Month: February 2019

Railey, Muller Win Medals on Final Day of Hempel World Cup Series Miami

Super Sunday was exactly that for two members of the U.S. Sailing Team. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) and Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) stood on the podium earlier today to accept a silver and bronze medal, respectively, for their performances in the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami, a crucial milestone on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The medals were the brightest reward from the day’s sailing for U.S. sailors, but there were positive takeaways throughout the five medal races on the final day of competition at the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami, which celebrated 30 years of Olympic-class yachting on Biscayne Bay. All told, eight American sailors participated in the final day of competition and came away with some strong individual race performances

“The team performance is way up,” said Malcolm Page, Chief of U.S. Olympic Sailing. “It’s been a lot of hard work to get here, and I remember a significant moment four or five months ago when we sat down in Aarhus [Denmark] and we realized our performance wasn’t going as well as expected—on average. We sat down with the coaches and brainstormed over what needed to be done to achieve that. Our big takeaway from that was to build confidence. We know our athletes have the talent, but they don’t always have that confidence to do it at the world championship level. We always said that 2019 had to be our year to achieve that. It’s only just begun, and we’ve had a great week. We didn’t have these results [last year], but we’re still far from our potential.”

Click here to read the international press release

Railey had quite a bit of ground to make up if she wanted to overtake Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) for the gold in the Laser Radial class. And while there was an equally small chance that she could lose her silver medal to Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE), Railey never thought of starting the race with a defensive strategy.

“I executed everything that I wanted to on the starting line, it’s just [Zhang] is so much faster than I am in the light air,” said Railey. “Unfortunately my speed did not benefit after I did the maneuvers that I wanted to.”

Zhang was quickly able to gain the upper hand and once she did, as Railey was the only person who could potentially steal the gold medal, Zhang merely had to keep Railey pinned toward the back of the fleet, which she did for the rest of the race, finishing ninth to Railey’s 10th.

“You go for it in the beginning,” said Railey. “I’d rather try than not try at all.”

Railey won three races and finished second in another. But she also had some deep races. Her silver medal, she said, is a testament to perseverance.

“It just shows me that you have to keep plugging away every single race,” said Railey. “All the girls, actually the medalists, we had some pretty deep races, black flags [for starting early], 20s, 30s. What it shows is if you just keep going one race after another and not focusing on the end results, you can come back from a deep result.”

Railey has been racing at the top of the Laser Radial fleet for more than 15 years. She won the class’s world championship in 2005. Every year brings a new crop of hungry, young sailors who are constantly improving how the ubiquitous dinghy is sailed.

“Everything keeps evolving and changing; I just keep trying to learn new things,” she said. “As the game progresses, I need to stay up to date so when the girls bring new things to the table, I force myself to learn how to do it. Also I never stop believing in myself.”

Belief in one’s self was also a central theme to Luke Muller’s roller-coaster race in the Finn class. Medal Races don’t usually have more than one act. But Muller’s Medal Race was every bit a three-act drama en route to a bronze medal, his first in a Hempel World Cup Series event and his best international performance in the men’s heavyweight dinghy.

“I liked the pressure on the right side and so I set up really close to the boat at about three minutes and just tried to start with all the boatspeed that I could,” said Muller. “I think I did a good job of that. Unfortunately halfway up the upwind I was flagged for [pumping] and I took my penalty turn and actually did an extra one. I’ve only been in three medal races and I’d read [the rules] this morning, but just wanted to make sure, 100 percent, and did my best to rely on my boatspeed to get back in.”

Muller was last around the windward mark and eighth around the leeward mark. But in the light and shifty conditions that have prevailed in Miami this week, there’s always a passing lane or two that can be found. On the second beat he bounced up to fourth and then held off Max Salminen, who would win gold, on the final two legs to ensure a bronze medal.

“It means a lot,” he said of the medal. “Then again, it’s one regatta and we had pretty much one type of conditions and I’m pretty good at [those conditions]. I know that I have a lot of weaknesses and a lot to work on, and I’m striving and determined to keep going and keep that up. It’s definitely a great step and I’m grateful for my team with Luther [Carpenter, U.S. Finn coach] and Caleb Paine and just hoping to go up from here.”

Other standout performances in the Medal Race came from Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) who won the Men’s 470 Medal Race and jumped up to fourth and Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) who finished second in the Laser Medal Race and likewise moved up to fourth. Both teams entered the Medal Race with an outside shot at bronze, but would’ve required help from other competitors to reach the podium.

Atlantic and Nora Brugman qualified for a Medal Race for the second time in their careers and finished sixth in the Medal Race and eighth overall. Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) continued her upward trend over the last few days of the regatta, finishing the Medal Race in fourth and the regatta in sixth.

Olympic sailing has become a fixture on Biscayne Bay over the past 30 years. Page hopes that will continue for another 30 years or more.

“This is a significant event for the United States,” said Page. “It’s one of four Hempel World Cup Series event that happen around the world, the only one in the Americas. It’s hugely advantageous to have this our backyard. We call the U.S. Sailing Center Miami our home. To have international athletes coming to train in our backyard is hugely cost effective. The next generation know about this event, and they can come compete in this event if they’re lucky enough to get an entry. They can come measure themselves against the world’s best. This allows them to get a taste of where the level is. I think it’s an integral part of sailing within the U.S.”

Calling the Shifts Equals Success at Hempel World Cup Series Miami

Correctly calling first shift is great. Plenty of sailing races have been won by the person or team who anticipates the first wobble in the breeze and positions correctly to best take advantage of it.

But sometimes, it’s the last shift that provides the more enduring laugh. That was the case in the Women’s 470 Medal Race, which kicked off the final day of racing at the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami on Biscayne Bay.

Frederike Loewe and Anna Markfort (GER) started the race with a slim lead in the overall standings. Not only was their gold medal position at risk, there was a legitimate possibility they could slip off the podium entirely as fourth place was just eight points at the start of the race. After a bad start at the pin end, the German duo spent the majority of the race in a virtual fourth place.

“The start was really bad,” said Loewe. “We were too close to the leeward starting boat. That was way too risky.”

Hannah Mills and Eilidth McIntyre (GRB) on the other hand, nailed the start and the first leg and rounded the first two marks in the lead and wearing the virtual gold medal.

But defending against three other teams is always a challenge, even more so in light air, and on the second lap, the trailing boats found a window of opportunity. First it was Camille LeCointre and Aloise Retornaz (FRA) who were not a medal threat, but would slip by and go on to win the race. Then it was the eventual bronze medalists, Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA). The final dagger came at the leeward mark when Markfort and Loewe and their compatriots Fabienne Oster and Anastasiya Winkel (GER) converged from opposite sides of the course and both slipped inside the British team at the final mark rounding. The order wouldn’t change on the final leg, giving Loewe and Markfort the win, their first medal in a Hempel World Cup Series competition, while the silver went to Oster and Winkel, leaving Mills and McIntyre to ponder how something that had seemed so solid slipped away so quickly.

“What a comeback,” said Loewe moments after the finish, with a big smile. “[We didn’t think it was possible until] the very last downwind, close to the gate, really in the last moments.”

Markfort was quick to credit Loewe with finding that little bit of favourable wind at the last possible moment.

“I think having a good overview of the downwind is one of Freddie’s strengths throughout the whole regatta,” said Markfort. “We always managed to catch up on the downwinds because she always saw pressure that others didn’t see.”

Local favorites Stu McNay and David Hughes ended the regatta with a wire-to-wire win in the Men’s 470 Medal Race. But, with Naoki Ichino and Takashi Hasegawa (JPN) crossing the finish line right on the American’s heels, it was only good enough to move McNay and Hughes into fourth place. Ichino and Hasegawa held on to the bronze medal position they had at the beginning of the day and the same was true of the two teams ahead of them on the leader board. Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) were sixth in the Medal Race and claimed sliver while Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nicolás Rodríguez García-Paz finished third in the Medal Race and won gold.

“We are really happy,” said Xammar. “It’s amazing to win a World Cup event and the first of 2019. We had a long pre-season so to be on top of the podium is good for us. We were happy with how we sailed before the Medal Race, but winning and keeping gold ahead of the Swedish team who are one of the best guys in the fleet is really good.

“It was a tough Medal Race. We had a good start but we were blocked in with some boats. At the top mark we weren’t in a good place, but we knew it was a long race and we could take our chance. When we had it, we did a good move and went ahead of the Swedish and we held on from there.”

With nine of 10 sailors starting the Finn Medal Race mathematically alive for a medal, and third through sixth separated by three points, the only thing that seemed certain was that the results would change. But it would’ve been hard to predict the drama that unfolded during the course of the race, particularly on the first leg, with virtually the majority of the 10-boat fleet sitting in a medal position at one point or another during the race.

Max Salminen (SWE) started the race with a four-point cushion over second, but quickly found himself in the back half of the fleet and, as a result, out of the medals. Meanwhile Luke Muller (USA) streaked into the lead, and the virtual gold medal, by working a clear lane on the right side of the first beat. Then Muller was whistled for breaking the prohibition against pumping, and he dropped into last after completing his penalty turn.

“All from the beginning I thought it was looking better on the left,” said Salminen. “Right from the start, I could see everyone on the right of me, hooking into some more pressure. I was compromised in my lane and I thought I’d go grab some of that and then I felt like I was extending all the time.”

At the top mark, Oskari Muhonen (FIN) pulled into the lead, which he would keep throughout the race and jump from sixth to silver in the overall standings. Salminen rounded second and while he would drop to fifth by the finish it was enough to keep gold, especially when Jonathan Lobert (FRA), who started the day in second, dropped from fifth to 10th on the second upwind leg.

“The wind completely died on the first downwind and the fleet was completely compressed down to the gate,” said Salminen. “Then I saw that my main opponents were going to the left again, and it was looking better over there, so I went after them. Then they had lots of better pressure on the right again and it made things a bit exciting.”

Muller found new life in the light air and, against all odds, pulled back to fourth by the second windward mark. He was able to fend off Salminen on the final two legs to hold on for the bronze, his first medal in a Hempel World Cup Series event and the first for the host country this year.

“It means a lot,” said Muller of the medal. “Then again, it’s one regatta and we had pretty much one type of conditions and I’m pretty good at [those conditions]. I know that I have a lot of weaknesses and a lot to work on and I’m determined to keep going. It’s definitely a great step and I’m grateful for my team with Luther [Carpenter, U.S. Finn coach] and Caleb Paine and just hoping to go up from here.”

Paige Railey approached the Laser Radial Medal Race planning to do whatever she could to make up the 13-point gap that separated her from gold. But overnight leader Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) countered that by sticking close to Railey off the starting line and, when she gained a little bit of an edge, pressing that advantage to stay between Railey and the finish line. With Zhang and Railey sailing at the back of the fleet, the only remaining question was whether Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) would be able to put enough boats between herself and Railey and swan her bronze for Railey’s silver. That dream ended at the second windward mark when Karachaliou clipped the windward mark with her boom and was forced to do a circle.

“I am very happy to get the gold medal in Miami,” Zhang said. “Our whole team trained very hard for three months in preparation for this event. The wind here hasn’t been very stable so it’s been up and down for everyone this week.”

With gold and silver locked up prior the Laser Medal Race, the primary drama was whether Rio 2016 gold medalist Tom Burton (AUS) would be able to hold off a hungry pack of four sailors all with designs on the final spot on the podium.

Charlie Buckingham (USA) kept Burton honest by working his way into second on the opening leg and remaining there for the remainder of the race. Burton dropped as far down as fifth, which would’ve put his position at risk, but crossed the finish line in third, right on Buckingham’s heels. Sam Meech (NZL) won the race to put an exclamation point on his silver medal in the regatta. Herman Tomasgaard (NOR), the gold medal in hand after one of the most impressive Hempel World Cup Series performances in recent memory—he led by 65 points going into the Medal Race—finished last.

“It’s been a lot of training, and it’s nice to see the results from it and it’s a good inspiration to continue with the training,” said Tomasgaard. “I think I’m a sailor that needs to sail a lot to improve. Some of the top guys manage with not as much sailing, but if I don’t train so much I start doing big mistakes and technical things.”

Despite his scoreline, which included nine top-five finishes, it wasn’t a perfect regatta.

“It’s quite a lot of things,” he said. “The first race yesterday, I was thinking too much about the results and not enough about doing a good race. To the future I’ll think more about that. You always have mistakes in the race, it’s just about making the least. A lot of the downwinds can, for sure be better, when I’m in a group. And the starts can be better.”

Genoa, Italy will host the third round of the Hempel World Cup Series from 14 to 22 April followed by the Final in Marseille, France early June.

Day #6 Morning Report — How to Follow the Hempel World Cup Series Miami

There are only two certainties on the final day of the second event of the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series in Miami, USA and that’s that Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) and Sam Meech (NZL) will walk away with gold and silver in the Laser.

A fight for bronze is on the Laser but in the Men’s and Women’s 470, Finn and the Laser Radial, the game is wide open with all the medals to be decided.

Saturday’s action saw the 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, Men’s RS:X and Women’s RS:X conclude racing. Watch the races back here.

The fleets fought it out in light wind and more of the same is forecast for the final day. A north west morning breeze will quickly shift to the south west and with clear blue skies and a beating sun, a sea breeze will develop. This is forecast to bring 6-10 knots on the racing area.

The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will have coverage of the Hempel Sailing World Cup in Miami, Florida on February 2 and 3. Fans can catch all the action in spectacular high definition via, or through the Olympic Channel app which is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

Not All That Shines is Gold, Silver or Bronze at Hempel World Cup Series Miami

The first day of Medal Races at the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami came and went without too much noise from the U.S. Sailing Team. Just three American teams qualified to compete in one of the five Medal Races held on Biscayne Bay earlier today, and none started their respective final races with a shot at a medal. But look beyond the podium in Regatta Park and champagne celebrations and there was a lot to be positive about from a regatta where the wind was capricious at best and downright mystifying at worst.

Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and David Liebenberg (Livermore, Calif.) started the Nacra 17 Medal Race in 10th place and that’s where they remained once the boats finished. For a team that’s still getting their footing on the tricky foiling catamaran, however, this was a breakthrough performance.

“We started sailing together a year ago and we spent the last year trying to get the basics down and get to a point where we could really race with the fleet.,” said Newberry. “After a few months working with the U.S. team, mostly on speed, this fall, it was great to come into this regatta and see we can start focusing on racing and building our skills in that department now that we can get around the course. We’re really happy with our improvements as a team and it is exciting to make the Medal Race. That’s a nice sign that you’re doing it right.”

Click here for the World Sailing press release

The Nacra 17 class is sailing’s only coed class. Each team must have one man and one woman, though who skippers and crews is up to each team. Newberry was the only female helm in the Medal Race in Miami.

“There are a limited number of female helms internationally,” she said. “I think that historically that’s been more about experience. There are a lot of very experienced male helms in this fleet that have come from a high-performance background or the Tornado or other Olympic classes. I think over the next eight years you’re going to see more and more female helms in the class.”

Having a larger male in the crew position can be an advantage. Hoisting, trimming and dousing the spinnaker are among the most physically demanding tasks on the boat.

“That being said, the female crews out here are such bad asses,” she said. “In some conditions, it’s awesome to be set up the way we are. We know at top mark roundings and some of the more explosive areas of the racecourse for the crew, Dave has what it takes to really out perform some of the other teams. So that’s a nice thing to have in your back pocket.”

The trials for the U.S. berth in the Tokyo 2020 Games won’t start until later this year. In the meantime. Newberry is looking forward to more cooperative training with her fellow American Nacra 17 sailors.

“The Nacra squad is going quite well for the U.S.,” she said. “We’re all traveling together this spring and training together and working with the same coach. Four teams going to Palma, Hyeres, Genoa, Weymouth for our Europeans, so what I see is more collaboration and more skill building and working together as a team to keep improving the U.S. level until the trials. Hopefully we’ll still all be in a good place as a squad at that point.”

Rio 2016 Olympics Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) and Louisa Chafee (Warwick, R.I.) also competed in the Medal Race. The finished seventh in the race and eighth in the regatta.

Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Margaret Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) picked up what was available to them in the 49erFX Medal Race, finishing sixth and securing a ninth overall. Roble and Shea were among the regatta leaders after three races before struggling in the second half of the event. But when an invite to the Medal Race was on the line, they pulled out another strong finish in the final full-fleet race and qualified by three points.

In tomorrow’s Medal Races, which will once again be streamed live via the Olympic Channel app and on, two Americans will start in full control of their medal destiny.

Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) won today’s only race in the Finn class and will start tomorrow’s Medal Race wearing the red bib indicating he is currently in the bronze medal position. But the competition in this regatta among sailing’s heavyweight division couldn’t be much tighter. First through seventh is alive for the gold medal, while eighth and ninth have a very outside chance at a podium finish.

Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) was forced to battle from behind in both of today’s Laser Radial races, moving from 33rd to 24th in the first and 42nd to 14th in the second. On the strength of her earlier results, including three race wins, Railey can do no worse than bronze. Finishing seventh or better will guarantee her a silver and she can claim gold if Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) falters.

Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) started the day very much on the bubble of qualifying for the Laser Radial Medal Race. She stepped up to the pressure with a pair of top-10 finishes.

“I had a chance to get into the Medal Race, so that put a lot of mental stress into it,” she said of today’s racing. “Overall, the whole event has been really, really hard. Really challenging wind conditions, and today was the same. Just trying to keep chugging along, every-boat-counts kind of attitude.”

The breeze has been shifty all week, but Reineke said that focusing on the wind velocity was more important today.

“I thought I stayed in the most wind for the most part,” she said. “I think yesterday I fell out of the big pressure and some the other girls were always a little bit faster because they had more wind. So I just tried to keep my eyes open and look for the pressure. There were spots in the racecourse where there was literally no wind so you had to make sure you were always pointing your boat toward the next shift or pressure.”

With a strong performance tomorrow, Reineke could move up to fifth. But that possibility won’t affect how she approaches the race.

“A Medal Race is like any other race, so you’re going out there to try to win it,” she said. “That’s the only mentality that I have.”

Onshore after two races today, Laser sailor Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) could breath a sigh of relief. He’s the lone American in the medal race, with an outside chance at a bronze medal and a very realistic shot at fourth overall.

“The conditions were really tough this week and on top of that it was my trials for the Pan American games and the start of the Olympic test event trials,” he said. “The conditions were changing so much it was really hard to stay conservative. You had to take decisions to be at the front. That’s always hard when the decisions are 50-50 or 60-40 and that’s what it felt like all week.”

Buckingham’s metronomic scoreline, which included 10 race results from sixth to 24th, and one 46th, belied the challenge of sailing in the regatta’s deepest fleet. He was pleased with his ability to more consistently sniff out the shifts than most of his competitors.

“My speed was pretty good, I think my starts could’ve been better, but I was making good comebacks when I needed to do it and when I was in the front I was staying up there,” he said. “I think if you’re trusting what you see and going for, and it’s working, that helps you build confidence in your decisions in conditions like that. But it wasn’t that straightforward all the time. I had to have good speed and make some comebacks.”

Chris Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.) was the second-placed American in 14th, 10 points out of the Medal Race.

Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) had an up-and-down day in the Men’s 470 fleet. They dropped to sixth overall, with a slim chance of bronze tomorrow. Lucas Calabrese and Jack Parkin were on the edge of qualifying for the Medal Race, but missed out by 3 points.

In the Women’s 470 fleet, Atlantic and Nora Brugman are ninth and will sail tomorrow’s Medal Race with a legitimate shot of moving as high as fifth. Carmen and Emma Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) won a race today, showing flashes of the talent that lifted them to back-to-back world sailing youth championships in the 420 class. They finished 16th, with Nikole Barnes (St. Thomas, U.S.V.I) and Lara Dallman-Weiss in 17th, courtesy of a tiebreaker with the Cowles twins.

Photo Credit: Jesus Renedo & Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Sunday, February 3
Time: 12:00pm ET
Olympic Channel Event Page:
Broadcast: None
Digital:, Olympic Channel app

Sunday, February 10
Time: 6:00pm ET
Live Stream URL:
Broadcast: None
Digital:, Olympic Channel app

Five Podiums Decided at Hempel World Cup Series Miami

The pin may have been the preferred end of the starting line for the 49erFX Medal Race, the first of Day 5 of the Hempel World Cup Series Miami, but in light air there’s a lot of risk in starting in a pack.

So while Martine Soffiatti Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) did two tacks just before the gun and carved out a wide lane to work with at the committee boat end, overnight leaders Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) found themselves spit out the back of a pack of five boats all battling for position at the pin end.

“For us our goal was to have a clean start because in this light wind it’s very easy to get caught by the boat to leeward and I think we did that successfully,” said Grael, the defending gold medallist in the class from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “It was pretty shifty, I was very happy with how the racecourse was set up.”

Light air usually means a lot of passing lanes and opportunities to atone for a poor start. At times, it appeared that Maloney and Meech would be able to grind into the top six, which would’ve guaranteed them the gold medal. But in the end Grael and Kunze hung on for second and Maloney and Meech came out on the wrong side of a tough battle on the final run with Stephanie Roble and Margaret Shea (USA) and Odile van Aanholt and Marieke Jongens (NED). The Kiwis finished ninth and dropped into silver. Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) were fourth in the race to earn the bronze medal.

“It was a hard decision which side of the course to go,” said Kunze. “We were just picking which shift [to tack on] and we did a really good race.”

The pin end was also the popular starting spot for the 49er class. In fact, there were so many boats starting at the pin end that fully half of the 10-boat fleet was over the line early. Among those crossing the line prematurely were Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) and James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR), who started the Medal Race second and third, respectively. Only Fletcher-Scott and Bithell returned to start properly. But they were so far behind there was no chance of challenging pre-race leaders Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) for the gold medal, even though the German team didn’t exactly have the greatest start.

“The situation before the race was we were quite a few points ahead of Dylan and Stu, so it was a quite an easy start for us in the race,” said Ploessel. “We wanted to just get in and stay calm a little bit don’t match [race] too much. Then we matched a little bit at the start, but did our own start and that was fine. It turned out that at the start there were so many boats over that it was actually over, the race for the gold medal, because Dylan could not put enough boats between us so we had a fun race.”

Heil and Ploessel crossed the line third to secure the gold. Winning the Medal Race was another German team, Tim Fischer and Fabian Graf. In fact there were a record four German teams in the Medal Race.

“We are really happy that we have such a strong fleet,” said Ploessel. “It’s the first time ever that there were four boats from Germany in the Medal Race in a World Cup. It’s just better for everybody if they’re more good guys around. Everybody’s got to improve and there’s a higher chance for a medal in Tokyo.”

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) quickly removed much of the drama from the Nacra 17 Medal Race, at least in terms of who would get the gold. In fact, the defending Olympic silver medallists took control of the race before even crossing the starting line.

“The points were almost equal,” said Waterhouse, noting that he and Darmanin started the double-points Medal Race just four points ahead of Samuel Albrecht and Gabriela Nicolino de Sá (BRA). “We had to keep an eye on Santi Lange (ARG), but really it was almost a match race [with the Brazilian team]. I saw an opportunity where they got a little high above the start line and thought, ‘This is our chance to really sort of control them.’ We just managed to execute quite well. It’s really hard in those variable conditions because a small puff can come from anywhere and it changes the game. Lisa did a great job today keeping us going the right direction and I just focused on the competition.”

Having gained the upper hand off the line, Waterhouse and Darmanin left nothing to chance, stretching away from the fleet for a wire-to-wire win and the gold medal. Albrecht and Nicolino de Sá were third in the race to hold on to the silver while Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli were fourth and claimed bronze.

While Waterhouse still feels that the Brazilian team has an edge in light air, he is pleased with the progress he and Darmanin have made addressing one of their weaknesses.

“That’s why we’re here at the Hempel World Cup Series Miami,” he said. “It’s pretty renowned for light winds, and that’s an area we really need to improve in. We struggled at the worlds in those conditions and took a big, hard look at ourselves and said, ‘What have we got to do to get better.’ and I guess the simple answer is, find a place with light winds. No matter the result, whether we won or got 10th, the goal was to learn as much as we could by coming here. We’re surprised with the win, but we actually sailed pretty bloody well.”

In a light breeze, the RS:X is the most punishing Olympic sailing discipline to sail. Sailors will pump their sail all the way around the track to generate boat speed. With their heart rate at its limit for the entire 30 minute fleet race and 20 minute Medal Race, they must also make tactical decisions based on the wind and keep track of their competition.

When Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (POL) was caught starting early in the Women’s RS:X, the equation was at least simplified a little bit: Three women for three podium spots. The question remained, who would finish where.

Yunxiu Lu (CHN) started the race in first and was determined not to let the gold slip through her fingers.

“Today the wind was light, everybody was working hard,” said Lu. “The start line was very competitive, it was difficult. The Polish girl got an OCS. I just thought ‘work hard!’ Just pumping, pumping, pumping. ‘Keep going, need to go faster than everybody.’ I tried to do my best and it worked.”

Chinese sailors swept the top three spots in the Medal Race. Hongmei Shi was first, Lu second and Rio 2016 silver medalist Peina Chen was third. But only Lu stood on the podium in Regatta Park. Katy Spychakov (ISR) won silver while Charline Picon (FRA) took bronze.

Pawel Tarnowksi (POL) took a risk at the start of the Men’s RS:X Medal Race and it cost him a spot on the podium. The Polish sailor carried a six-point lead into the Medal Race, but the 22 points he picked up from the early start allowed three sailors to slip past him in the overall standings. Bing Ye (CHN) was the primary benefactor, going wire-to-wire for the win, which ensured him the gold medal. Radoslaw Furmanski (POL) earned the sliver with Pierre Le Coq (FRA) grabbing bronze.

“It’s really exciting to be here at World Hempel Series Miami Cup for the first time,” Ye said. “The sailing is really challenging here, but it was a really great opportunity to race here.”

Ye won the world championship in the RS:X class in 2017, but struggled in the 2018 World Championships, finishing 40th. This was an impressive return to form for Ye, but he’s careful not to look too far ahead.

“I’m only focused on the present, to do my best each day,” he said. “But I can promise I will show you a better performance in Tokyo.”

Both the Laser and Laser Radial fleets were able to scratch and claw their way to a full series. Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) had his first bobble of the regatta, with a 30th, but rebounded with a third in the final race and will take a stunning 65-point lead into tomorrow’s Medal Race. He has locked up gold, and by no small margin. Sam Meech (NZL) has secured silver, provided he finishes the race, while Tom Burton (AUS) will need to hold off a handful of sailors with an outside chance of winning bronze. Burton must finish fifth or better to ensure himself of a medal.

The situation isn’t much different in the Laser Radial class. Donshuang Zhang (CHN) leads Paige Railey (USA) by 13 points. Both of those sailors are assured of a medal, Zhang can do no worse than silver. Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) is third and guaranteed at least a bronze provided she finishes the Medal Race.

The Finn class is set up for a very competitive Medal Race. No position in the top three is secure, with first through seventh mathematically alive for the gold. The class will put the live scoring algorithm to the test tomorrow. Max Salminen (SWE) has the lead by four points over Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and eight points over Luke Muller (USA), who won today’s only race. But just three points separate Muller from Oskari Muhonen (FIN) in sixth.

The top three boats in the Women’s 470 fleet are separated by just four points, setting up an intriguing battle for the podium positions. Frekerike Loewe and Anna Markfort (GER) are currently at the top of the standings with Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) second and Fabienne Oster and Anastasiya Winkel (GER) in third. Should any of those teams falter in the Medal Race, Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA) will be eager jump onto the podium.

The nature of the Medal Race, which counts for double points and as the tiebreaker, means that any two teams within two points of one another are effectively tied. Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) may lead the regatta by a point over Spain’s Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nicolás Rodríguex García-Paz, but it will be a who-beats-whom battle for gold tomorrow. Naoki Ichino and Takashi Hasegawa (JPN) and Balázs Gyapjas and Zsombor Gyapjas (HUN) are tied for third and technically alive for gold. But it’s given the 14-point spread from second to third, it’s probable those latter two teams will be marking one another in the race for bronze.

Racing commences at 12:00 local time and will be available to watch on World Sailing’s YouTube and Facebook.

Day #5 Morning Report — How to Follow the Hempel World Cup Series Miami

Tension is high in Miami for the second round of the Hempel World Cup Series as the first day of Medal Races are scheduled to take place on the waters of Biscayne Bay.

Medallists in the 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, Men’s RS:X and Women’s RS:X will be decided today and there is plenty that can happen with the scores tight at the top of the leaderboards.

Click here for the results.

Miami has tested the competitors across four days of racing with light wind present across the five racing areas. The breeze is forecast to be light once again with an east south east breeze.

The fleet starting their Medal Races at 12:00 local time will sail in light air but an Atlantic sea breeze could develop towards the latter part of the afternoon bringing in 6-9 knots.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Possible for U.S. Nacra 17 Squad

Teamwork takes on a new meaning when it’s just you and your partner skimming across the water at 30 knots on the Nacra 17’s tiny hydrofoils. There’s little time for verbal communication, so every move must be perfectly choreographed. And mistakes can be costly. You have to know what your partner will do before he or she does it.

But that wasn’t the sort of teamwork that Louise Chafee (Warwick, R.I.) was praising after she and skipper Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) won the day, with 13 points across three races on Day 4 of the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami, and qualified for tomorrow’s double-points Medal Race. She was instead referring to the genuine partnership that exists between the handful of American teams competing in the class. Only one of them will qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo in 18 months time. But for any American team to go there with a hope at a medal, they must all work together to lift their collective game. Sarah Newberry and David Liebenberg (Livermore, Calif.) will join Gulari and Chafee in the Medal Race, which will be aired live along with the four other Medal Races scheduled for tomorrow via the Olympic Channel app and online streaming platform.

“What’s really cool is we’ve been working really hard as a squad,” said Chafee. “Traditionally, with the American teams, it’s been every team for itself. What the Nacra teams have been doing a very good job with, with our coach Mike [Ingham], is we’ve been working together. There are no secrets. Anything we learn, we share with the teams in the debriefs. That way we’re all getting better together.

Chafee knows first-hand the level required to win an Olympic medal. She and Gulari sailed together at the Rio 2016 Games, finishing eighth. They each competed with different partners for the first half of the quad before reuniting this fall. An intense training block, which started in November, has put them back in the hunt. But they struggled out of the gate in Miami. They closed out yesterday with a win and were at the sharp end of the fleet all day today, in conditions that flummoxed even the defending gold and silver medalists in the class.

“We’re definitely trending upward, which is awesome,” said Chafee. “Bora and I haven’t sailed together in a few years now. We’re just getting back into the racing swing of things together, getting in sync. The nerves have calmed down a little bit, the anxiety, we’re taking some deep breaths and make sure that we’re doing the right things right and not making that second mistake, which is always the killer.”

Chafee explained that in the Nacra class—if not in all the Olympic classes—mistakes happen. No one is immune.

“You’re just thinking, ‘OK we made one mistake,’ and we’ve got to look for our next moment,” said Chafee. “Where do we go from here? If our plan is to go right and we made the mistake of getting shut out at the start, for example, do we re-valuate our plan and say we want to go left ,or do we say oh no, we still want to go right, we made a mistake in our start, but we’re going to duck these boats and go right.”

In terms of the overall results, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to move up for either American team in the Medal Race. But there’s a lot of time until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the U.S. team is moving, as a group, in the right direction. Ravi Parent (Sarasota, Fla.) and Caroline Atwood closed the regatta with a second and moved into 13th overall while Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anna Weis were 15th. No other country had more than two teams in the top 15.

“You look at the top teams, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, they all consistently have multiple boats in the top 10,” said Chafee. “They’re all working together. To see America do that and have two teams into the top 10 for this event. That’s awesome. I’m really psyched for the squad and our own personal team.”

Only one other U.S. team will sail in tomorrow’s Medal Races. Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Margaret Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) were unable to keep up the pace that had them leading the regatta at one point. But they pulled out an eighth place in today’s final race and move into ninth overall. They have a decent shot at moving up one space during tomorrow’s race. Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Anna Tobias were the second-placed American team in 17th.

No fleet saw more movement at the top of the standings than the 49er fleet. Two American teams were, at one time or another, inside the top 10. But when the dust settled after two races today, neither qualified. Ian Barrows (St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.) and Mitchell Kiss (Holland, Mich.,) led the American squad in 14th. Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) and Mac Agnese (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) were 19th.

In the RS:X classes Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) and Pedro Pascual were the top American finishers in 27th and 37th, respectively.

Among the fleets that will finish their full-fleet races tomorrow in preparation for Sunday’s Medal Races, the news was better.

Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), dominated the Laser Radial class with a fifth and two firsts. With eight races down and two more tomorrow, she has a nine-point lead over second place. Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) is 12th and just one point out of 10th.

Charlie Buckingham’s (Newport Beach, Calif.) consistency in the Laser fleet has him in fourth, one point out of third and 19 points out of silver. Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) has dominated this regatta in a way not often seen. He has just 21 points through nine races. Chris Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.) is 11th and in striking distance of the top five.

Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) broke through for a win in the second Finn race today. But he still has a bit of work to do to make the Medal Race. Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) is in a very strong position, sitting sixth with up to three races tomorrow, though the top half of this class is very tightly packed.

The Men’s 470 class has two teams in the top 10, Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) are seventh while Lucas Calabrese and Jack Parkin are 10th. With just six races finished and up to three scheduled for tomorrow, there’s the potential for a lot of movement at the top of the standings.

In the Women’s 470 class, Atlantic and Nora Brugman are currently seventh, but will need to hold off a host of strong teams to make the Medal Race on Sunday.

49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and the RS:X windsurfer Medal Races will be live across World Sailing’s YouTube and Facebook from 12:00 local time on Saturday 2 February. Fleet racing for the remaining fleets starts at 10:30 local time.

Photo Credit: Jesus Renedo & Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Sailors Navigate Light Wind on the Path to Hempel World Cup Series Medal Races

With 18 months until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition, now is the time for medal hopefuls to do an honest self-assessment and figure out what weaknesses they need to shore up before the big show.

For Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS), the silver medallists from Rio 2016, one of the areas in need of improvement is light air speed. They came to Hempel World Cup Series Miami looking for the light, shifty conditions that most recreational sailors would rather avoid. To their delight, Biscayne Bay has delivered just what they needed.

“We’re really happy with how we’ve been sailing this week considering the conditions,” said Waterhouse. “In terms of racing, our main focus has just been consistency throughout the week as those conditions, it’s just so variable with your results. Also we’ve been struggling in the last year with our light air speed and we’ve been trying to focus on improving that. It’s hard to tell in such shifty conditions, but I think we’ve made little leaps in that.”

The Australians started the regatta with a 14th, but have been lights-out ever since. Eight of their 12 finishes have been inside the top-five and they will head into tomorrow’s double-points Medal Race with a four-point lead.

The Medal Races for all 10 classes will be streamed live on World Sailing’s YouTube and Facebook channels starting at 12:00 local time.

In second place heading into the Medal Race is Samuel Albrecht and Gabriela Nicolino de Sá (BRA). Albrecht finished 10th at the Rio 2016 Games with another crew.

The Brazilian team was leading the regatta until a 14th in today’s first race. But they rebounded with a pair of wins.

“We had a very hard first race,” said Nicolino de Sá. “We managed to finish 14th, but at one point we were around 20th. We did not have a clear sight of what was going on on the racecourse. But then we sat together, talked about it and decided to simplify things for the next races and it worked. [We focused on] clear lanes during the upwind mostly, getting out of trouble with other boats and trusting the numbers on our compass.”

If she was disappointed to have lost the lead, Nicolino de Sá didn’t show it.

“[Waterhouse and Darmanin] won silver medal in the last Olympics and they have been sailing together for quite a while,” she said. “We’re actually very happy to be battling against them. Not sure what to expect yet for tomorrow, we just want to give it our best.”

To hear Waterhouse talk about it, that may be all he and Darmanin can handle, especially if the forecast holds for less than 10 knots of breeze.

“The Brazilians are definitely the quickest in the light breeze,” he said. “We’ve just been trying to sail smart tactically to get around the lack of boatspeed.”

Should either of those teams falter significantly in the Medal Race, the crafty veterans and defending gold medalists Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) could take advantage. They are 12 points behind second and 16 points out of first.

A key component of Laser sailor Hermann Tomasgaard’s (NOR) preparation for the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami involved a week at the Laser Training Center in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Aside from the obvious—tropical mid-winter weather—Tomasgaard went there for the consistently strong winds.

“We had a good group with the British and the Swedish and a lot of hiking, a lot of strong winds,” he said. “That’s maybe the problem you can have in Europe this time of year, you can have a lot of light winds, You get some strong-wind days, but never really for one and a half weeks.”

This regatta, however, has been anything but windy, with just one race that tested the sailors’ abdominal muscles. Nonetheless, Tomasgaard clearly found something in the azure Caribbean waters because he has been phenomenally fast and unbelievably consistent in some of the most mentally demanding conditions in a fleet where top-half finishes in the gold fleet are often considered keepers.

With two full-fleet races remaining and then Sunday’s Medal Race, Tomasgaard has established a 44-point lead over second place. His worst finish is a sixth. One decent race tomorrow and he will have clinched the gold with two races to spare, a virtually unheard-of feat in the modern Medal-Race format.

“It’s been very good,” he said. “Sailing is a little up and down all the time, and this week I’ve had quite a lot of up. I’m just enjoying it right now. I’ve had moments [like this before], but maybe not for as long as now. Now it’s been every race. It’s been good.”

The conditions today were similar to the previous three days, light and shifty.

“It was difficult, very, very shifty,” he said. “Big shifts from both sides. Quite light and big pressure differences as well with the shifts. [Success required managing a] little bit of both. We had a left pressure that was really stationary, that you really had to go into. It was in all the upwinds, almost, that you gained a little bit on that left shift, but it was difficult to know how far into it you had to go.”

He also credited a lot of his success to his ability to get off the starting line cleanly.

“I’ve had good starts, really good starts and I’ve tried to keep an open mind,” he said. “I tried to start where I think it’s going to be the best and keep an open mind and change my plan if I see something new coming.”

Should his final few races follow this pattern, Tomasgaard will have put together one of the more remarkable scorelines in recent memory. With 18 months until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is he peaking too early? Tomasgaard doesn’t see it that way.

“I’ve been climbing the last few years in the results, and it’s nice to see that the winter trainings are working well,” he said. “So I kind of take that, like ‘OK, we’re on the right track.’ Still, it’s early in the season, and a lot can change from Miami.”

Sam Meech (NZL) is second in the class with 65 points while Rio 2016 gold medalist Tom Burton (AUS) is third and Charlie Buckingham (USA) is fourth.

With a second in the final full-fleet race of the regatta, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) put themselves in a strong position going into tomorrow’s Medal Race in the 49erFX. They have a 12-point lead over Rio 2016 gold medalists Martine Soffiatti Grael and Kahene Kunze (BRA) and Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR). With fourth place 20 points further behind, the medalists are all but locked in. The final order will be decided tomorrow.

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) had their worst result of the regatta in the second of three races in the 49er class. But they won the other two and will carry an 11.7-point lead into the Medal Race. They are guaranteed at least a silver medal, Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) are second while countrymen James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) are third.

Overnight leader Radoslaw Furmanski (POL) struggled in today’s three races in the Men’s RS:X class, but he’s still at the top of the leaderboard thanks to his strong start to the regatta and a tiebreaker, which positions him provisionally ahead of Pierre le Coq (FRA). Mateo Sanz Lanz (SUI) is third, just four points back. With just 20 points separating first from 10th, there is the potential for the results to shift around quite a bit in tomorrow’s Medal Race.

It’s equally as tight at the top of the Women’s RS:X class, where two points separate Yunxiu Lu (CHN) in first from Charline Picon (FRA) in third. Katy Spychakov (ISR) is second. The scoring mechanics of the Medal Race, which is worth double points and also counts as the tiebreaker means those three sailors are effectively tied for the lead. The back half of the top 10 is a little more spread out. Only Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (POL) has a realistic chance of breaking into the medals.

Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Rio 2016 bronze medalist Caleb Paine (USA) picked up the day’s race wins. Lobert is poised to strike in fourth but Paine only has an outside chance to qualify for Sunday’s Medal Race. He is 17th overall, 13 points off tenth. Tapio Nirrko (FIN) and Max Salminen (SWE) swapped places at the head of the fleet. But with potentially three races tomorrow there’s a lot of opportunity remaining.

Paige Railey showed again that experience counts, both in terms of time in the Laser Radial and time on tricky Biscayne Bay. She won two races today, finished fifth in a third, and will carry a nine-point lead into the final day of full-fleet racing. Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) won the third race and is currently second. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) is third, 27 points off the lead. Railey is currently throwing out a black flag disqualification, which does make her margin for error in tomorrow’s final two races a little narrower than some of the other top sailors.

With an eighth and a third, the Swedish team of Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström has built a 4-point lead in the Men’s 470. Naoki Ichino and Takashi Hasegawa (JPN) won the day’s second race and moved into second while Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nicolás Rodríguez García-Paz had the best overall day with a first and a fifth and are now in third.

Fabienne Oster and Anatasiya Winkel (GER) have been a model of consistency in the Women’s 470 fleet. They have yet to win a race, but have finished no worse than sixth. With six races down, and possibly three more tomorrow before Sunday’s Medal Race, the German team has a four-point lead over Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA) and a six-point advantage over Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR).

49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and the RS:X windsurfer Medal Races will be live across World Sailing’s YouTube and Facebook from 12:00 local time on Saturday 2 February. Fleet racing for the remaining fleets starts at 10:30 local time.

Day #4 Morning Report — How to Follow the World Cup Series Miami

Friday is a crucial day for the 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, Men’s RS:X and the Women’s RS:X at the Hempel World Cup Series Miami as the sailors aim to qualify for Saturday’s Medal Races.

The opening series will conclude and the top ten will advance, targeting a spot on the podium. For the remaining classes, racing continues as normal with the sailors aiming to push up the leaderboard or retain their spot at the front of the fleet.

Tuesday and Wednesday saw some frustrating conditions for the sailors and Race Committee as light winds were present across Biscayne Bay. The breeze picked up on Thursday, allowing the sailors to catch up on races lost.

Although there is a chance for showers on Friday, the breeze is set to pick up to 10-15 knots from the east south east, allowing the fleets who are still behind to catch further up.


Click here to view the entry list in full.
Click here to view the full results

Daily highlights will be available across the World Sailing Network. Click here to subscribe.

Live tracking, sailor analytics, live weather data and racing status will be available on the platform here –

Follow the event on World Sailing’s social networks and get involved in the conversation using #HWCSMiami
Facebook –
Instagram –
Twitter – @worldsailing

All World Sailing international press releases throughout the duration of the Hempel World Cup Series, including the latest news and reports, are available to read here.

The Hempel World Cup Series is a world-class, annual series of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors. Over 2,000 of the World’s leading sailors, representing over 75 nations have competed in the Hempel World Cup Series which offers a definitive guide to the best-of-the-best in the Olympic sailing world.

Scroll to top