Breeze on at World Cup Miami

Published on January 21st, 2020

Miami, FL (January 21, 2020) – Sailors were greeted with cooler temperatures, sunny skies, and plenty of breeze on Day 2 of 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami, USA. World Cup Miami, the second stop on the 2020 Series, is the final opportunity for North American nations to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in all seven classes at this regatta and the 182 sailors from 45 nations are also competing this week for advancement in the World Cup standings.

Today’s weather was mostly sunny with temperatures in the 60’s. Wind speeds this morning were 12-16 knots, including gusts up to 20 knots. Conditions in the afternoon were more shifty and puffy with an increase in breeze.

The Men’s and Women’s 470, Laser, Laser Radial, and Finn fleets completed two races, while the Women’s and Men’s RS:X fleets finished three today. This marked the second of five days of fleet racing leading up to the all-important Medal Races.

The Laser is the largest fleet in Miami with 49 registered sailors. A single North American spot remains available to sailors and competitors from Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, US Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago will be on the start line.

Canada has 12 Laser representatives, while Mexico has four and Antigua two. One of the favorites to book his nation’s spot in Tokyo 2020 is Trinidad and Tobago’s Andrew Lewis. The two-time Olympian secured his first ever Hempel World Cup Series medal in Genoa, Italy last season in a tough fleet.

Lewis is in third place through four races after finishing third and fifth today. He leads all North American sailors in the regatta standings. Lewis enjoys the Miami conditions and is excited to be here at the venue.

“Blue skies make me smile all day,” said Lewis. “This is just an amazing place to sail. I’ve been coming here for about ten years and Miami has a special place in my heart. It’s the closest place we race to at the highest levels in the Caribbean in my opinion. Today was super challenging. The pressure was filling in around the racecourse. I’m happy with my results today and I’m happy with how the regatta is going.”

Lewis remains focused on his sailing despite what is at stake this week. “It’s too early to be keeping eyes on the other sailors. I’m consistently focused on staying as far in front of the fleet as possible.”

Only two spots behind Lewis in fifth place overall is Canada’s Robert Davis, who posted a pair of fourth place finishes on today. Davis finished ahead of Lewis at the 2019 Pan Games.

“We had more offshore wind today, which made it more puffy, choppy and shifty,” said Davis. “You had to keep your head out of the boat and look for the wind. Most of the wind was coming off the shore to the left side, and I wasn’t quite punchy on that but still managed to get a couple decent scores today.”

Davis remains focused on being consistent throughout the week. “I think consistency is going to win here in Miami because it’s a soft and tricky venue, but at the same time it’s a relatively small fleet. If you are not trying to go for some of those obvious puffs and shifts on days like today, somebody else is going to go for them and I need those points.”

Currently sitting in 5th overall, Davis continued, “I had a hunch about the left-hand side, but I didn’t go for it quite hard enough in the first race. Luckily I was able to fight my way back in both races to get to fourth in both of them. The goal for tomorrow is to hike hard and trust my gut a little bit more.”

Joaquin Blanco (ESP) posted two bullets on Monday and has a lead on the Laser fleet, despite a black flag penalty in Race 4 today. He was fifth in Race 3.

“I got a black flag penalty at the start of the second race, so I was disappointed, but this is the beginning and I’ll do my best in my next races,” said Blanco. “Monday was really good for me, but it’s a long week. Today, I couldn’t be as consistent, but I will try do better.”

Also, with seven points atop the leaderboard is Argentina’s Francisco Guaragna Rigonat. American Nick Sessions (San Francisco, Calif.) is currently ranked 14th overall among the Lasers.

Laser Radial
The United States has a lead in the Laser Radial fleet, as Erika Reinke has performed well over the first two days in Miami. Reineke moved into first, overtaking yesterday’s leader Viktorija Andrulyte of Lithuania, with a second place finish in Race 3 and she won Race 4. Andrulyte is three points back.

Caleb Paine of the United States continues his dominance in the 14-boat Finn event. He has won three of four races and placed second in Race 3 today. He has a four point lead over teammate Luke Muller, as the American selection process continues to make waves this week in Miami. Canada’s Kyle Martin is seven points back and in third place.

Women’s 470
In the Women’s 470, Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz of France have emerged as Tokyo 2020 medal favorites after they secured the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series title, gold at READY STEADY TOKYO and the 2019 European Championship. They have won three of the four races this week and lead the overall standings.

In second place are Poland’s Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Jolanta Ogar, who won Race 3. “We had a lot of fun on the water today,” said Skrzypulec. “We had a nice strong wind with a lot of shifts, so we had to be focused at all times. Yesterday, we struggled a bit in the second race, but today we started off with a fresh mindset and today was a new beginning with new wind conditions.”

The only nation in the running for the North American Tokyo 2020 spot in the Women’s 470 is the United States. The event also acts as an American team qualifier for Tokyo 2020 with Nikole Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss, Carmen and Emma Cowles as well as Atlantic and Nora Brugman. The Cowles are currently the top American team in eighth place overall. They placed fifth and eighth today and lead the Brugmans by four points.

These young American tandems are gaining critical experience this week. “The biggest step up for us has been the competition on the Women’s 470 circuit,” said Emma Cowles. “You have 50 percent of the fleet rounding really close together, so we were trying to get up to speed with them.”

“We’ve all learned a lot in these past few years,” added Emma. “We are all pretty new and we don’t have decades of experience in the boat like some of the athletes do. We are just thinking about what we can do one event at a time to keep improving.”

With Olympic trials at stake this week, the pair doesn’t let the pressure distract them from their tried and true process. “The goal isn’t necessarily to qualify, but just to get better as a country,” said Carmen speaking of the priorities among U.S. Women’s 470s. Emma continued, “We’ve all learned a lot in these past few years. All three boats are pretty new, none of us have decades of experience in the 470 like some of the other athletes do.”

With the big picture in mind, Carmen adds that their approach is one step at a time, “I think we take each event one by one, and step by step. That approach worked for us in the 420, so we’re just trying to keep the ball rolling with what we know works.”

Men’s 470
Over in the 30-boat Men’s 470 fleet, Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström of Sweden maintain their lead from Monday. They have a three-point edge over Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagiali of Greece. Stuart McNay and David Hughes are the top North American team in ninth overall.

Canadians Luke Ramsay and Hunter Lowden kicked it up a notch against Mexico. As new sailors to the fleet things take a bit more time, Luke commented, “We’re definitely starting to figure things out a little bit more. Everything is very new to us, in terms of sailing this boat but we’re getting faster which is nice.” Completing two races with two 18th place finishes, this team is currently sitting in 23rd overall.

Men’s RS:X
In the Men’s RS:X, two nations are aiming to qualify for Tokyo 2020 – Dominican Republic and Mexico. The odds are stacked in Mexico’s favor, with five-time Olympian David Mier Y Teran and Ignacio Berenguer leading the charge. The Dominican Republic’s Samuel Perez Hults is also contending this week. In total, eight sailors are racing in the Men’s RS:X fleet and the event is also acting as an American qualifier for Tokyo 2020.

Pedro Pascual of the United States continues his lead over the fleet from yesterday with seven points following three more races. He won the first race of the day and has collected three wins so far this week. Following in close pursuit of the lead is Berenguer and Teran, who are placing second and third respectively.

“Today was completely different than Monday,” said Teran. “This morning it looked windy, but it was really light and then it kept building. I got lost in the first race because of the conditions, but by the second race I got a little better and continued to get better in the third race. I think I sail better in extreme conditions.”

Pascual’s fellow American competitor Geronimo Nores (Miami Beach, Fla.) saw a significant improvement over yesterday’s results. After winning the last two races of the day, Nores will move up to sixth.

Women’s RS:X
Nikola Girke (CAN) has made her competitive RS:X return in the 10-boat Women’s fleet. The Canadian represented her nation in the 470 at Athens 2004, the RS:X at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and the Nacra 17 at Rio 2016. Canada is the only North American nation in the fleet who has not yet qualified. Girke will confirm the spot by completing the event. She is currently in sixth place.

“It’s my first time back on the RS:X after a couple years, so I’m trying to get my racing legs back,” said Girke. “Having this regatta under my belt before World Championships is really important and I want to qualify my country for the Olympics. The real reason why I came back is to have fun.”

Mexico’s Demita Vega de Lille and Mariana Aguilar have 11 points each and they lead the Women’s RS:X fleet through six races. In third place is Farrah Hall (USA), who won the final race of the day. On today’s success and how she’s feeling at this event, Hall mentioned that her mindset is key on the racecourse.

“I’m mostly working on a little bit of technique and a lot of psychology,” said Hall. “Sailing is a very complex sport, so for me, I’m pretty regimented in my daily routines. For now, I’m focusing on keeping all of that straight, but being flexible at the same time. This has been a good event for me psychologically, so I’m pretty happy where I’m at.”

Racing resumes Wednesday, January 22 on Biscayne Bay and runs through to January 25 where seven Medal Races will decide the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami Champions.

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The World Cup Series is an annual circuit of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors, and a key touchpoint for fans and media to connect to the sport of sailing and develop support for athletes on their road to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and beyond. Over 2,000 of the world’s leading sailors, representing 75 nations, have competed in the World Cup Series since its inception in 2008.

2019-20 Hempel World Cup Series
Aug 27-Sep 1, 2019 – Enoshima, Japan
January 20-25, 2020 – Miami, USA
April 14-19, 2020 – Genoa, Italy
June 16-21, 2020 – Enoshima, Japan

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