Final Report: Miami Olympic Regatta
The premier Olympic class regatta sailed in United States waters has now concluded. Sailors from seven different countries were class winners. The USA's lone win came in the Tornado class where all entrants were home country sailors.
Denmark's Soren Johnsen scored an impressive victory in the Europe class. Top American was Amada Clark in 3rd.
Canadian Richard Clarke took the Finn lead at mid regatta and held onto win. Top American was former leader Mark Herrmann with 44 points and 2 race wins. 1 point back was Eric Oetgan with 45 points and 1 race win. These two sailors now need to sail well at upcoming regattas to get the USA a spot in the fleet for upcoming games.
The Laser class was won by Karl Suenson of Sweden. Defending champion Mark Mendenblatt of the USA slipped to 3rd, but did win 2 races.
The team of Lovell and Ogletree won 7 of 12 races to finish first in the all America Tornado catamaran class. 2nd were Guck and Schaffer followed by Daniel and Bernier. These boats look to be the favorites to win the Tornado selection trials.
The Star class was won convincingly by the German team of Pickel and Auracher. 2nd were Australians Beashel and Giles, followed by Canadians Macdonald and Bjorn. Top Americans were Reynolds and Liljerdahl with 28 points and a race 1 win. 6th was current world champion Eric Doyle with 36 points. The third American team in the top 10 was Macausland and Iverson.
The Solings match raced the entire regatta. The winning team was skippered by Andy Beardsworth of Great Britain. 3rd was Jeff Madrigal's American team followed by Andrew Horton's group also of the USA.
For the American team it has to be a disappointing regatta. In all classes it was shown that Americans have competition that outclasses them. Even in the Star class which America usually does well in there was a disappointing American result. With several selection trials upcoming perhaps the intense training will help USA's sailors gain needed skill.
(C)update: Observations from Races 1 to 4
Currently Prada has a 3-1 lead over America One in the Louis Vuitton Cup finals. With a break in the racing, Sailing Daily presents some observations on the first half of the series.
Preparation: This has been an overlooked factor. Prada has been sailing IACC sloops for three years. In the heavy conditions of race 3 they didn't break down. America One suffered numerous problems and withdrew. America One has also blown out 8 spinnakers. If America One's sailing talent is better, then that advantage is mitigated by Prada's superior preparation level.
Race 5 shows a forecast of SW winds 20-30 knots. Assuming the race gets off heavy air reliability will again be an issue.
Carrying this forward to the actual America's Cup match against Team New Zealand, the home team has to look better. They were the best in 1995 and have to continued to rack up sailing time each year. With the expectation that there are no break through boats, Team New Zealand look strong.
Tactics: The America's Cup uses match racing as a format. As opposed to fleet racing you have only one opponent and can be much more direct in your tactics.
Seeing some of the hyper aggressive sailing you wonder if this was what 2 great Age of Sail Naval ships looked like in battle?
Is America One being sailed like a British man of war trying to get close and shoot at Prada's hull? Is Prada filling the French role preferring to keep its distance and shoot at the rigging?
Seaman Like Luff: Was America One's luff of Prada in race 4 done in seaman like fashion? Under the racing rules yes. In terms of pure seamanship head up to a reach with a large downwind spinnaker while sailing in 20 knots is not seaman like. This impulsive luff was borne out as being not the height of seamanship as America One's spinnaker blew out.
Seamanship and Reliability: It's funny that although seamanship is literally an ancient art. However, throughout this regatta unseamanlike failures have prevailed. It's been difficult to successfully combine speed and reliability.
Maybe that's why sailing intrigues, beguiles and attracts. It's ancient and simple yet modern, complex and still at this point a tough art to master.
UUNET: Slow sailing off Rio
French sailor Phillippe Monnet left France on 10 January. The purpose of his voyage is to break the record for fastest circumnavigation sailing east to west, or against the prevailing winds. He is sailing an Open 60 monohull UUNET. British Sailor Mike Golding is the current record holder at 161 days. Sailing Daily will provide periodic reports tracking the success of his attempt.
Currently Monnett is still sailing the Brazilian coast. He has put in enough southing to reach Rio. As he though the wind has lessened. Sunday nite his speed dropped from 10 to 5 knots.
In consultation with his weather router he chose to stay along the coast rather than head offshore. Router Pierre Lansier stated, "we are doing a coastal route because there was no wind offshore." This choice is confirmed by satellite images which show a largely windless area out to 30 degrees latitude.
Monnett expects to be back up to double digit speeds by Monday nite.