|MIAMI FL. USA-(27-1-2007) It was a tooth-and-nail day as sailors competing in the finals of US SAILING's 2007 Rolex Miami OCR fought it out on Biscayne Bay for medals in 11 Olympic classes. The sun shone brilliantly and the winds blew 8-10 knots, providing a perfect wrap-up for the competition, which hosted more sailors -- 855 from 49 countries -- than it ever has in its 18 annual runnings. After five days of fleet racing, which concluded yesterday, medalists were determined in three Paralympic classes. The top ten overall finishers in the Olympic classes advanced to today's single medal race, replicating the new Olympic format that will debut in Qingdao, China in 2008.
U.S. Sailors took home three medals in Olympic classes and three in Paralympic classes. Three of them were gold.
For 49er sailors Morgan Larson (Capitola, Calif.) and Pete Spaulding (Lafayette, Ind.), who were in bronze-medal position going into today's races, it took some impressive plays to make the top step of the podium theirs. When yesterday's leaders, Spain's Iker Martinez de Lizarduy and Xabier Fernandez, started prematurely and failed to turn back, the gold medal was wide open. Larson/Spaulding quickly covered Tim Wadlow (Beverly, Mass.) and Christopher Rast (Wake Forest, N.C.), fellow US Sailing Team members who were one position ahead of them in overall scoring, and forced them to the course's far right corner. However, the left side of the course paid off, resulting in the two teams rounding the first mark in next-to-last and last positions. Larson/Spaulding, however, went on to recover, picking off several boats before using a left shift on the last beat to pass the British team of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, who seemed to be the gold medal's heir apparents. Final race positions were third for Larson/Spaulding and fourth for Morrison/Rhodes, who had to settle for the silver medal. France's Lagraviere Morgan and Christidis Stephane took the bronze. Wadlow and Rast finished fourth overall.
'Going into this event, our ultimate goal was to be the top American and to be on the podium,' said Spaulding, who crewed for Tim Wadlow in this class at the 2004 Olympics. 'Given the short amount of time we have sailed together in the last six months, we didn't expect to win the fleet. We were very happy.'
In the Yngling class, playing the numbers game became critical in the USA's battle for gold. 'We had to play with points, play with the competition and try to control everybody,' said Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), who with Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) finished fourth to edge out their biggest threat -- Great Britain's Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson -- in the overall standings.
'When we started, we had two boats to deal with: Great Britain and Finland,' said Barkow. 'We were in a vulnerable position. We got pinned, so we jibed out and they passed us in the first run. Then we went into attack mode. We got on their breeze and did three or four jibes, rounded the gate we wanted and extended from there. It was a lot of fun. It was one of the best medal races we’ve had in a while.'
Great Britain finished seventh to take the silver while France's Anne Le Helley, Marion Deplanque and Catherine Lepesant finished second for the bronze.
'It was really tough here this week - the whole fleet has increased its skill in the Ynglings,' added Barkow. 'There are new team players and new ways to sail the boat; we have to make sure we stay one step ahead.'
The USA's third gold medal was won by Paralympic sailors in the SKUD-18 class, which completed the Rolex Miami OCR competition yesterday, along with the Sonar and 2.4mR classes.
The SKUD-18 will make its debut at the 2008 Paralympic Games, where Rolex Miami OCR winners Scott Whitman (Brick, N.J.) and Julia Dorsett (Boca Raton, Fla.) hope to be. The duo is as new to Paralympic sailing as the SKUD-18 is to the Paralympic sailors.
'I've been sailing all my life but only started Paralympic sailing back in March,' said Whitman. 'The SKUD-18s were available to sailors in this country in June, which at least puts us all on somewhat equal footing. It's a brand new boat -- everyone is learning it.'
Whitman and Dorsett won four of their 13 races and counted top-five finishes the rest of the time and throughout a variety of wind conditions. 'Every regatta we keep getting better tactically,' said Dorsett. 'Scott and I just really clicked this time.'
Winning the silver medal in the SKUD-18 class was Canada's David Cook and Brenda Hopkin, while taking home the bronze was another USA team, that of Karen Mitchell (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) and JP Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla.).
In the 470 women's event, Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Mergenthaler (Aberdeen, N.J.) finished ninth in the medal race to win the bronze medal. They had been in fourth place going into today.
In Sonars, the USA's Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Tim Angle (Marblehead, Mass.) and Bill Donohue (Brick, N.J.) won the silver medal. 'We're proud to represent the U.S. Team,' said Doerr. 'It was a good year here; everyone's ramping up for the Games and starting to take their campaigns seriously, so this regatta was a good benchmark.'
(Top-Three Finishes Follow)
US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR
Day 6 -- Final Series Results (Top-Three), Final Medal Race Counts Double
Finn (49 boats) -- 13 races
1. Peer Moberg (NOR), 7-8-2-6-1-5-3-4-7--4-2-2, 51
2. Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN), 9-2-4-5-10-3-1-9-1-4--1-6, 55
3. Daniel Birgmark (SWE), 5-1-5-4-8-4-10-10--5-7-4-4, 67
49er (47 boats) -- 15 races
1. Morgan Larson/ Pete Spaulding (Capitola, Calif./Lafayette, Ind., USA), 4-7-[25/DNF]-2-1-4-1-11-3-10-8-2-4-18-6, 81
2. Stevie Morrison/Ben Rhodes (GBR), 1-6-3-1-1-7-[25/BFD]-1-9-8-17-7-6-12-8, 87
3. Morgan Lagraviere/Stephane Christidis (FRA), 2-7-2-9-3-9-4-[25/OCS]-10-4-1-21-5-1-10, 88
470 Men's (31 boats) -- 13 races
1. Nick Rogers/Joe Glanfield (GBR), 2-1-4--6-2-1-2-7--7-4, 47
2. Mathew Belcher/Nick Behrens (AUS), 6--8-7-5-10-6-4-2-4-10-6, 68
3. Gustavo Martinez/ Dimas Wood (ESP), 4-3-13-3-10-1-14-11--5-9-2, 75
470 Women's (18 boats) -- 13 races
1. Marcelien de Koning/Lobke Berkhout (NED), 1-1-1-8-5-2--3-2-4-1-8-4, 40
2. Ingrid Petitjean/Nadege Douroux (FRA), 4-2-8-6-1--4-1-1-8-3--12, 59
3. Amanda Clark/Sarah Mergenthaler (Shelter Island, N.Y./Aberdeen, N.J., USA), 2-5-6-9-3-1--4-4-2-13-6-18, 73
Laser (69 boats) – 13 races
1. Gustavo Lima (POR), 1-2-13--12-8-2-12-12-1-3-2-12, 80
2. Tom Slingsby (AUS), 2-1-7-8-1-13-1-1-3-23-7-[58/DNC]-14, 81
3. Michael Blackburn (AUS), 2-6-1-3-5-2-6--21-5-19-4-2, 86
Laser Radial (69 boats) -- 13 races
1. Sari Multala (FIN), 1-1--15-3-1-5-2-1-4-2-1-10, 46
2. Gintare Volungeviciute (LTU), 3-2-5-6-2-5-2-7-12-6-7-[36/OCS]-2, 59
3. Evi Van Acker (BEL), [35/OCS], 3-7-3-7-3-16-12-8-2-5-4-12, 82
RS:X Men (44 boats) -- 12 races
1. Przeymslaw Miarczynski (POL), 1-5--10-3-2-1-1-3-9-3-10, 48
2. Joao Rodriques (POR), -3-6-6-9-74-4-2-10-10-2, 63
3. Samual Launay (FRA), [45/DNF]-9-2-7-13-5-8-6-15-9-12, 77
RS:X Women (28 boats) -- 12 races
1. Marina Alabau (ESP), -2-9-2-1-10-10-2-5-3-2, 45
2. Flavia Tartaglini (ITA), [29/DNS]-13-2-6-5-2-8-5-3-1-6, 51
3. Bryony Shaw (GBR), 4-5-4-3--6-6-6-1-4-16, 55
SKUD-18 (10 boats) – 13 races
1. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J./Boca Raton, Fla., USA), 4--4-4-1-1-1-1-2-5-3-2-2, 30
2. David Cook/Brenda Hopkin (CAN), 2-4-3-1-5-2-[11/DNF]-3-3-2-4-4-4, 37
3. Karen Mitchell/JP Creignou (Deerfield Beach, Fla./St. Petersburg, Fla., USA), 6-2-1-2-[11/RAF]-4-3-2-5-11/DSQ-5-3-1, 45
Sonar (14 boats) -- 13 races
1. Dan Parsons/Tom Pygall/Guy Draper (GBR), 3-3-2-[15/OCS]-1-2-3-8-9-5-2-4-10, 52
2. Rick Doerr/Tim Angle/Bill Donohue, (Clifton, N.J./ Marblehead, Mass./ Brick, N.J., USA), 6-1-9-2-8--8-2-7-7-1-1-1, 53
3. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Stephen Thomas (GBR), 2-4-1-3-7-1-4-6-4-3-3-[15RAF]-[15RAF], 53
Star (67 boats) – 9 races
1. Fredrik Loof/Anders Ekstrom (SWE), 3-2-2-1-2-4--2-16, 32
2. Hamish Pepper/Dave Giles (NZL), 4-1--2-13-14-11-3-2, 50
3. Afonso Domingos/ Bernardo Santos (POR), 1-11-1--2-1-7-9-20, 52
Tornado (43 boats) – 11 races
1. Darren Bundock/Glenn Ashby (AUS), 3-3-6-5-1-[44/OCS]-1-6-11-3-4, 43
1. Leigh McMillan/William Howden (GBR), 4-4-1--3-2-11-3-2-2-20, 52
3. Fernando Echavarri/Anton Paz (ESP) 6-2--2-10-5-8-4-9-6-12, 64
2.4 mR (25 boats) -- 13 races
1. Stellan Berlin (SWE), 1-5--7-7-1-1-2-5-2-2-2-4, 39
2. Megan Pascoe (GBR), 3-1-2-8-2-6-8-6-1-5--4-5, 51
3. Helena Lucas (GBR), 5--5-3-1-7-6-7-2-7-5--6, 61
Yngling (18 boats) -- 13 races
1. Sally Barkow/Carrie Howe/Debbie Capozzi (Nashotah, Wis./Grosse Pointe, Mich./Bayport, N.Y., USA) 3-1-4-6-4-2--6-1-2-1-2, 32
2. Sarah Ayton/Sarah Webb/Pippa Wilson (GBR) 1-3--5-6-6-3-1-2-4-2-1, 34
3. Silja Lehtinen/ Maria Klemetz/Livia Varesmaa, (FIN), 2-2-2-1--7-9-3-3-3-6-6, 44