US Olympic circuit opens in Lauderdale

Published on January 14th, 2021

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (January 14, 2021) – A new U.S. based Olympic-class circuit gets underway as the Lauderdale OCR is the first stage of the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series.

The Lauderdale Yacht Club will host three events on January 15-18, all representing the Laser Class. Over 130 sailors have registered to compete in either the Laser (41), Laser Radial (71), or Laser 4.7 (21).

Ten countries will be represented, with the United States joined by Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Argentina, Bermuda, Chile, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.

Top Laser sailor athletes on the US Sailing Team will be racing, with the Laser Radial fleet featuring two-time Olympian and Tokyo 2020 selected athlete Paige Railey. The Florida native has been training in her hometown of Clearwater with her coach Steve Mitchell.

Railey has been training with fellow teammate Charlotte Rose (Houston, TX), who will also be competing in the Laser Radial fleet this week. Rose has been staying connected with her college sailing team at Jacksonville University while she continues training in Miami, Clearwater, and Fort Lauderdale.

The two have been joined in their training by Olympic Development Program (ODP) Laser Radial sailors Lilly Myers, Christina Sakellaris, and Hallie Schiffman.

The Laser fleet is headlined by 2016 Olympian and Tokyo 2020 selected athlete Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, CA). The 2019 Pan American Games Bronze Medalist had a busy latter half of 2020 with strong finishes in Europe at the Italian Olympic Class Championship (1st overall), Kieler Woche (4th overall), and the Laser European Championship (6th overall).

The youth movement is in full swing this week in Fort Lauderdale with a number of talented youth athletes, 16 representing US Sailing’s ODP, testing themselves against a fleet that includes Olympians, World Champions, and a strong cast of experienced national and international sailors.

The list of international sailors racing this week features accomplished Olympic-class sailors with strong resumes. Guatemala’s Juan Ignacio Maegli (GUA) will be racing in the Laser class. Maegli is a three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and he won the 2013 College Coed Dinghy National Championship with the College of Charleston. He was named College Sailor of the Year that same year.

Argentina’s Francisco Guaragna Rigonat (ARG) has returned to South Florida for racing and training this winter. Rigonat captured the Silver Medal at the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami in the Laser class last year.

Canada’s Sarah Douglas won Gold in the Laser Radial at the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru and is pushing forward towards her goal of competing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Douglas has been training in Florida this winter and will be racing this week in Fort Lauderdale.

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Source: US Sailing

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