Tag: Paralympic Sailing

Golden Moments Abound on Biscayne Bay

The tension on the water at Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella was fully loaded as Medal Races across the 10 Olympic fleets drew the first big regatta of 2016, the Olympic year, to a close.

Many podium finishers from six days of racing in Miami will feature on the Rio 2016 pedestal in 188 days’ time and Miami can be viewed as a marker of what is to come this year.

In a week plagued by grey skies and fickle breeze the sun shone brightly in Miami but the light winds remained.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) came into the day as the only team who had gold wrapped up. In the remaining nine events it was wide open and in a shifty northern 6-8 knot breeze there were up, downs, disappointments and highs in their numbers.

Olympic medalists such as Robert Scheidt (BRA), Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED), Evi Van Acker (BEL) and Bryony Shaw (GBR) showed their worth, taking the honors in their respective fleets. In the remaining divisions, several new contenders emerged including Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) and Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) who won in world class fields.

Nacra 17

Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) claimed gold in the Nacra 17, jumping up the leader board after a tense light wind Nacra 17 race.

The Dutch pair occupied third overall heading into the Medal Race with Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) in pole position and Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI) in second.

Eight points split the trio beforehand with an unassailable advantage over the chasing pack. The sailors on the podium were decided, but the color of the medal they’d receive was far from certain.

The leading Australians were penalized at the start and were up against it immediately, crossing the start line well behind the pack. Meanwhile, the Dutch pair got underway without fear and worries as the only way for them was up.

Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) ran away from the fleet to take the race win by a minute over Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP).

The Dutch crossed the finish line third and had to watch the finishers to see if they’d moved up. Waterhouse and Darmanin crossed in seventh and the Swiss in ninth which gave them gold.

“Out there we used our speed well and we went to the left of the first upwind and it paid off,” explained Mulder. “We were leading at the top mark and consolidated. We ended up third which was enough for the regatta win.

“We were in a perfect position to go full on today and take some risks.”

Darmanin and Waterhouse ended up tied on 119 points with the Dutch but missed out via the Medal Race countback, settling for silver. Buhler and Brugger completed the Nacra 17 podium.

The Nacra 17 fleet will have to go through the emotions again in just a matter of days with the World Championships taking place in Clearwater, Fla., February 6 to 14.

Laser and Laser Radial

When regatta leader Marit Bouwmeester (NED) was flagged by the officials shortly after the start, it appeared Evi van Acker (BEL) had the opening she needed to close the 6-point gap that stood between her and a gold medal. Indeed, Bouwmeester was 10th around the first mark. But van Acker was ninth. These positions held around the second mark. On the third leg, van Acker made her move.

“I went on the right side when the wind was dying, but I thought change was coming,” said van Acker, the bronze medalist in the 2012 Olympics in London. “The wind turned to the right and I was there when it turned.”

Van Acker went from ninth to third on the second beat and then picked up another place on the final run. Meanwhile, Bouwmeester, who had so little trouble moving through the fleet earlier in the regatta, was unable to make any significant gains during the second half of the race. Van Acker’s second, to Bouwmeester’s’s seventh, was enough to flip flop the overall positions the two sailors held coming into the Medal Race.

Sarah Gunni Toftedal (DEN) struggled during the medal race and finished last. But none of her rivals for the bronze medal were able to take advantage of the situation and Gunni Toftedal held on to the bronze. Alison Young (GBR) was fourth, with Emma Plasschaert (BEL) in fifth.

Paige Railey (USA) won the medal race and while her move from 10th to eighth didn’t factor into the podium standings it did earn her two additional places in her battle for the U.S. Olympic berth in Rio. Her primary rival, Erika Reineke, finished 17th in the regatta and will have to make up 9 places on Railey in Part 2 of the U.S. Athlete Selection Series.

©Sailing Energy / Wolrd Sailing - Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Displaying a veteran’s poise, five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA) sailed a steady medal race in trying conditions to win gold in the Sailing World Cup Miami. While the positions around him switched considerably over the course of the 25-minute race, Scheidt rounded each mark in fourth place and finished fourth.

“It was a tough race, the wind was light and shifty,” he said. “I was worrying about the French guy as he was the one I had to finish ahead of to win today. He got to the [first] mark ahead of me, which made things very interesting. At the gate we had a split, which was lucky for me as I finished ahead of him.

“I sailed well this week. The Medal Races are always tough and very close. The day has a huge impact on the result and I took my opportunities today.”

Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), who made his international regatta debut the same year Scheidt won his third Olympic medal, started the day with a one-point lead in the overall standings. Though he didn’t win the gold, he can be comforted that he was just a place away from defeating one of the sport’s living legends. He’s clearly moving up the ladder and in good position to improve upon his 10th in the London Games.

Scheidt, though pleased with his results this week, knows the work of an Olympic sailor is never done. He’ll take some time to recoup, and then get right back to the grind.

“After this I am taking a break,” he said. “In March I will be back training in Rio. Rio is going to be quite a difficult venue with challenging conditions. I’ve sailed there for 25 years and I still don’t know the place. I’ll try and get myself comfortable with the place.”

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

Bryony Shaw (GBR) made a terrific comeback in the second upwind in the Women’s RS:X to seal her third consecutive Sailing World Cup Miami gold.

After the first lap of the course, Shaw was as low as ninth, leaving Lilian de Geus (NED) first overall. Shaw knew what had to be done and her never-say-die attitude enabled her to fight and push up the fleet.

On the final upwind Shaw swiftly moved into seventh, sixth and at the top mark had overtaken de Geus and was third overall. She maintained that position through to the finish to seal the deal.

“This week was about consistency,” said Shaw, a Beijing 2008 bronze medalist. “We had a lot of different winds this week so I was happy to sail well in the light winds and strong winds. The focus for more has been on training to prepare for the World Championships. We’ve had a really good quality fleet here so I am pleased to take the win today. It’s good momentum to take into the World Championships.”

De Geus wrapped up the week with silver and Peina Chen (CHN) completed the podium.

London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) started 2016, an Olympic year, with a big, convincing win in the Men’s RS:X.

Van Rijsselberge finished seventh in the Medal Race, his worst result this week, but his consistency over the series kept the pressure off him as he went in with a nice gap between him and the chasing pack.

“I like Miami and like racing here,” said Van Rijsselberge after competition. “I’ve been coming here for eight years now so I’ve got the place sorted and I enjoy racing here.”

Nick Dempsey won the Medal Race finishing six points off the Dutchman to pick up silver and Aichen Wang (CHN) rounded off the podium.


No class had more sailors enter the medal race with a shot at the gold. Six Finn sailors started the final contest with a legitimate shot at the medal. Adding to this was a light, shifty breeze that provided plenty of passing lanes. But when the dust had settled the top two sailors entering the race, Jorge Zarif (BRA) and Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, were the top two in the final results.

“It was really hard as everybody was really close before the race,” said Zarif. “I thought the left side of the racing area was paying a little bit more. I tried to be there more than the others and it worked well.”

Zarif held the lead around the first two marks, but dropped to fourth on third leg when a big left shift jumbled up the standings. On the fourth leg he ground back to second place, where he finished. Arkadiy Kistanov of Russia won the Medal Race and was able to vault from fifth to third in the overall standings. Jake Lilley (AUS) was fourth in the race and third in the overall standings.

For Zarif, who hadn’t previously won a World Cup race, this was a significant victory as he prepares to compete for the home crowd in Rio.

“Next we will have 15 days of training in Rio now with Rafa [Trujillo] my coach and then we go to the Europeans, Palma, Hyeres, the Worlds and then back to Rio,” said Zarif. “I was happy with the week I had, but I could have finished sixth or first today. That could have easily happened if something bad happened today. I just tried to do the best I could.”

Men’s and Women’s 470

For the Men’s 470 fleet, the crucial moment in the Medal Race came right at the starting gun. Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA), one of three teams that entered the race in a virtual tie for first, controlled the left end of the starting line and were able to tack at the gun and cross the fleet, putting themselves in a very strong position right out of the starting blocks.

“We saw an opportunity at the start and we were able to take advantage of it and get an early lead on the fleet,” said McNay, a two-time Olympian in the 470. “Dave called some great shifts on the first upwind.”

McNay and Hughes rounded the first mark with a 30-second lead over the fleet and never looked back, at least figuratively. In light conditions, no lead is ever truly safe.

“It was an easy race course to become frustrated with as it was very shifty and variable,” said Hughes. “By the same token, the teams that did well at this event just embraced it and played it forward from whatever position they were in. We are happy to better them all in the end.”

The most interesting battle of the race was for the silver medal, with Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) and Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) rounding the first mark separated by just 4 seconds. On the second upwind leg the Greek duo was able to put over a minute on their rivals and all but clinch the silver medal. Jacob and Graeme Chaplin-Saunders finished second in the medal race and moved up a spot, to seventh, in the overall standings.

McNay and Hughes will hope to carry the momentum they earned in Miami this winter into the class’s world championships in Argentina in February.

“This is the third of three events in Miami this winter and we can proudly say we have won all three of them,” McNay said. “We felt that to do that many competitions back to back to back would be the best way to prepare ourselves for the upcoming World championships.”

Consider it a job well done, on to the next challenge.

“There are many events between now and Rio and we are just going to chip away at one event of a time,” said Hughes. “We’ve got lots to work on and as with any Olympic campaign there are a lot of different boxes to tick.”

Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN) started the Medal Race much the way they started the regatta, in last place. The first race of the event, which might seem like it took place a month ago given the twists and turns of this event, resulted in a DSQ for the Chinese team. Likewise, the first leg of the Medal Race didn’t go well and Chen and Gao rounded the first mark in last place, 48 seconds off the lead and in real danger of missing the podium entirely.

But in the light and shifty conditions, persistence was the key; and passing opportunities were there for the taking. Chen and Gao found a few on each of the next three legs, moving to sixth on the first run and then to third on the final run. Meanwhile, their chief rivals for gold, Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) and Fernanda Oliveira and Luiza Ana Barbachan (BRA) found the going much more challenging. With those teams finishing in eighth and 10th respectively, Chen and Gao claimed the gold medal, with the Austrians in second and the Brazilian team, which led for much of the regatta, in third.

49er and 49erFX

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) ventured into the 49er Medal Race with a strong lead and as they came through in second, a convincing victory was signed, sealed and delivered.

Portugal’s Jorge Lima and Jose Costa had an outside chance of overthrowing the Spaniards but Lopez felt no worries as he explained, “For us we had to take control of the Portuguese guys today. We had a 12-point advantage so we wanted to control them with some tactics to win.

“We finished second, which was a really good result for us and we won. We’re really happy.”

Lima and Costa settled for silver and Carl P Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark (SWE) completed the podium.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) had gold all sewn up before the Medal Race so the pressure was off.

The real battle in the 49erFX was for silver and bronze with Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) and Lisa Ericson and Hanna Klinga (SWE) split by one point.

Hansen and Salskov Iversen were sublime in the Medal Race. Chased by the Swedes they did not let up. They led from the off and used their superior boat speed to pull away and claim a well deserved silver medal.

From now on, it’s full on to Rio 2016 with World Cups, World Championships and continental championships coming thick and fast before the flame is lit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 August 2016.

The 470s, 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and RS:Xs will have to reset quickly with their World Championships taking place in February. The remaining fleets will hold theirs later on this year.

—Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami, & Daniel Smith, World Sailing

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

Miami Satisfies Burning Racing Desires on Day 3 

Biscayne Bay provided the 711 sailors from 64 nations with a welcome breeze for Wednesday’s racing at Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella.
Following two challenging days, it was a relief for everyone involved to get in a full day of racing in a steady breeze, albeit light at between 6-10 knots. All 12 fleets sailed their scheduled quota of races and 8 of 12 classes now find themselves back on schedule.

The leader boards in all of the fleets are starting to shape up and for the 49er, Laser and Laser Radial qualifying is over with two days of Gold and Silver racing to ensue.

As of 17:45 local time, a number of protests were on going ensuring a late evening for the jury with a number of scoring changes possible. View the protest summary web page here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/protest-summary.php


The 2016 Sailing World Cup Miami may be the biggest regatta of Caleb Paine’s (USA) sailing career. But the towering Finn sailor is trying to treat this event, which doubles as the first part of the U.S. selection series for the Rio Olympics, just like the many other Olympic-class events he’s sailed over the past decade. “I try to get into the mindset I know works for me and keep that repetition going,” said Paine after a solid day on the water. “Hopefully it all works out in the end.”

The Finn class was limited to just one race over the first two days. Now, with four races now in the books, it’s a good time to look at how the fleet is shaking out. Surprisingly, there’s no more space between the top six than there was after Race 1. Paine leads with 10 points, Lei Gong (CHN) is in second with 11, and Jake Lilley (AUS) is in third with 12. The pattern continues through Zack Railey (USA), the 2008 Finn silver medalist, in sixth, with 15 points.

Paine’s 4-3-3 was the best score on the day and the most consistent of the front-runners.

“We were all expecting a little more breeze,” he said. “But fortunately we had enough to get three races in. I still could improve on my starting, but for the most part it was all about just keeping your lane wide open and having the ability to make the right decisions instead of other people dictating it.

“Boatspeed was the king of the day. I’ve been working with my coach quite a bit and feel like I’m going pretty fast.”

In contrast to Paine’s steady performance so far, Railey, who is emerging as Paine’s chief rival for the Olympic berth after some time away from the dinghy, has been a bit up and down. Today he sandwiched two wins around a 15th; and he opened the regatta on Monday with a 13th.

“The first race of the regatta was a really difficult race, really big shifts, and I just wanted to get a solid result out of that one. I probably sailed too conservative, but I was OK with a 13th,” he said. “The second race today, I thought the right side was going to come in, and we were looking OK about halfway up the first beat. There was a 20-degree left shift with pressure. I just never made it out of the right side and rounded [in the bottom half of the fleet] at the first mark and caught back up as much as I could. That’s just part of sailboat racing.”

After the 2012 OIympics, when he finished 12th, Railey turned his focus toward a product development company. A half year ago he decided to get back into the Finn.

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016“I’ve got a great family that allows me to do it and I’ve got some really great business partners that allow me to step away from the business,” he said. “I’d done a lot of other sailing outside of Olympic sailing and I just really missed Olympic sailing. I missed the training and the grind that goes along with it. And I had a couple of really friends of mine that decided they were going to come back also, so many a little bit of peer pressure also.”

One of those close friends, 2012 silver medalist Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN), is currently in fifth place. With the three races scheduled for each of the next two days, this event could turn into a test of strength and endurance. That might seem to favor Paine, who is younger than Railey and has been training for this moment for four years. But he’s not taking anything for granted.

“Everyone is fit and, being that it’s the Olympic Trials, everyone is ready for it,” he said. “It’s good to see everyone out there in the competition, and I look forward to see what the result brings.”

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

Three races apiece in the Men’s and Women’s RS:X satisfied the burning racing desire within the windsurfers hearts following two frustrating days.

Just two men’s and one women’s RS:X race had been complete over Monday and Tuesday and even though the breeze remained light, three races apiece played out on Biscayne Bay on Wednesday.

In light breeze the RS:X is physically demanding. Competitors have to chisel their bodies and watch their weight in the build up to an event and then push their aerobic capacity during racing whilst reading the wind and tidal patterns across a wide body of water.

In short, it isn’t easy. Poland’s Pawel Tarnowski explained, “In these conditions it is really hard to have a good race in the RS:X as you have to pump all the time in the upwind and in the downwind. It affects your body from your legs, your arms and back.

“You have to be very well prepared physically plus have some good tactics. Sailors say it is like playing chess with a huge heart rate.”

Tarnowski was one of the chess masters on the third day, picking up a 2-5-1 scoreline to occupy second overall.

However, the grand master of RS:X chess playing has to be Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) who continued his exceptional consistency. A third and a second kicked off his competition and he added his first bullet, a third and a discarded fourth to his tally to lead the pack on nine points.

“It’s pretty brutal out there when it’s light,” explained Van Rijsselberge when messaging @isafworldsailing on Instagram via his account @lifeofdorian after racing.

In between sending selfies with compatriot Kiran Badloe, Van Rijsselberge continued, “It was nice to get some races done. For sure the last couple of days were a bit slow so it was so much better to do what we came here for, racing at the top level.

“The conditions are hard out there but the top five are all in it to win it.”

The top five the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist speaks of is the second place Tarnowski on 12 points, Nick Dempsey (GBR) on 12, Chunzhuang Liu (CHN) on 13 and Aichen Wang (CHN) on 14.

Lilian de Geus, compatriot of Van Rijsselberge, continued the trend of Dutch consistency in the RS:X and holds first overall in the Women’s pack.

De Geus won the opening race on day one and picked up where she left off, recording a 2-1-(5) score line to lead Patricia Freitas (BRA) by four points.

Freitas started the day off by claiming the opening bullet, following up with a fifth and a discarded eighth. “I had a good day,” said Freitas. “The wind was really tricky and it was coming and going. There was a lot of cloud so the pressure was on and off. There were shifts on both sides and the race course was very short as we have a target time of 30 minutes.”

There was minimal separation amongst the top racers in the Women’s RS:X over their three races and that is evident by the scores at the top of the leader board. De Geus sits top on four points followed by Freitas on eight, Bryony Shaw (GBR) and Peina Chen (CHN) on nine, Marina Alabau (ESP) on 11 and Poland’s Malgorzata Bialecka on 14.

Men’s & Women’s 470

Today wasn’t up to the standard of the previous two for the Brazilian duo of Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan, but a strong finish in the final of three races kept them in the lead for another day. Close on their heels is Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT), three points behind, and then there’s a gap of five points to third, currently occupied by Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN). Consistency has been a challenge for every team outside of the top four, which has started to stretch away from the rest of the pack. With 29 points, Sydney Bolger and Carly Shevitz (USA) are in fifth. They showcased their potential by winning today’s first race. But will have to be more consistent to get on the podium.

In the men’s 470, we have a new leader. Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera won the final two races of the day—and were able to discard an OCS from the first race of the day—and move past Stuart McNay and David Hughes (USA) into the lead. McNay and Hughes are just two points behind, and hold a seven-point cushion over third, Panagoitis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) and Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstäder (AUT).

Laser Radial & Laser

After opening the regatta with a sixth, Laser Radial veteran Marit Bouwmeester (NED) has been unstoppable, winning all five of her remaining qualifying races to open up a four-point lead. Evi van Acker (BEL) another veteran and fellow Olympic medalist, has won a pair of races herself and was able to discard a black flag disqualification from today to sit second. Defending Olympic gold medalist Lilja Xu (CHN) is third, a point further back.

With qualification completed, the fleet will be split into a gold and silver grouping and winning the races will be that much tougher over the final two days.

The top American in the fleet is Paige Railey, who is currently 17th with 36 points. That’s good enough for a 9-point cushion over Ericka Reineke (USA), who is Railey’s chief rival for the 2016 Olympic berth in the Radial class. That battle will be an interesting one to watch during the next few days. This event is Part 1 of the two-stage selection series for that class.

The Laser class, one of only two to start the Day 3 on schedule, sailed a pair of afternoon races. Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) won his final race of the day—as with the Radial fleet, the 98-strong Laser fleet has been sailing in two groups for qualification—and has built himself an impressive 16-point lead heading into the gold and silver fleet split. Jean Baptiste Bernax (FRA) sits second with 27 points, but there is a pack of four sailors all within 5 points of the silver-medal position. At the back end of this group is 5-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA), who has rebounded from a tough start with three straight second place finishes.

Charlie Buckingam (USA) is the top American in 11th. While he has his sights focused on the top 10—only the top 10 in each class qualify for Saturday’s medal race, which will be carried lived on ESPN3—Buckingham has to be comforted by the knowledge that the next American sailor is 20 points behind. As with many of the other classes, this regatta serves as the first part of the selection trails for the U.S. Laser berth in the Rio Olympics.

49er and 49erFX

The 49er qualifying series concluded with three further races on Wednesday ahead of the fleets separating into Gold and Silver for the duration of the World Cup.

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) advanced to top spot in the 49er, recording an 8-4-3 to leave them on 45 points. The Spanish duo tend to excel in the qualifying series and more times than not, come out at the top of the leaderboard.

When push comes to shove and they race in a top quality Gold fleet they fall down the pack. Six Gold races are ahead of them now to see if they can buck the trend. Carl P Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark of Sweden follow in second and Jorge Lima and Jose Costa (POR) are third. The top American team is Thomas Barrows and Joseph Morris in 11th.

Defending 49erFX champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) moved up to first after four good races. A pair of seconds, a seventh and a sixth hand them a ten-point advantage over Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN). Two American teams are tied for 21st, Emily Dellenbaugh and Elizabeth Barry and Paris Henken and Helena Scutt.

Nacra 17

It’s common across Olympic sailing that one sailor or partnership will excel and shine on any given day. A pair of bullets, a trio of top three results or four top tens can often be seen on a daily basis at World Cup, World Championship and Continental Regattas but that common rule was broken today in the Nacra 17.

Each team picked up a mixed bag of results over four challenging races to open the scores up with six fleet races remaining.

Lucy Macgregor and David Evans (GBR) were the leading performers of the day, starting with a bullet and then a third. An 18th, which they count having already discarded a 33rd, followed before they concluded the day with a third to move to fifth overall.

They sit 42 points off leaders Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) who have 49 points with overnight leaders Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) second on 53 points. The surprise of the fleet so far has been the performance of Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee (USA), who have only been sailing together for a few days. Gulari’s normal crew was hurt just prior to the regatta, and Chafee, who had some experience in the class, was called in. They have shown remarkable consistency in a very difficult fleet and are currently third, 11 points out of second, and 15 points off the lead.

Paralympic Classes

A jam packed day of Paralympic racing saw three races in both the 2.4mR and Sonar fleets completed.

Helena Lucas (GBR) showed her class in the 2.4mR advancing to top spot after a second and double bullets. The London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist is yet to taste that golden feeling in Miami after several attempts. Her performance today has boosted her chances as she tops the billing by top points over Bruce Millar (CAN) who had held top spot from day one.

Millar started the day with a bullet but couldn’t hold on to Lucas as two third followed. Peter Eagar (CAN) is third on 20 points. Charles Rosenfield (USA) sits fourth, 5 points ahead of countryman Dee Smith.

Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes (CAN) were assertive in the Sonar, notching up two race victories to accompany their third. They lead 2015 World Champions John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) by two points heading into the penultimate day of Paralympic racing this Thursday. Rick Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund are the top U.S. team in fifth.

Racing resumes on Thursday, January 28, at 10 a.m. local time.

—Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami, & Daniel Smith, World Sailing

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

Countdown to ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami


Bigger than ever in 2015, with an atmosphere crackling with adrenaline, the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami was ground zero on Sunday as competitors from 63 countries made their final preparations. US Sailing’s premiere event brings together a who’s who of Olympic and Paralympic talent. Six days of racing will test them and leave them judged. Australia’s silver-medalist 470 skipper of last year, Mat Belcher, summed up that experience by saying simply that being on that racecourse, with that fleet, “was essential.” Essential, that is, to anyone who hopes to be standing on a podium in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympic Games.

With as many as 800 sailors entered, the 26th year of this event sets a record for participation. The ISAF Sailing World Cup, presented by Sunbrella, is the only U.S. stop on the 2014-2015 SWC series. Melbourne, Australia kicked off the first of six events, with successful sailors earning qualification spots and ranking points toward a finale in Abu Dhabi late in 2015.

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