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Fluky day at World Cup Miami

Published on January 23rd, 2020

Miami, FL (January 23, 2020) – Through four days of action-packed racing on Biscayne Bay, the athletes competing at the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami have experienced a vast array of conditions. Cold temperatures, wind chill, rain, strong breeze, and more typical South Florida conditions have challenged the 182 sailors from 45 nations.

The challenge has been real on the Bay and this has created exciting racing and a level of unpredictability adding more intrigue to this year’s annual Olympic class regatta in Miami. Heading into today’s racing the Finn, Laser, Laser Radial, and Men’s and Women’s 470 had completed six races, while the Men’s and Women’s RS:X finished nine.

However, the breeze failed to cooperate for most of today, as rain showers sporadically dampened the sailing venue, and racing was limited after lengthy postponements.

After long wind and rain delays on the water and ashore, only the Finns finished both scheduled races. The Men’s Laser, Men’s RS:X, and Women’s RS:X fleets each finished one race. Despite the Race Committee’s best efforts, the unstable breeze didn’t allow for any races in the Laser Radial, Men’s 470 or Women’s 470 fleets.

RS:X Women
The RS:X women and men managed just one race each. Japan’s Megumi Komine won her third race of the regatta in Race 10 and is now in second place behind fleet leader Demita Vega de Lille of Mexico by three points. Farrah Hall of the United States is in third place and five points back.

Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) is leading the Women’s RS:X trials quite comfortably. This week, she continues to hang near the front of the pack. Hall finished today’s race in seventh and stands third overall. Despite the less than ideal conditions, she’s sure to appreciate the time on the water before the Games, “I’m really enjoying these last few months with the RS:X and through the Tokyo 2020 Games before I put all of my equipment in the museum.”

Hall is making the most of her last year campaigning in the RS:X but is looking forward to the new iQFoil class that has been selected as the windsurfing equipment for the Paris 2024 Games.

RS:X Men
On the men’s side of the RS:X fleet, Pedro Pascual (USA) won his fourth race of the regatta to take a nine-point lead through 10 races. He leads Ignacio Berenguer of Mexico, who is in second place, and fellow American Geronimo Nores, who is in third. Nores was second to Pascual today and has placed either first (4) or second (2) in each of the last six races to make a charge up the leaderboard.

American Caleb Paine won his fourth race of the regatta in Race 7 of the Finn class. He was third in Race 8 and leads by 17 points over Luke Muller (USA). Oisin McClelland of Ireland is in third.

Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) continues to lead the Finn fleet. Continuing his incredibly consistent streak, he finished both races in first. In the eight total races, he has yet to finish below second place, allowing him to lead the fleet with 16 points between him and teammate, Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.), who is in second.

Paine attributes most of his success this week to keeping focused on his own boat and not paying much mind to the fact that this event will play a role in the Finn U.S. athlete trials for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Paine and Muller won’t have much certainty over who will be the U.S. Finn representative in Tokyo until after the 2020 Finn Gold Cup.

The final fleet to race today was the Men’s Laser class. Among U.S. athletes, Malcolm Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.) is currently leading, standing in 14th overall. Hugh Macrae of Canada won the only Laser race of the day and has placed in the top two of the last couple races of the regatta. Argentina’s Francisco Guaragna Rigonat came in second and continues to lead the pack through seven races.

“We launched mid-morning and the race didn’t start until 3 o’clock, so there was a lot of waiting, trying and failing,” said Macrae. “We finally we got one off. There was hiking but again it changed midway to light wind, but I managed to get away with a win. I didn’t make the mistakes I’ve been making and it’s now showing.”

Laser Radial
There was no racing today in the Laser Radial class, however, Aruba’s Philipine van Aanholt is excited to be back in Miami and sailing again in the Laser Radial after some time away. The two-time Olympian and several other sailors representing North American and Caribbean nations are also trying to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

“This week has been quite challenging. We’ve had lots of different conditions – mostly breezy. I’ve really enjoyed it,” said van Aanholt. “Yesterday was a bit too much. In the last race I was really tired, but it was fun and very shifty like Miami always is. The first couple of days I could really read the shifts well and yesterday in the last race I had some problems. Everybody is bringing it so it’s fun.”

“I came in really late for this campaign,” she added. “I sailed the Rio and London Games, but I haven’t been full-time sailing in a really long time. I do have a full-time job, which is why I came early to prepare. I have had to focus on myself but, of course you look at the competition and it’s tough. There are a lot of girls going for that one spot.”

As it stands, Elena Oetling is poised to take the single North American spot with van Aanholt 17 points off. However, with today’s Laser Radial racing postponed, three races will be sailed tomorrow with plenty of possibilities.

Men’s and Women’s 470
The Men’s and Women’s 470 fleets attempted to sail but the fickle and shifting wind made things tricky for the Race Committee team so no racing was possible. Heading into tomorrow’s action, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) top the tree in the men’s division.

France’s Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz are in control in the women’s, while Carmen and Emma Cowles are in eighth place, the top American team. While the Women’s 470s didn’t race today, they are in the midst of what will likely be the closest race for the U.S. trials. While qualifying for Tokyo is certainly a priority for each of the three U.S. boats, they’re not preoccupied with the stakes of the event.

US Sailing Team Women’s 470 skipper, Atlantic Brugman (Winthrop, Mass.) is particularly proud of the progress all three of the boats have made. “We enjoy the challenge, they push us to get better,” she said. “It’s also nice to see that there’s a lot of talent going for this spot.

“As a country with three teams that are all new to this boat, we’re all working really hard and are making advances in a fleet of people who’ve been sailing 470s for a really long time.” Regardless of the results at this event, the trials for all of the Olympic classes will conclude with the 2020 World Championships.

Racing resumes on Friday, January 23 on Biscayne Bay and runs through to January 25 where seven Medal Races will decide the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami Champions. An additional race is scheduled for the 470s, Laser Radial and Laser tomorrow, January 24 with an earlier start time of 10:30 am.

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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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