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Day 4 Final Report: Sailors Finish Regatta with Morning Racing on the Bay

Stephan Baker and Nicholas Hardy at West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami. Photo by US Sailing / Allison Chenard

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (January 24, 2021) – It was a “rise and shine” kind of day for the sailors competing at 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami. Early morning racing was the plan for the fourth and final day of the regatta. The sailors were eager to make it happen for a chance to move up the leaderboard or sustain their positions.

The 49er, 49er FX and the 470 fleets were towed out to the bay just after 7:00 am for an 8:00 am start time. The goal was to complete a race or two before temperatures rise and dull the breeze. The conditions on the bay were hazy and 70 degrees, yet breezy enough to start racing.

The 470s raced first this morning. Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Ithaca, N.Y.) put the finishing touches on another strong regatta with two more wins to capture first place honors. They won 8 of 11 races this week to win by a 13-point margin. Mixed teams Louisa Nordstrom (Osprey, Fla.) and Trevor Bornarth (Stuart, Fla.) finished second, and Michelle Lahrkamp (Rye, N.Y.) and Jack Parkin (Riverside, Conn.) placed third.

“We were looking to get live races under our belt and score races where there is a level of accountability, which is hard to replicate in practice races,” said McNay. “And on top of that, we worked on our live starting situations, communications on the upwind and downwind, and so this is part of our World Championship preparation, assuming things go forward as scheduled. We will be racing our World Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal in the beginning of March.”

“The light air kept many teams in the mix throughout each race, and that made it good tight racing,” added Hughes. “Short course racing is really good preparation for us and a good way for us to go into the next stride.”

Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) and Dane Wilson (Ojai, Calif.) sustained their lead on Sunday by placing first and third today to win the 49er fleet by seven points. Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.) finished second overall and won the final race of the regatta. Christopher Williford (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Duncan Williford (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) finished runner up in both races to take third place by just one point over Ander Belausteguigoitia and Danel Belausteguigoitia of Mexico. Snow and Wilson won 9 of 11 races this week.

“I think we sailed really well this week,” said Snow. “It’s always good to have these racing formats so we can practice taking our boats through the routines. The young sailors here are pushing us as well. This event helped us with managing a smaller fleet. We were able to hone in on the details and experiment a little more.”

The 49erFX may have been the most competitive fleet this week. Stephan Baker (Miami, Fla.) and Nicholas Hardy (Newton, Mass.) regained their lead after great results on Saturday, which featured three consecutive wins, to take a seven point lead over Lucy Wilmot (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) entering Sunday. These two teams alternated first and second place results in both races on Sunday. Baker and Hardy earned first place honors by seven points. Bella Casaretto (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Jana Laurendeau (Billerica, Mass.) made the podium in third place.

Together, Baker and Hardy have only been sailing the 49erFX for nine days. “Behind the talent and hard work, we are putting in, we have a lot of fun on the boat together, so it’s never too stressful,” said Baker. “It’s a really good dynamic in the boat.”

“Yesterday, we had very fun time racing against Steph Roble and Maggie Shea, especially the last race. They were leading us around the second top mark, and halfway down the downwind we split with them, caught up with them at the gate, and just beat them at the end to have a nice photo finish, which was very exciting.”

Roble and Shea raced in three races on Saturday only at the regatta, and were really impressed with the competition.

The Nacra 17 and iQFoil fleets were planning on heading out for an 11:00 am start time following 49er, 49erFX, and 470 racing. However, the conditions did not cooperate for afternoon sailing. The Nacra 17 results through Saturday were final.

Samuel Albrecht and Gabriela Nicolino of Brazil captured first place with their performance in the Nacra 17 fleet. Ravi Parent (Bradenton, Fla.) and David Liebenberg (Richmond, Calif.) finished in second as the top American team, while Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anna Weis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) finished third.

The two iQFoil fleets completed just one race each this week and it happened on Friday, day two of the regatta. Mateus Isaac of Brazil earned the win in the Men’s fleet (9-meter sail) and Garrett January (Pinellas, Fla.) won the 8-meter sail race. Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) placed third overall in the 8-meter race and the top women’s sailor.

 

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The Miami Yacht Club Youth Sailing Foundation served as the Organizing Authority for this event.

To learn more about the West Marine US Open Sailing Series and to follow all the action in 2021, visit the series website at usopen.ussailing.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications
jakefish@ussailing.org

Allison Chenard, US Sailing Team Communications
allisonchenard@ussailing.org

Day 3: Sailors Race Hard on Saturday, Look Ahead to Sunday’s Finale

Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis (USA) on Day 3 at 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami. Photo by Allison Chenard.

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (January 23, 2021) – True to form this week, the afternoon breeze showed up on time on Biscayne Bay as sailors raced for positioning on Saturday at 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami. The regatta comes to a close on Sunday.

The Nacra 17 fleet owned the bay early this afternoon. The catamarans started racing just after 2pm ET and completed three races before the other fleets hit the course. The Nacras raced in 6-10 knots with some choppy conditions. The 49er, 49erFX, and Mixed 470 also finished three more races in later afternoon sailing that started after 3pm ET.

Samuel Albrecht and Gabriela Nicolino (BRA) extended their lead from six to eight after another strong day on the water that featured two more wins in the Nacra 17 fleet. Currently in second place is Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anna Weis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). Ravi Parent (Bradenton, Fla.) and David Liebenberg (Richmond, Calif.) were the top performing American team of the day. They posted an impressive 2-1-3 scoring line.

Prior to racing, Gibbs and Weis spoke about how eager he and Weis were to get out on the water in a regatta setting this week. “We have not raced since March and it feels a bit new again, but we are happy to be back out on the racecourse. We are focused on our development and the continuation of our communication on the boat, so now is the right time to practice that.”

“It’s nice to take what we have been working on in our training and apply it to a race setting,” added Weis.

Carson Crain (Houston, Texas) and Caroline Atwood (Clinton, Conn.) are also racing together this week in the Nacra 17.

“I was drawn to the Nacra 17 because I really enjoy foiling,” said Crain. “Caroline and I are excited to be able to go around the racecourse with these teams. It’s great training and a great way to check-in to see how other teams are setting up their boats and how they race.”

Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) and Dane Wilson (Ojai, Calif.) are red hot with seven consecutive wins to pace the 49er fleet, including three more bullets on Saturday. Ian Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.) placed second in all three races today and the trail by seven points going into Sunday.

The 49erFX continues to be one of the most competitive fleets this week. Stephan Baker (Miami, Fla.) and Nicholas Hardy (Newton, Mass.) regained their lead after great results on Sunday, which featured three consecutive wins, to take a seven point lead over Lucy Wilmot (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).

Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Ithaca, N.Y.)  continue to lead the 470 fleet. Mixed teams Louisa Nordstrom (Osprey, Fla.) and Trevor Bornarth (Stuart, Fla.), and Michelle Lahrkamp (Rye, N.Y.) and Jack Parkin (Riverside, Conn.) continue to keep at a high level. Lahrkamp and Parkin finished the day with a win in Race 8.

Early morning start times are planned for Sunday’s final day of racing.

 

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Ravi Parent and David Liebenberg (USA) on Day 3 at 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami. Photo by Allison Chenard.

The Miami Yacht Club Youth Sailing Foundation is serving as the Organizing Authority for this event. Racing continues through Sunday, January 24.

To learn more about the West Marine US Open Sailing Series and to follow all the action in 2021, visit the series website at usopen.ussailing.org.  

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications
jakefish@ussailing.org

Allison Chenard, US Sailing Team Communications
allisonchenard@ussailing.org

Day 2: Racing Amps up for Most Classes on Friday

Farrah Hall (USA) in front at 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami. Photo by Allison Chenard.

 

 

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (January 22, 2021) – Sailors were greeted with warm, sunny conditions and temperatures in the low 70s for most of Friday. Light wind prevailed again for most of the day, similar to Thursday’s breeze on Biscayne Bay. Wind speeds peaked at around 6 knots in the afternoon.

On Thursday, the late afternoon breeze allowed the Nacra 17, 49er, 49erFX, and Mixed 470 fleets to complete two races each. Meanwhile, the iQFoil and Open Windsurf Foil fleets did not have ample wind on Thursday and looked ahead to Friday to start the racing in those fleets. The Friday weather forecast looked improved in comparison to Friday, so there was optimism in the air for the windsurfers. Despite minimal breeze the two iQFoil fleets completed one race each. Mateus Isaac (BRA) earned the bullet in the Men’s fleet (9-meter sail) and Garrett January (Pinellas, Fla.) won the 8-meter sail race. Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) placed third overall in the 8-meter race and the top women’s sailor.

Farrah Hall had a lot to say about the iQFoil and how this Windsurfing class equipment could change the sport. “I’ve had over 15 years of RS:X experience, so it’s been a long time. The iQ is a new opportunity and breath of fresh air for the Olympic Windsurfing class. We really need to stay current with all the foiling boats we see out there. I really think that we are attracting new people from all backgrounds, including windsurfing and other sailing classes. We are excited to have something that is really fun to sail.”

Hall raced at the 2012 London Olympic Games for Team USA. More recently, she represented Team USA at the 2019 Pan American Games and is Team USA’s selected athlete in Women’s RS:X for Tokyo 2020.

Hall still loves every element of windsurfing. “I think windsurfing is the purest form of sailing. You are connected to your equipment. It’s in your hands. It’s very athletic and physical. And it’s also extremely fun and it’s going to be the biggest Olympic class.”

The iQFoil is the 2024 Olympic Games Windsurfing class replacing the RS:X equipment. The concept around this class was to create exciting windsurfing equipment more sustainable for future generations by making the equipment appealing to not only the professionals, but for the weekend windsurfer, and to create a foil racing platform at the local level.

The 49erFX has been highly competitive through two days of racing and six races total. After posting mid-fleet results on Thursday, the new team of Lucy Wilmot (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) surged up the leaderboard on Friday and took a one point lead over Stephan Baker (Miami, Fla.) and Nicholas Hardy (Newton, Mass.). Wilmot and Reineke posted a 2-1-2-1 scoring line. Baker and Hardy won both races on Thursday to take an early lead.

Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) and Dane Wilson (Ojai, Calif.) have won five consecutive races on Friday in the 49er fleet after placing second in Race 1 on Thursday. They have a four point lead over Ian Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.), who Race 1 and have placed runner-up to Snow and Wilson in each of the last five races.

The 470 event has been paced by Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Ithaca, N.Y.) who have won five of six races through two days and are racing this week in recognition of the Trevor Moore Foundation. The fleet completed four races on Friday. Louisa Nordstrom (Osprey, Fla.) and Trevor Bornarth (Stuart, Fla.).

In the Nacra 17 fleet, the Brazilian team comprised of Samuel Albrecht and Gabriela Nicolino (BRA) have had an impressive regatta through five races, including three races on Friday. They have won four of the five races and lead by six points over Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anna Weis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).

Follow the Racing: 

The Miami Yacht Club Youth Sailing Foundation is serving as the Organizing Authority for this event. Racing continues through Sunday, January 24.

To learn more about the West Marine US Open Sailing Series and to follow all the action in 2021, visit the series website at usopen.ussailing.org.  

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications
jakefish@ussailing.org

Allison Chenard, US Sailing Team Communications
allisonchenard@ussailing.org

2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami. Photo by Allison Chenard.

Day 1: Afternoon Sailing in Light Wind for Four Classes on Thursday

Erika Reineke (left) and Lucy Wilmot (right) at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami. Photo by Ellinor Walters.

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (January 21, 2021) – Biscayne Bay was gifted with a late afternoon breeze and four fleets got in some nice racing on day one of racing at 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami.

The Nacra 17, 49er, 49erFX, and Mixed 470 fleets were fortunate to get in racing on a light wind day. The IQ Foil and Open Windsurf Foil fleets will aim to start their racing on Friday. Click here for Day 1 results and standings.

Sailors hit the water at approximately 2:30pm with the goal of racing by 3:30pm. The four fleets completed two tactical light air races each in about 5 to 6 knots, with the wind blowing south at 180-190 degrees.

Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) made her racing debut in the 49erFX with Lucy Wilmot on Thursday. The new duo discussed the 49erFX as well as Erika’s transition to a new class and doublehanded sailing.

“I was thinking about a change after so many years in the Radial,” said Reineke. “I wasn’t really sure what that was going to be, then I got a call from Lucy and we came down here and trained together. I fell in love with the class and sailing with her. That’s what got me into it.”

She elaborated on the differences between the boats and what the transition has been like. “The equipment is very different and the budget is much bigger than the Laser. The sails are more high-performance, the boats are more high-performance, and there is carbon on this boat. It goes a lot faster because of it all.”

Wilmot spoke about their training and where they are in the process. “Our focus this fall was on boat handling around the course in all conditions. More recently, with our new set of sails, we got more into dialing speed and the rig, and we are hoping with the 2021 rig coming out, we can get into the technical side and solidify that.”

“This has been on the calendar since we decided to sail together. We were excited about all the domestic training leading up to this. It’s been awesome having all the American sailors here in the boat park and being able to collaborate. It’s been great getting to know everyone and make new training friends. This is what’s all about,” said Wilmot.

470 sailor, Micky Munns spoke about the 470 and how it has suited him well in his transition to the boat. “In the 2016 Games, the boat that really strongly resonated with me was the 470 with Stu [McNay] and Dave [Hughes], and Annie [Haeger] and Briana [Provancha],” said Munns. “The 470 is known as a technical boat, but it’s not crazy complicated. A lot of the systems you set up. I realized recently why all the controls are right near the skipper, it’s because you have to play with them all the time, and so we are getting the hang of that.”

“The 470 relates to all my learning in terms of grassroots sailing in FJs and 420s to college sailing,” added Munns. “The 470 is one of the strongest connections to grassroots sailing there is. All the skills are transferable to other kinds of sailing.”

2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami. Photo by US Sailing Team/Allison Chenard.

Follow the Racing: 

The Miami Yacht Club Youth Sailing Foundation is serving as the Organizing Authority for this event. Racing continues through Sunday, January 24.

To learn more about the West Marine US Open Sailing Series and to follow all the action in 2021, visit the series website at usopen.ussailing.org.  

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications
jakefish@ussailing.org

Allison Chenard, US Sailing Team Communications
allisonchenard@ussailing.org

2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series Turns South to Miami

Top Sailors to Race in Biscayne Bay

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (January 20, 2021) – The 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series launched with excitement and a sense of pride last week in Fort Lauderdale and now the series heads south to Miami for four days of racing on Biscayne Bay at 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Miami. The Miami Yacht Club Youth Sailing Foundation is serving as the Organizing Authority for this event. Racing begins on Thursday, January 21 and the regatta concludes on Sunday, January 24.

Five Olympic-classes featuring both men and women sailors will be racing in Miami, including the Mixed 470, Nacra 17, 49er, 49erFX, and iQFoil. The Open Windsurf Foil, not an Olympic-class event but exciting to sail and watch, will also be racing this week.

Miami is the longest standing Olympic-class regatta in the country. For 32 years, Biscayne Bay and Miami have been an important stop on the Olympic-class circuit. Over the years, event organizers have collaborated with US Sailing to host these international sailing regattas, such as Miami Olympic Class Regatta (OCR) and World Cup Series Miami.

The race organizers acknowledged the importance of maintaining the tradition of hosting an Olympic-class regatta this year despite the many challenges. Olympic-class events hosted here have helped develop aspiring local sailors to further their goals of reaching the Olympics as they compete against top athletes from around the globe.

Last January, sailors from around the globe convened in Miami with North American Olympic qualification at stake and the Tokyo 2020 Games only six months away at the time. Hempel World Cup Series Miami was the final opportunity for North American nations to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Regatta across several events. Soon after World Cup Miami, the global pandemic forced Games organizers to alter the Tokyo Games timeline, and now the 2020 Games will be contested in the summer of 2021, still only six months away.

Nine countries will be represented across the six events this week, including the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuala, and Great Britain.

The US Sailing Team will be represented by 11 total athletes across three classes: the Nacra 17, 49er, and Mixed 470. Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anna Weis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) of the Nacra 17 class have been training most recently in Fort Lauderdale with their coach, Sally Barkow. Ravi Parent (Bradenton, Fla.) and David Liebenberg (Richmond, Calif.) are sailing together this week and have enjoyed putting their engineering knowledge to use in the Nacra 17. Caroline Atwood (Clinton, Conn.) is racing with former US Sailing Team windsurfer, Carson Crain (Houston, Texas), this week.

Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) and Dane Wilson (Ojai, Calif.) of the 49er class have been sailing out of the US Sailing Center in Miami for the past few months participating in three of the 2NINER Skiff Generation Grand Prix events. They have been training with the 49er squad, comprising of fellow teammates Ian Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.), and Harry Melges IV (Fontana, Wis.) and Finn Rowe (Fontana, Wis.). All three boats have been training with their coach, Mark Asquith, and enjoy pushing each other to improve each day. Barrows and Henken will be joining Snow and Wilson on the course this weekend. Five other USA-based 49ers and one Mexico-based 49er will round out the fleet for an exciting weekend of racing.

Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Ithaca, N.Y.), selected Tokyo Men’s 470 athletes, are back in action this week. “Racing is always good preparation for the next race, so we’re using this as part of our world championship preparation,” said McNay. “Our Worlds are in Portugal at the beginning of March and we need to get more racing situations under our belt between now and then. It was great to get a whole bunch of starts in at the Oakcliff Triple Crown regatta and then at the North American Championships a couple of weekends ago, and we’ll do the same again at the West Marine US Open Sailing Series in Miami. It’s been fun to train with the younger teams from the United States this last month. [Coach] Yevgeniy has a nice group from the Oyster Bay Area, and the Cowles twins [Carmen and Emma] have been fantastic to sail with as well. We look forward to getting out on the starting line with some official scored races.”


On Monday, January 11, US Sailing and host yacht clubs at sailing venues in Florida and California launched a new racing and training series of Olympic-class regattas in 2021 and beyond.

The West Marine US Open Sailing Series offers an increase in high-quality Olympic-class racing for U.S. athletes with a goal of attracting top-level international competitors to race in these regattas for years to come.

US Sailing and the larger community of sailors in the U.S. identified a demand for a racing and training platform based in the United States that serves to provide as a runway to the Olympic Games for prospective athletes. With the 2028 LA Olympics on the distant horizon, it is essential for US Sailing to establish a consistent and predictable cycle for athletes to plan for on an annual basis.

Follow the Racing: 

To learn more about the West Marine US Open Sailing Series and to follow all the action in 2021, visit the series website at usopen.ussailing.org.  

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications
jakefish@ussailing.org

Allison Chenard, US Sailing Team Communications
allisonchenard@ussailing.org

Day 4: Top Sailors Awarded at West Marine US Open Fort Lauderdale

Charlie Buckingham (USA) and Juan Maegli (GUA) on Monday at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series – Fort Lauderdale. Photo by Ellinor Walters.

Watch the Final Recap Video from 2020 West Marine US Open Sailing – Fort Lauderdale

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (January 18, 2021) – It was a banner, yet challenging, day of sailing on the water for the 135 sailors competing at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series inaugural event, hosted by the Lauderdale Yacht Club. The fourth and final day of the regatta took place on Monday as sailors in three Laser classes pushed through the shifty conditions to close out on a strong note.

Laser Radial:

Chapman Petersen (Fontana, Wis.) had an eight-point lead entering today and he won by 11 points after three more races in the 70-boat Laser Radial fleet. He won two of the three races on Monday to close out the regatta. Petersen won four of seven races overall. Robby Meek (Annapolis, Md.) placed second and Sarah Douglas (CAN) finished third and was the top performing female. She edged Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) who finished the regatta in fourth overall and Hallie Schiffman (Sarasota, Fla.) was fifth.

“This is the biggest event of the winter and I’m super excited to be here,” said Chapman. “I’ve been looking forward for to this event for nine months.”

Chapman has been making incremental improvements on his technique and that work has paid off. “One way I stay consistent is getting good transitions between puffs and lulls and having good tacks and good starts. If on an average you are doing the little things better, than on average you are going to continue to get better. My next goal is to win a Youth World Championship in the Laser Radial and then move to Full Fig.”

Canadian sailor Sarah Douglas has been training in South Florida with U.S. sailors for the past several months leading up to the start of the series. “I’ve been training with the American girls this fall and winter and we keep pushing each other on the water,” said Douglas. “We worked on our speed and technique, and put together good hiking blocks in Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale.” Douglas is attempting to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Laser Full Rig:

Three-time Olympian Juan Maegli (GUA) took first place overall honors in the 42-boat Laser Full Rig competition. He won by seven points over Francisco Rigonat (ARG). Charlie Buckingham (USA) placed third and was the top U.S. sailor in the event. Maegli had an early lead in the regatta after winning three of the first four races. He placed third and fifth today and did not need to compete in the final race of the regatta to win.

Nicholas Reeser (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) was the top performing junior sailor in the Full Rig fleet. Reeser was seventh overall.

“I have just been trying my best to put my boat in position, no matter where the wind was coming from and that led to some pretty good decisions on the water,” said Maegli. I have been focusing on my fitness more recently and have not spent much time on the water. I will spend the next couple months here in Florida and put a lot of hours on the water. We have a really good fleet here with Charlie (Buckingham) my training partner, some good young Americans, Canadians, and the Latin Americans, so it’s a nice field.”

Laser 4.7:

Umi Noritake (Miami Beach, Fla.) won a closely contested 23-boat Laser 4.7 fleet by four points over Conor Kellett (Miami Beach, Fla.) and seven points over Jacob Zils (Wayzata, Minn.). Only one point separated these three sailors entering Monday, with Zils holding on to a one-point lead. Noritake placed fourth and fifth today and was able to move into first place to win the Laser 4.7 fleet.

“It was really hard racing this week and it was super shifty,” added Zils. “Consistency was the name of the game and I was just trying to stay in the top three each race.”

Noritake was ecstatic with the win and his performance this week. “It was a tough weekend. The wind was all over the place. Whoever was the most consistent with their starts and races was on top and that happened to be me.”

He also reflected on his experience being out on the water with Olympians. “It was a change from regular practice. We’ve practiced with some of them before and it can be a little nerve racking at the starting line being a 14-year-old against Olympians.”

“The best thing I had going for me the entire regatta was my boat handling and wanting it more than anyone else,” added Noritake.

Anna Vasilieva (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) was the top female performer in the 4.7 fleet, and she finished fourth overall.


On Monday, January 11, US Sailing and host yacht clubs at sailing venues in Florida and California launched a new racing and training series of Olympic-class regattas in 2021 and beyond.

The West Marine US Open Sailing Series offers an increase in high-quality Olympic-class racing for U.S. athletes with a goal of attracting top-level international competitors to race in these regattas for years to come.

US Sailing and the larger community of sailors in the U.S. identified a demand for a racing and training platform based in the United States that serves to provide as a runway to the Olympic Games for prospective athletes. With the 2028 LA Olympics on the distant horizon, it is essential for US Sailing to establish a consistent and predictable cycle for athletes to plan for on an annual basis.

“This was the official start of the West Marine US Open Sailing Series and it’s a game changer for providing a consistent schedule of racing from year to year,” said Leandro Spina, US Sailing Olympic Program Director. “We have different conditions and excellent venues on both coasts and it helps us be very efficient with our resources and expedite the progress we’re chasing. We’re able to bring together top talent, entry level, and everything in between, and the series is attracting strong sailors from other countries.”

“This platform is an excellent opportunity to keep training, and this weekend was a successful measurement of how the Olympic Development Program is making our sailors stronger. It was great to see the strong, young talent this weekend pushing the athletes, and it’s exciting to see the rising level of competition that’s working together to make each other stronger. This has been an amazing starting point and it’s only going to get better.”

Leandro Spina, US Sailing Olympic Program Director:

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Daily Recaps:

Day 3 – Patience Pays off for Afternoon Sailing

Day 2 – A Laser Show Breaks out in Fort Lauderdale

Day 1 – Start of Racing Postponed to Saturday

Preview – First Stop on the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series: Fort Lauderdale

Chapman Petersen at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series – Fort Lauderdale. Photo by Ellinor Walters

To learn more about the West Marine US Open Sailing Series and to follow all the action in 2021, visit the series website at usopen.ussailing.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications
jakefish@ussailing.org

Day 3: Patience Pays off for Afternoon Sailing

2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series – Fort Lauderdale / Ellinor Walters

Laser Fleets Post One Race Each on Sunday – Sailors Prepare for Monday’s Finale

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (January 17, 2021) – The 135 sailors waited patiently on Sunday for consistent breeze by making the most of their time to work on their craft and connect with fellow athletes during a lengthy postponement. As conditions improved in the afternoon, all three Laser fleets completed one race each on Day 3 at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series – Fort Lauderdale.

Shifty winds made racing a challenge in the late morning and early afternoon hours. Later in the afternoon winds picked up reaching 8 to 12 knots with puffy and shifty gusts and relatively flat seas.

Juan Maegli (GUA) added to his lead by taking Race 4 in the Laser Full Rig fleet. He now leads Francisco Guaragna Rigonat (ARG) by 10 points. Leo Boucher (Annapolis, Md.) placed second in today’s race, while Luke Ruitenberg (CAN) finished third. Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif) is the top American entering Monday’s last day of racing in fifth place.

Boucher discussed his day on the water with the Full Rigs including his second place finish. “We went out there with very little hopes of getting races off. It was pretty chilly, very cloudy, and it didn’t look promising. Then around three o’clock we got a bit of breeze; just enough to get us started. The breeze never settled in and was very all over the place.”

“We waited until we could get a clean start off. I ended up going right in our race on the first upwind, just waiting for a variety to take me back to the top mark. I ended up getting one and rounded the windward mark in 7th. I stayed in 7th on the reach and passed a boat or two on the first downwind. I gybed onto port and noticed that there was a bit of a lefty happening on the downwind. Right before I rounded the leeward mark, I looked upwind and saw that the first and second place boats tacked onto port and it looked like thy were sailing a lefty so I wanted to make sure I got onto port tack as quickly as I could. So I rounded the course right gate so I could be on port tack immediately, and from there I was anticipating another righty after the lefty phased out. So we all tacked on the righty and I made a gain, the breeze kept winding to the right, and I had already been set up to be one of the furthest right boats. I just got to put my bow down and go fast instead of tacking repeatedly to get in the pressure that was on the right. The risk paid off and I was very happy.”

Chapman Petersen (Fontana, Wis.) had another strong performance in Race 4 with a win in the Yellow Fleet to lead the Radials by eight points over Robby Meek (Annapolis, Md.). Isabella Maegli (GUA) earned the win in the Blue Fleet. Sunday was the final qualifying round for the Radials with the fleet splitting into Gold and Silver on Monday.

Jacob Zils (Wayzata, Minn.) has a one point lead over Umi Noritake (Miami Beach, Fla.) and Conor Kellett (Miami Beach, Fla.) through four races in the 4.7 fleet after placing second in Race 4. Dorothy Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) won today’s race and moved into fifth place overall.

Monday is the last day of racing and 2-3 races are planned. RESULTS & STANDINGS

Morgan Reeser, Olympic Development Program (ODP) Coach and Olympic Gold Medalist was observing the racing and was impressed with the overall talent of these young athletes. “They’ve all shown flashes of brilliance, which I’d much rather have than just an average performance. I’d rather see some some great ones, and they’ve all had top four races or top six races. That’s all I’d ask for at this point.”

“I go back to when I was their age, there was nothing like this. So I constantly tell them they have no idea how lucky they are. They have hardworking, really smart people behind them trying to guide them, whereas I had to continually make mistakes myself and just try not to make the same mistakes twice. So we’re trying to help them not make the mistake the first time.”

ODP Coach, Chris Barnard said, “It’s great that all these sailors at different levels are mixing it up this week. It’s on us to keep pushing the level higher and over the years we will keep getting better.”

Watch Sunday’s Video Recap:

2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series – Fort Lauderdale / Ellinor Walters

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Day 2: A Laser Show Breaks out in Fort Lauderdale

2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series – Fort Lauderdale

Lasers Complete Three Races on First Day of Competition

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (January 16, 2021) – The Lauderdale Yacht Club was bustling with energy this morning for the start of racing at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series – Fort Lauderdale. Sailors were especially eager to race after Friday’s lack of consistent wind and eventual postponement.

The conditions on a cool, cloudy Saturday in Fort Lauderdale were much improved with a pressure system to the west creating a nice northwesterly breeze. The breeze started at about 10 knots early in the day and continued to build throughout the afternoon with gusts exceeding 20 knots. The wind was coming from the offshore creating tricky conditions.

All three Laser fleets, including the Full Rig, Radial, and 4.7, completed three races on Saturday. Juan Maegli (GUA) takes an early lead in the Laser Full Rig fleet of 42 entries. He won Race 1 and 3, and posted a sixth place finish in Race 2 to take a three point lead.

The 70 Radial sailors were split into two blue and yellow fleets. Chapman Petersen (USA) led the way in the blue fleet with a 2-1-2 scoring line and Kaitlyn Hamilton (USA) had a strong day to pace the yellow fleet with scores, 2-2-5.

Umi Noritake (USA) won the first two races in the 4.7 fleet of 23 boats and added a fourth place finish in Race 3 to take a four point lead.

US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program athletes were up for the challenge today.

“The highlight of my day was during the first race,” said Conner Nelson (Tampa, Fla.). “I was up there in the top five for a while and competing with these top guys and seeing that I can keep up with their speed. Once I’m able to eliminate a few more mistakes I can be right there at the top consistently.”

Another young Laser sailor, Nick Sessions (San Francisco, Calif), expressed his highlight of the day. “It was great being at the top of the fleet. I felt pretty comfortable in my decision to go right and stuck with my plan, but eventually tacked out a little too early about halfway up the beat and lost a couple of boats. But I still had a good race and it was a great learning experience.”

Radial sailor Christina Sakellaris (Milton, Mass.) said, “We had a really good first day of racing here. It was really up and down today with huge shifts. We had everything from 8 to 18 knots. I had three really good races. I was just focusing on trying to be really consistent, getting off the line well, and sailing shifts. It was a really fun day.”

Steve Mitchell, US Sailing Team Laser Radial Coach, has been looking forward to the US Open Sailing Series events here in Florida after training with Laser Radial athletes in Miami, Clearwater, and Fort Lauderdale over the past three months.

“This is an opportunity to look at the young talent coming through,” said Mitchell. “The ODP (Olympic Development) pathway that started after the 2012 Games has been producing some amazing talent over the past few years. For us to be training with the ODP athletes, seeing the yacht club programs that are here, and watching how their programs are advancing is great.” See the full interview below on Facebook.

Day 2 Video Recap on Instagram:

 

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Day 1: Start of Racing Postponed to Saturday

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (January 15, 2021) – The 135 sailors representing 10 countries will have to wait one more day to begin racing in Fort Lauderdale. The exciting start of the inaugural 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series was postponed on Friday due to insufficient and inconsistent breeze.

They attempted one race on Friday, however that attempt was quickly abandoned as the breeze could not hold up and the shifty conditions and tides also made racing a challenge. Despite the conditions, sailors enjoyed their time on the water with fellow teammates, competitors, and coaches.

The youth movement is in full swing this week in Fort Lauderdale with a number of eager and enthusiastic young sailors ready to race against strong competition in challenging conditions. Lucas Sawin, a freshman at the College of Charleston and the 2019-20 ISSA (High School) National Champion said, “I really want to see how I stack up against the competition with former Olympians here this week. Competing against them is hard, but we are learning from the best. This is the first regatta of the year for me so I’m happy to be here and sail fast.”

Collin Porter, a sophomre at Hobart College said, “It’s great to get out on the water and test the skills. I haven’t been in a big fleet in a while so it’s good to line up what I need to work on to prepare for Nationals later in the year.”

New Laser sailor Sophia Fogarty said, “This is only my second Laser event. I sail the I-420, so my goal is to learn from these experienced sailors and keep up with them as much as I can.”

Sixteen of the young sailors here in Fort Lauderdale this week are members of US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program. These sailor are looking to take their Olympic-class sailing to new heights and are utilizing the US Open Sailing Series platform as a way to compete, develop, and train against top notch competition.

“I think the coolest part about the open series is that it’s actually happening,” said Leo Boucher (Annapolis, Md.). “It’s been tough to get good-caliber sailors all together in one place. The fact that we can have this list of regattas on our schedule every year is pretty important in our journeys to get better.”

Chase Carraway (Wrightsville Beach, N.C.) was also looking forward to this weekend. “I think the Open series is really special because it brings a lot of high level talent all together at the same place and it really helps the ODP group see how we match up against the other sailors like Charlie [Buckingham] and some of the foreign Laser sailors. It’s really great to see how we stack up.”

“I think it’s something we haven’t really had before here in the US,” added Diego Escobar (San Diego, Calif.). “Normally we’d have to travel to Europe to really get a taste of what’s going on at the international circuit, but being able to develop that platform for us here is super beneficial.”

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Day 1 Video Recap:

Watch the West Marine US Open Coach’s Corner on Facebook with Fred Strammer:

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First Stop on the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series: Fort Lauderdale 

Top Laser Class Sailors Set to Race at US Open – Fort Lauderdale 

WATCH LIVE Weather Briefing on The Starboard Portal – Friday, January 15 at 8:45 am ET

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (January 14, 2021) – A new U.S. based Olympic-class racing series takes center stage this week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the start of the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series. The Lauderdale Yacht Club will host the first-ever US Open Sailing Series regatta for four days of exciting racing beginning this Friday, January 15 through Monday, January 18. 

Fort Lauderdale will feature three events this week, all representing the Laser Class. Over 130 men, women, and youth sailors have registered to compete in one of the three competing events, including the Laser (41), Laser Radial (71), and Laser 4.7 (21). 

Ten countries, including the United States, will be represented by competing sailors this week in Fort Lauderdale. Sailors representing Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Argentina, Bermuda, Chile, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela will be in action this week. 

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

Railey has enjoyed training with fellow teammate Charlotte Rose (Houston, Texas), who will also be competing in the Laser Radial fleet this week. The two have been joined in their training by Olympic Development Program (ODP) Laser Radial sailors Lilly Myers, Christina Sakellaris, and Hallie Schiffman. Rose has been staying connected with her college sailing team at Jacksonville University while she continues training in Miami, Clearwater, and Fort Lauderdale. 

The Laser fleet is headlined by 2016 Olympian and Tokyo 2020 selected athlete Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.). The 2019 Pan American Games Bronze Medalist had a busy latter half of 2020 with strong finishes in Europe at the Italian Olympic Class Championship (1st overall), Kieler Woche (4th overall), and the Laser European Championship (6th overall). Following his long trip through Europe, Buckingham taught a weekend Laser Clinics to youth sailors in Long Beach and enjoyed sharing his expertise and connecting with the next generation of sailors. Buckingham arrived in Fort Lauderdale last week and will also race at the US Open Sailing Series – Clearwater coming up in early February. 

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

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

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

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

Follow the Racing: 

  • Regatta News & Coverage: Visit the official 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series event website for news, results & standings, photos & videos, and regatta information. 
  • Social Media: Follow US Sailing and the US Sailing Team on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for news and highlights from the racecourse. 
  • Join the Conversation: Use hashtag – #USOpenSailing in your social media posts. 
  • Entry List: Click here to find out who is racing this week in the three Laser events. 
  • Racing Specifics: The racing area shall be in the Atlantic Ocean approximately one mile south of the Port Everglades Channel Entrance. The first warning signal for racing each day is 1100 hours (11am ET). 

The Laser is one of the world’s most popular adult racing class boats and typically rewards athleticism, steering and trimming techniques, and tactical excellence. The Laser Radial is outfitted with a smaller sail and shorter, more flexible mast than the Laser. The Laser Radial is the perfect racing class boat for small adults, women, and youth alike. The Laser 4.7 is a competitive youth class sailboat and a great entry level racer for younger and lighter sailors. 

On Monday, January 11, US Sailing and host yacht clubs at sailing venues in Florida and California launched a new racing and training series of Olympic-class regattas in 2021 and beyond. 

The West Marine US Open Sailing Series offers an increase in high-quality Olympic-class racing for U.S. athletes with a goal of attracting top-level international competitors to race in these regattas for years to come. 

US Sailing and the larger community of sailors in the U.S. identified a demand for a racing and training platform based in the United States that serves to provide as a runway to the Olympic Games for prospective athletes. With the 2028 LA Olympics on the distant horizon, it is essential for US Sailing to establish a consistent and predictable cycle for athletes to plan for on an annual basis. 

Founded in 1938, Lauderdale Yacht Club (LYC) has always been a traditional private club run by its members with the focus on a family friendly environment. The club is committed to promoting and teaching the sport of sailing and seamanship to the youth of the club and community.

The LYC has been hosting Olympic-class regattas since 1982. They have hosted the annual Finn Midwinters and Women’s Laser Radial North American Championships over the years. These events often served as a runway for athletes planning to race at World Cup Miami. In 2004, LYC hosted the Olympic Trials for the Finn Class and the Europe Dinghy Class. The LYC Olympic Class Regatta has been used as an Olympic Trials event for other countries. The club has also hosted numerous Pan American Games Trials used to select the United States representatives.  

There have been numerous Olympic campaigns launched from LYC. Sailors with Olympic campaigns often request the opportunity to train at LYC, and these sailors give back to the junior sailing program at the club. This structure has helped the junior sailing program develop into one of the best in the world.  

To learn more about the West Marine US Open Sailing Series and to follow all the action in 2021, visit the series website at usopen.ussailing.org.  

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications
jakefish@ussailing.org  

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