The 182 sailors from 45 countries got off to a great start on Monday at 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami, USA. 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 races.
The second of five days of fleet racing begins this morning on Biscayne Bay. The top sailors from each fleet with compete in Medal Races this Saturday, January 25.
Tuesday’s weather is mostly sunny and a high temperature of 70 degrees. There is a cold Northwest gradient wind, which will bring 12-16 knots to the Bay this morning, including gusts to 20 knots. Conditions in the afternoon will be much more shifty and puffy.
Bottom wind speeds: 10-12 knots
Top wind speeds: 18-20 knots
On Monday, the 182 sailors from 45 nations demonstrated their skills on spectacular Biscayne Bay in the first of six days of racing at 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami, USA. Hempel World Cup Miami marks the second instalment of the 2020 Series and the only stop in North America.
The competition this week consists of fleet racing for all seven classes on Monday through Friday and Medal Races on Saturday, January 25 featuring the week’s top teams. Medal Races will be broadcast live on World Sailing’s YouTube Channel.
As the racing heats up in Miami this week, the sailors here also have their sights set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition, only six months away. World Cup Miami is the final opportunity for North American nations to qualify for the 2020 Games across the 470, RS:X, Laser, Laser Radial and Finn fleets.
Principal Race Officer (PRO) Maria Torrijo of Spain had this to say about the forecasted racing conditions this week. “I think the conditions here on the Bay this week will be perfect. We should have 10 to 15 knots every day, and we believe it will be quite windy later in the week. The classes we have here are good enough to race in 25 knots. We are quite confident we will get in all our races this week.”
Olympic qualification is paramount for 23-boat Laser Radial fleet. Aruba’s Philipine van Aanholt, St. Lucia’s Stephanie Devaux-Lovell, Mexico’s Elena Oetling and Sofia Ximena Palacios, Puerto Rico’s Sylvette Perez Figueroa and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Arrindell are all aiming for Tokyo 2020.
Oetling got off to a strong start by finishing third in Race 1 and 12th in Race 2 and she is in fifth place overall. Devaux-Lovell is in seventh place after posting a 6-15 scoring line on Monday.
“It’s such a small fleet, you can really see who is out there and I may have struggled with that today,” said Devaux-Lovell. “I’m going to take that forward and tomorrow I’m going to just sail my own race. Usually I’m strong in these conditions. It was quite shifty with pressure differences. Sometimes you have to get your head out of the boat and see what’s going on and sail to the breeze.”
Leading the Laser Radial fleet is Viktorija Andrulyte of Lithuania, who placed first and second today. The top American is Erika Reineke who is in fourth place (4-3).
Over in the Laser, two bullets for Joaquin Blanco (ESP) puts him top, with Andrew Lewis (TTO) and Stefano Peschiera (PER) close behind.
Bermuda’s Rockal Evans is going up against Mexican representatives Juan Perez Soltero and Alejandro Perez Ontiveros for the North American Tokyo 2020 Finn spot.
“Today was a tricky day on the racecourse,” said Evans. “We got a clear start in the first race, got a good lane, and just played the shifts upwind and downwind, so I’m happy with my results. The breeze picked up a bit in the second race and they put up the free pumping flag. We had another good start and two good downwinds for another good result.”
Along with racecourse and shifting conditions, Evans is also tracking his primary competition this week.
“It’s a lot about the racecourse, but also the other countries, like Mexico, who are also going for the North American spot, so it’s a lot about keeping my eyes on them, plus playing the racecourse and getting boats in between us. It’s a lot of work.”
The American selection process also continues this week in the Finn. After one event, Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) has an eight-point advantage over Rio 2016 bronze medallist Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.). Muller earned the bronze medal last year in Miami.
Following wins in both Race 1 and Race 2, Paine takes an early lead in the Finn. Two Americans are in the top four, as Muller is in fourth place (5-3).
“I’m just focused on my own sailing this week,” said Paine. “I’m working on fleet management and trying to minimize splitting away. We are also emphasizing downwinds, but it was a bit of a struggle today trying to get the right feel for the downwinds. But all-around it’s been much better, just a few minor mistakes that can be easily corrected.”
The race for Olympic qualification for the 470 Men in North America is between Canada and Mexico, who have three teams respectively. Leading the way between these two countries are Hector & Jeronimo Guzman of Mexico who stand in 20th place overall after two races (14-25).
“We are trying our best not to be too aggressive this week,” said Jeronimo Guzman. “We want to sail as smart as possible and be faster than the other countries we are competing against for the Olympic spot. We need to focus on having good races so we can be at our best.”
Fronting the 30-boat Men’s 470 fleet overall is Anton Dahlberg & Fredrick Bergström of Sweden (3-2). The top American team is Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) & David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) in fourth place (1-11).
French duo Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz already have a good advantage in the 470 Women, with two race wins putting them ahead of nearest competitors Elena Berta & Bianca Caruso (ITA) and Frederike Loewe & Anna Markford (GER).
In the RS:X Men’s fleet, two wins out of three for Pedro Pascual (USA) sets him ahead of David Mier Y Teran (MEX) and Ignacio Berenguer (MEX).
Mexico are also performing well in the RS:X Women’s fleet, with Mariana Aguilar and Demita Vega de Lille first and third respectively. Megumi Komine (JPN) is second.
Racing resumes on Tuesday 21st January at 11:00am (UTC-5) on Biscayne Bay.
For a complete review of Monday’s race results and standings, please click here.
The 182 sailors from 45 countries will begin their first of five days of fleet racing on Monday, January 20 at the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami, USA. Sailors will be competing for positions in the Medal Races this Saturday, January 25.
The weather for Monday features mostly cloudy skies with a chance of showers. A cold front has moved through and cooler air will filter down from the North. A light Northwest breeze this morning will turn North later in the morning. The wind speed this morning will be in the 5-10 knot range, increasing this afternoon to 10-14 knots. The high temp for Monday is 74 degrees.
Start times are posted. Updates were made to start times on Sunday night to the Men’s Laser, Women’s 470, Men’s RS:X, and Women’s RS:X.
Morning Quote: Meredith Brody, Event Co-Chair
“It is wonderful to bring the world’s stage to the waters of Biscayne Bay. This year we will have 50 nations racing, many of which are vying for spots to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Miami has been supporting this event for over three decades and has provided a consistent spot on the international racing calendar bringing the best of the best to the U.S.”
Ahead of the Hempel World Cup Series event in Miami, USA, sailors and officials teamed up on Friday 17 January to rescue a coral reef.
The expedition, led by World Sailing and the University of Miami, and supported by Hempel, World Sailing’s Official Coatings Partner, and World Sailing’s Beyond Sport Climate Action Award, saw six international sailors alongside further officials become citizen scientists.
Throughout the four-hour expedition, the sailors were able to learn about the stresses on coral reefs such as climate change and pollution before planting over 150 staghorn corals that had been nursery-reared by the University.
Laser Radial sailors Estere Kumpina (LAT), Valeria Lomatchenko (RUS) and Philipine van Aanholt (ARU), Finn sailors Kyle Martin (CAN) and Alexey Selivanov (RUS) and Laser sailor Tijn van der Gulik (ARU) all participated. US Sailing also supported through the participation of their Olympic Director, Meredith Brody.
The expedition supported World Sailing’s Sustainability Agenda 2030, sailing’s bold contribution to global sustainability, with a view to providing education to international sailors as well as making a contribution to enhance the local environment through hosting a World Sailing event.
Dan Reading, Head of Sustainability at World Sailing, commented, “Today was a great opportunity for the sailors and officials to learn about the local marine environment, as well as carry out some hands-on citizen science whilst contributing to the health of the marine ecosystem.
“The regatta has partnered with the University of Miami for several years and we were excited to offer this expedition to sailors which proved to be very popular.”
Dalton Hesley, Program Manager at Rescue a Reef, said, “Today was really successful. In total we were able to outplant over 150 corals which was amazing.
“Rescue a Reef is an extension of our coral research lab at the University of Miami, with a focus on citizen science. We want to better connect with the general public and actually have them play a role in our research and restoration.
“It was great to have sailors on board. They understood how to work as a team and learned very quickly. We accomplished everything we wanted to and then some! It was a pleasure to work with everybody today.”
The sustainability focus in Miami did not end there. On Saturday 18 January, a mangrove clean was held for sailors and the local community.
Seventy youth sailors from a number of local sailing clubs joined Olympic sailors and hopefuls all working together to pick up plastic in the area. Working with local organisation ‘Send it for The Sea’ (who weighed the plastic) they were able to collect 295kg (650lbs).
This further demonstrates World Sailing’s commitment to working with local organising committees to benefit the local environment.
The Hempel World Cup Series rolls into Miami, in the sunshine state of Florida, USA from 19 – 25 January 2020 for the second instalment of the 2020 Series.
205 sailors from 49 nations will race across seven fleets in Miami and the stakes are high for North American competitors. The event is the final opportunity for nations to qualify to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition across the 470 and RS:X fleets, Laser, Laser Radial and Finn.
Racing commences on Monday 20 January and will conclude with seven Medal Races on Saturday 25 January, which will be broadcast live on World Sailing’s YouTube Channel.
The Laser will be 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 will have 12 Laser representatives all capable of qualifying the nation in Miami. Mexico will have four and Antigua two. The higher number of sailors, the better the chance but arguably the favourite to book his nations spot in Tokyo 2020 will be Trinidad and Tobago’s Andrew Lewis.
Lewis, a two-time Olympian after racing at London 2012 and Rio 2016, secured his first ever Hempel World Cup Series medal in Genoa, Italy last season in a tough fleet. Robert Davis of Canada will also strongly fancy his chances of qualifying after beating Lewis by two points to sixth place at the 2019 Pan Games, but with a high number of nations on the startline, the competition will be tense.
Peru’s Stefano Peschiera qualified his nation at the first time of asking at the 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships and with a good run of results behind him, he will be a firm favourite for gold, but expect Davis, Lewis and Mexico’s Yanic Gentry to also fight for the podium.
The qualification battle will be on in the 23-boat Laser Radial fleet. Aruba’s Philipine van Aanholt, St. Lucia’s Stephanie Devaux-Lovell, Mexico’s Elena Oetling and Sofia Ximena Palacios, Puerto Rico’s Sylvette Perez Figueroa and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Arrindell are all targeting Tokyo 2020.
The sailors tested themselves against each other at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. Mexico’s Oetling finished ahead of her rivals then by a good distance, but the experience in these situations belongs to Aruba’s van Aanholt. A London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian, the Aruban knows what it takes to get to the Olympic start line.
A good number of leading Laser Radial sailors will be in the Miami fleet including 2019 bronze medallist and current World #4 Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE), 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Champion Viktorija Andrulyte (LTU) and Uruguay’s Dolores Moreira Fraschini.
The highest calibre of competition will be in the 470 fleets where 30 male and 18 female teams will race.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS), Jordi Xammar and Nico Rodriguez (ESP) and Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) have fought for major titles over the last 12 months and regularly share the podium.
At the Enoshima triple-header in August and September, where the trio sailed at the 470 World Championships, READY STEADY TOKYO and Hempel World Cup Series Enoshima, the Australians took three golds. The Spaniards took two silver medals and a bronze and the Swedes secured a silver, bronze and a fourth place.
They will continue their fight in Miami as they aim to put a marker down ahead of Tokyo 2020. The race for Olympic qualification in North American will be between Canada and Mexico who have three teams respectively.
In the Women’s 470, Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz of France have emerged as Tokyo 2020 medal favourites after they secured the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series title, gold at READY STEADY TOKYO and the 2019 European Championship. They will spearhead the Women’s 470 fleet with further contenders including Afrodite Zegers and Lobke Berkhout (NED), defending Miami champions Frederike Loewe and Anna Markfort (GER) and Silvia Mas and Patricia Cantero (ESP).
The only nation in the running for the North American Tokyo 2020 spot in the Women’s 470 is the USA. The event also acts as an American team qualifier with Nikola Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss, Carmen and Emma Cowles as well as Atlantic and Nora Brugman evenly-matched.
Bermuda’s Rockal Evans will face off against Mexican representatives Juan Perez Soltero and Alejandro Perez Ontiveros for the North American Tokyo 2020 Finn spot. The fleet of 15 will also see the American selection process continue. After one event, Luke Muller has an eight-point advantage over Rio 2016 bronze medallist Caleb Paine.
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 favour, with five-time Olympian David Mier Y Teran and youthful Ignacio Berenguer leading the charge. The Dominican Republic’s Samuel Perez Hults is relatively inexperienced in comparison to the pair, with his best result a 24th at the 2019 READY STEADY TOKYO. In total, 12 sailors will race in the Men’s RS:X fleet and the event will also act as an American qualifier for Tokyo 2020.
Nikola Girke (CAN) will make 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 so Girke will confirm the spot by completing the event.
Racing will commence at 11:00 local time on Monday 20 January 2020 and run through to Saturday 25 January where seven Medal Races will decide the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami Champions.
Next week, Hempel World Cup Series Miami launches from spectacular Biscayne Bay for an important milestone on the road to the 2020 Olympic Regatta in Enoshima, Japan.
For 31 years, Biscayne Bay and Miami have been an important stop on the Olympic-class circuit. Among the 171 athletes, from 50 countries, are numerous Olympic medalists and World Champions. The Opening Series for each class starts on Monday, January 20. The top 10 athletes or teams in each of the seven classes will advance to the double-points Medal Race on Saturday, January 25. Medals will be awarded to the top three boats in each class.
Additionally, for the first time, the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami is partnering with the SORC Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race to host a doublehanded offshore event. The doublehanded class event is also new for the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race. Doublehanded offshore teams will start south of Port Everglades on Thursday, January 23 and race to Key West.
US Sailing Team athletes will be competing in all classes except the Laser. American athletes will be competing in all classes.
Olympic Country Qualification: In the Women’s 470 class, the U.S. athletes will have the final opportunity to qualify the United States for representation at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Because more countries compete in the Olympic classes than there are spots at the Games, the country has to qualify for representation before athletes can be named to Team USA. A U.S. Women’s 470 team must be the top North American in Miami to claim the spot for Olympic qualification. This is the last country qualification event for the United States. The U.S. is currently qualified in 8 of 10 classes (except Women’s 470 and Men’s 49er) and first in line to take a spot forfeited by another country in the Men’s 49er.
Olympic Athlete Trials: This event will impact the Olympic athlete trials for the Finns, Men’s and Women’s 470, and Men’s and Women’s RS:X. The team/individual with the lowest cumulative score of overall finishing positions at this event, the 2019 Worlds, and the 2020 Worlds will be named to Team USA (if the U.S. is qualified for representation in that class).
BRISTOL, R.I. (December 6, 2019) – For the first time in Olympic history, a Mixed Two-Person Offshore Keelboat event will be on the program at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition. But before we get to Paris 2024, the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami is partnering with the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race to host a doublehanded offshore event.
The doublehanded class event is also new for the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race and the racing format for this class will simulate the offshore event planned for the 2024 Games.
“US Sailing is excited to work with the 2020 Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race to create a doublehanded offshore event that will help sailors and race organizers prepare for the 2024 Olympics,” said Meredith Brody, US Sailing Olympic Director and Chair of Hempel World Cup Series Miami. “As we look towards the 2024 Games, and learn more about the new discipline, we are looking forward to welcoming offshore athletes into the U.S. Olympic program.”
Carol Ewing, Chair of the Southern Ocean Racing Conference and Regatta Manager for the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami echoed Brody’s comments and added, “The SORC and the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race is pleased to incorporate doublehanded sailors into our long-standing race now in its 45th year.”
Doublehanded offshore teams will start south of Port Everglades on Thursday, January 23. The boats will race to Key West, with an expected course length of approximately 160 miles.
Racing is open to ocean racing and cruising monohull boats who comply with the requirements of the ORC (Offshore Racing Congress):
ORC Requirement: Boats must have an offshore long-distance time on time rating factor of 0.880 and lower.
The Lauderdale Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Club are the Organizing Authorities for the event, managed by the SORC.
About 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami In 2020, Miami will once again play host to US Sailing’s premier event, the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami – the 31st year of Olympic racing on Biscayne Bay – featuring top-level Olympic-class competition. As the only North American regatta to be included in World Sailing’s 2020 Hempel World Cup Series, the regatta is a mainstay on the winter circuit for sailors campaigning for the next Olympic Games.
Competitors will have five days of fleet racing from Monday, January 20 to Friday, January 24 with medal races on Saturday, January 25. Medals will be awarded to the top three boats in each class.
Regatta Headquarters will be located at the US Sailing Center – Miami, in Coconut Grove, Miami, Fla.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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 OlympicChannel.com, 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.