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Rolex Miami OCR: Northerly Challenges Fleet

Miami, Fla. (January 25, 2006)-As expected, a front came through last evening and 610 sailors from 40 countries at the Rolex Miami OCR woke up to a shifty northerly that promised a tactical day. After another fruitful day of racing, the cream has risen to the top in the 12 Olympic events and one Paralympic class competing here on Biscayne Bay, but positions are anything but secured. Tomorrow’s stronger, steadier breezes bode well for another full day of racing before Friday’s one-race finals (two in the Paralympic Sonar class), where the fleet will have been pared down to simulate the newly adopted changes in the Olympic racing format.

“In the 470 men’s class, a dramatic windshift in the second race separated the fleet by a half mile on a one mile beat,” said US Sailing Team Coach Skip Whyte. Great Britain’s Nic Asher (Lowestoft) and Elliot Willis (Sevenoaks) were one of the unfortunate duos stuck on the wrong side of it.

“We were a long way behind, but we got back okay,” said Asher, “and we won our last race, which put us back where we needed to be. All the top guys had one bad race today.” Asher and Willis count their eighth in that second race as a throwout, which keeps them at the top of the scoreboard for the third straight day.

Mikee Anderson Mitterling (Coronado, Calif.) and crew David Hughes (San Diego, Calif.) are the top U.S. team, currently sitting in 6th after posting a 6-13-2 today. “It was a 30 degree lefty in that second race, and Nick (Asher) was back with us. Our last race helped a lot, because the people who did well in the second race did poorly. What stinks is we have to keep our bad race, because we also had a 13th on the first day and that will be our throwout.”

Asher’s and Willis’s fellow countryman Paul Goodison (Rotherham) felt he didn’t sail “particularly well” today, but he still leads in the Laser class–the largest at the regatta with 90 boats, which sailed in gold and silver fleets today. “It was really tricky out there,” said Goodison, a three-time winner of this event. “I didn’t start out well, but I did a good job of getting back; I probably passed 60-70 boats total in three races.”

The USA’s Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.) won the first race of the day and followed it up with an 11-15 for a fifth overall, right behind top American Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla.). “Things fell into place nicely in the first race,” said Campbell, “but as the day got progressively shiftier, it became more difficult. If we get in a couple of good races tomorrow, it could really change things.”

The Star class has had three different leaders in as many days of racing, with current world champions from France, Xavier Rohart (Martigues) and Pascal Rambeau (La Rochelle), moving to the top of the scoreboard after three races today. The top American team is now that of defending champions Andrew Horton (Newport, R.I.) and Brad Nichol (Miami Beach, Fla.), in second overall.

USA’s Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) had a fairly good day today, starting off with an OCS for starting early, but recovering with two wins to extend her lead over the rest of the fleet. “You had to think tactically all the time today,” said Railey, who in two races led at all marks and has a 12-point lead on her closest competitor.

As solid as Railey are two other USA teams at the top of the scoreboard. They are defending champions John Lovell (New Orleans, La.) and Charlie Ogletree (Kemah, Texas), leading the Tornado class by 15 points, and reigning Yngling world champions Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Deborah Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), who hold a 12-point lead.

In the Finn class, a new leader, Christopher Cook (Toronto, Canada), has emerged. Unchanged leaders from yesterday are, in Sonar class, David Schroeder (Miami, Fla.), Keith Burhans (Rochester, N.Y.) and Bill Mauk (Miami, Fla.); in the 49er class, Olympic bronze medalists Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks (both from Portland, UK); in their respective men’s and women’s divisions of the Neil Pryde RS:X, Great Britain’s Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw (both Weymouth); and in the 470 Women’s, Great Britain’s Christina Bassadone (Southampton) and Saskia Clark (West Mersea).

US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR is an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Grade 1 event, a designation that indicates its importance in world rankings. It also is a qualifying event for the members of the 2006 US Sailing Team and a country qualifier for the 2007 Pan Am Games.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2006 at 8:38 am and is filed under Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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