailing.
There are three stages of the Triple Crown series each year and on September 28-29 Oakcliff hosted the second stage in all of the classes except the 49erFX. Competing in the series since its inception in 2017, skipper Nevin Snow took first place in the 49er with crew Dane Wilson.
In the foiling Nacra 17, Caroline Atwood and Ravi Parent took first. In the 470M, Stu McNay and Dave Hughes landed at the top of the podium. In the 470W, it was Nikki Barnes, and her crew Lara Dallman-Weiss who found victory.
“The Oakcliff Triple Crown Series is incredible for us and our Olympic campaign,” shared Dallman-Weiss. “First of all, financially it is a huge help because we have to raise all of our money. Also, it’s great because it gets everyone together for a regatta in the U.S. where you know there’s going to be other boats.
“It is quick racing so in a lot of other events we will work on speed but the Triple Crown really helps us dial in our tactics and our communication and helps reveal some of the holes we find in other places.”
Barnes adds, “The fall season is a big time where there’s not a lot of racing so having the Triple Crown Series keeps it so we don’t go a long period without having close, intense races.”
The conditions on the first day offered a shifty 12 knots gusting 15 while the second day started out slightly heavier and shiftier but died throughout the day.
“The wind range was good for us,” Snow commented. “We are finding a pretty good feel for the boat in medium breeze.” Wilson added, “We had to constantly keep the comms going about pressure. On the second day it was almost impossible to see what was going to happen next. We just focused on keeping the boat going fast and did our best to go the right way.”
Atwood, like Snow, has been sailing in the Triple Crown Series since its inaugural season in 2017. She noted, “Coming into the regatta, we knew it was a shifty venue so we prioritized shift over pure speed. Otherwise our strategy was simple: cover from in front, split from behind, and stay lifted.”
The 2019 Oakcliff Triple Crown will conclude with the final event on October 5-6.
Oakcliff Triple Crown Series, a three stage series held in Oyster Bay, NY, is open to five of the Olympic events – 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, 470 Men, and 470 Women – with each class having a $100,000 Prize Grant Pool to be split between the three Triple Crown Series events.
However, only fleets with a minimum of eight teams are eligible for the full grant, and only the top three finishers get cash. For fleets that do not have eight on the starting line, the prize grants were awarded at 50% per the Notice of Race.
Oakcliff Triple Crown Series 2019
Source: Francis George, Oakcliff Sailing