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#sailforgold – Olympic bound Irish duo David Burrows and Peter O'Leary are in medal contention at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta - and that is exactly what they intend to be when the Games itself gets underway writes our special correspondent Paul Smith.
Burrows and O'Leary compete in the star class and are ranked third after six races over the first three days of the regatta, which is being held at the Olympic venue in Weymouth.
An interrupted first day saw just one race, in which they came fifth, before claiming a second, fourth and first place on day two to lead overnight.
Yesterday was less successful as they discarded their seventh place in race five before claiming fifth in the final outing of the day. It leaves them trailing Britain's reigning Olympic champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, and Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil.
Dublin-born Burrows, a veteran of three Olympics having competed in the star class in 1996 and finn in both 2000 and 2004, says the duo are content with their performance but are also looking at the bigger picture.
"We are just testing some things here, getting ready for the Olympics in a few weeks' time," said the 35-year-old.
"This is the last chance to really test a few things against all of the competitors who we are going to be racing against at the Olympics, and so we are just testing a few settings and gears and also getting used to the racecourse a bit better.
"Our goal is to be standing on the podium (at the Olympics) that is what we are here for.
"We are quite happy with how our progress is going so far, and we are happy with the week we are having here at the Sail for Gold Regatta.
"We are confident enough and we just need to stick to our programme.
"The result isn't so important. It is more about just learning about your equipment, your gear, and also the venue itself and the racecourse."
Burrows and Cork-born helmsman O'Leary, 29, came together in the star class in 2009, with their sights firmly set on London 2012.
And with the Games now under two months away, Burrows believes a successful week in Weymouth will stand them in good stead.
"The first day, the first race was late in the evening and we scored a fifth in that race and we were pretty happy with the good start," he said.
"On Tuesday we were delighted with ourselves. We had a very solid day, with three races in pretty relentless conditions, but it suited us as we are from Ireland so we are used to it, and we were very happy.
"It is Weymouth. I think you can have any conditions in the summer time as we have seen, so you just have to take anything that comes really."
More on sail for gold regatta: www.skandiateamgbr.com Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team
More:  Irish Olympic sailing news

Published in Olympics 2012
Tagged under

#OLYMPIC – In spite of a broken forestay that cost Peter O'Leary and David Burrows a 'Did Not Finish' result (DNF) in yesterday's race eight of Semaine Olympique Française, the Cork-Dublin duo are set for a Star keelboat medal race fight this morning on the French riviera.

The medal race line-up does not include the World Champions and Double Olympic medallist Robert Sheidt who only sailed three of a possible eight races this week.

Gear failure also beset this week's overall leaders Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson of Britain yesterday who broke a mast when mistral winds touched 40-knots. Only 12 of the 25 boat Star fleet managed to finish the race in the notoriously high wind venue.

O'Leary and Burrows, who are tipped for Olympic medal success later this Summer, will take consolation that it was their only rigging that broke and not their fragile mast. In the overall standings the Irish duo lie sixth in their 25-boat fleet, one place down from their mid-regatta position on Tuesday.

The Cork-Dublin pairing were expected to make this morning's medal race as a sign that they are on track to deliver in Weymouth.

More in the Irish Times Sailing Column this morning

 

Published in Olympics 2012

#OLYMPICS - Yesterday Ireland's Olympic hopefuls celebrated recognition of their success in the 2012 round of funding.

But cuts to the budget of the Irish Sports Council (ISC) have prompted a "major" review of high performance programmes from 2013 onwards, the Irish Independent reports.

Finbarr Kirwan, director of high performance at the ISC, said: "Changes are coming, things are tight and we will have to make strategic cuts in the next two years."

The result could be fewer grant awards of lesser value for athletes, as Olympic qualification standards are set to get tougher from here on out.

The two tiers below 'podium class' - in which individuals receive awards of €20,000 and €12,000 respectively - are expected to be hardest hit in the review.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, canoeing's Eoin Rheinisch, swimmer Grainne Murphy and sailors Annalise Murphy, Peter O'Leary and David Burrows each received the top level of funding of €40,000 each, which is on a par with last year's support.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Olympics 2012

#MOCR – A fourth place finish in light winds in the double points medal race saw Peter O'Leary and David Burrows move up one place to fifth overall at the Miami Olympic classes regatta in Florida yesterday. Single-hander Annalise Murphy who qualified for the medal race in the Laser Radial finished ninth overall when she placed tenth in her medal race.

The Miami results show an improvement in consistency for both members of the Irish Olympic team, O'Leary and Burrows scoring nine top ten results from 11 races. Annalise's scoresheet included two race wins and three other top ten results.

In the lightest breezes yet over six days of sailing on Biscayne Bay, ten Olympic classes racing in US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR still managed to put on quite a show as they competed in their final medal races to determine gold, silver and bronze winners.  Following the same format as the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, the event also hosted three Paralympic classes (which determined medal winners yesterday) and a total of 529 sailors from 41 countries.

In Star class, Brazil's two-time Olympic medalists and that country's most successful and celebrated sailors, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, won the gold after finishing third in today's medal race.  "When you go into the medal race, many guys can win," said Scheidt.  "You cannot focus only on one guy, so our strategy was to try to make a clean start, especially with speed, because the wind was very light; that was more important than getting to the favored end."

Sneaking into the top-three overall, where they had not been all week, was France's Xavier Rohart/Pierre Alexis Ponso, who finished second today.  The performance secured them the silver medal with just the edge they needed over the bronze medalists Eivind Melleby/ Petter Moerland Pedersen (NOR), who finished sixth today and also had been in third at racing's end yesterday. Losing what seemed to be a sure podium position going into today was Fredrik Loof/Max Salminen's (SWE), who finished eighth in the medal race and fell to fourth overall from second yesterday, only one point out of medal reach.

"The wind made a big shift to the left on the first beat," said Scheidt, "but we weren't there. We were trying to cover the Swedish, and then we were able to tack on them two times and bounce them to the right.  Then the left paid big, and we managed to round sixth at the top mark. From then on our race was a little more comfortable, but we were still afraid of the French who were doing really well. We climbed to fourth, and they were in third; in the end, we nailed a third and the French got second."

Scheidt added that all of the top four teams plus more here will be competing at the Olympics, "and they will be stronger, so I think it was very nice for us to win the first regatta of the year. It gives us confidence but we know we have a long way to go until Weymouth."

For Paul Goodison (GBR) and Bruno Fontes (BRA), it was all equal (point scores of 20 each) going into the Laser race today, so it was literally who-beat-whom that would determine gold.

"I decided to engage a little before the start but nothing too much," said Goodison, the 2008 Laser Olympic Gold Medalist and 2009 World Champion, who finished second to Fontes's fifth.  "I won the right hand side of my competition and just pulled away from there. Once I was in front, it was just about extending the lead." With Fontes not able to sail away with anything less than a silver medal, it was David Wright's (CAN) focus to win the bronze, which he did by finishing fourth.

"All week the racing has been glamour--really good breeze, but today was quite tricky with it being much lighter and quite patchy," said Goodison.  " Out of the first six races I won four of them, so I was really happy with that, and then going into the gold fleet (mid-week ), it was all about consolidating that lead."

Favored going into today's 49er race, Nico Karth/Nikolaus Resch (AUT) finished second to secure the gold, while Erik Storck/Trevor Moore (USA) won the race to maintain their second-place position from yesterday and take home silver.

"This week has been perfect for us," said Karth, who with Resch is a two-time Olympian and has qualified his country for the Olympics but has yet to be named to the Olympic Team.  "We were struggling in the first few races, but by the end of the week we made it hard for them (Storck/Moore) to catch up."  (The Austrians had a 19-point lead going into the medal race.)  Winning the bronze was Lauri Lehtinen/Kalle Bask (FIN), who had been in third overall yesterday.

Lijia Xu, China's Laser Radial Olympic Bronze Medalist from 2008 and a 2006 World Champion, won the gold here after finishing eighth today to Marit Bouwmeester's (NED) ninth, which was good for silver.

"It was very competitive," said Xu, who positioned herself as close as possible to Bouwmeester today in order to control her. "We have the medalists from the 2011 World Championships in Perth and many other good sailors from all around the world."  The Perth champions are Bouwmeester, Belgium's Evi Van Acker, and the USA's Paige Railey, and while Van Acker finished fourth today to take the bronze medal, Railey won the race.  "Weymouth (where the Olympic Sailing Regatta will take place) could be light to medium breeze, so it is good practice," added Xu.

In 470 Men's, Australia's Mathew Belcher/Malcolm Page held the lead the entire week, and in today's medal race finished tenth to clinch the gold.  Ahead of them in eighth place were Sven Coster/Kalle Coster (NED), who took the silver, with fourth-place finishers Panagoitis Kampouridis/Efstathios (GRE) taking the bronze.

To secure the gold in 470 Women's, Lisa Westerhof/Lobke Berkhout (NED), who are two-time World Champions and heading to the Olympic Games, had to make top-six in today's medal race and ended up taking third. "It was very tricky and very light," said Westerhof, adding that waves from spectator boats sometimes stopped them in their tracks.  After day two, Westerhof/Berkhout had jumped ahead of Great Britain's Hannah Mills and Saskia Clarke, who took the silver today after finishing fourth.  "The British spilled some points on one day, and we kept sailing very strong," said Westerhof.  The bronze was won by Sophie Weguelin/Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) after they won today's race.

Lucy Macgregor/Annie Lush/ Kate Macgregor (GBR) won the gold medal in Women's Match Racing with a 3-1 win over Olivia Price/Nina Curtis/Lucinda Whitty (AUS), who had to settle for silver after their fates were sealed in the final match of their first-to-three flight.   The race looked to be going the Aussies' way when GBR lagged as much as 12 boat lengths behind during the first lap of the twice-around course.  Their momentum was halted, however, on the second upwind leg when they hit some major waves and tried to tack with too little speed while GBR closed the gap.  Back in the game, GBR sailed to a lead that exchanged mouse for cat, and with plenty of further batting around, proved that match racing is one of the most exciting Olympic disciplines to watch.

Taking bronze in the Petit Finals after battling with Australia's Olivia Price/Nina Curtis/Lucinda Whitty was the USA's Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.)/Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham (Miami, Fla.)/Alana O'Reilly (Charleston, S.C.).

Demita Vega De Lille (MEX) considers her gold medal here in RS:X Women's another notch in the harness she wears while pursuing her Olympic dreams."This event will not give me any points for the Olympic Games, but it is very good for me for the training," said Vega De Lille, who has not yet made her country's Olympic Team.  "I am very happy to be here, and I hope to qualify in Spain at the World Championships."

Taking the silver was Farrah Hall (USA), who has won the right among fellow teammates to go to the Olympic Games but has yet to qualify her country, while winning bronze was Dominique Vallee (CAN).

Nick Dempsey (GBR), who will represent his country at the Olympic Games, was rehearsing all week for his victory today in the RS:X Men's windsurfing race.  In fact, this was his 11th straight win in as many races here. Fellow teammate Elliot Carney clinched the silver with 31 overall points to Dempsey's 11, while Sebastian Wang-Hansen (NOR) took the bronze with 38 points overall.

If anyone else's performance here could be called decisive for the gold it would have to be Zach Railey's (Clearwater, Fla., USA) in the 25-boat Finn class. With a 12-point lead over Denmark's Jonas Hogh Christensen going into today and nothing worse than a third-place finish in his 10-race lead-up series, Railey won today's race for good measure, leaving Hogh Christensen to take fourth for silver.  With 18 points separating those two in the final standings, Canada's Greg Douglas finished third today to add six points to his score line (another 12 points behind Hogh Christensen) and post a final 45 points for bronze.

"Miami is where I went to college and it all started here, training full time and wanting to make the push towards the Olympic Games," said Railey, who graduated in 2006 and won an Olympic Silver Medal at the 2008 Games, "and now I'm going back to the Games in 2012, and to have my first World Cup victory here in Miami makes it sweeter."

About today's race, Railey said, "I definitely knew that there was going to be some pressure from the Danish sailor.  We were locked in a pretty tight match race there before the start, but I was able to break away from him and sail my own race. The goal going in was to capitalize on my performance this week and go out in a good dominating fashion."

US Sailing's Golden Torch Award

US Sailing's Golden Torch Trophy, awarded to the U.S. sailor with the best overall performance at US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR, this year went to Finn Gold Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.).  The torch, from the 1980 Moscow Olympics, was presented by the Russian Olympic Committee to Andrew Kostanecki – United States Olympic Sailing Committee from 1985 to 1988.  Mr. Kostanecki gave the torch to US Sailing as an award for aspiring Olympians and Paralympians.  This is the first time that Railey has received this award.

US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR, established in 1990, is open to boats competing in events chosen for the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competitions. The event is significant as the second of seven stops on ISAF's Sailing World Cup circuit and is the only of those to be hosted in North America. The USA was represented with the largest contingent of teams (135), followed by Canada (85), Sweden and The Netherlands (25 each), Great Britain (22), then Argentina and Norway (both 14).  Fifteen nations were represented in Saturday night's Medal Ceremony. Taking away the most medals was Great Britain with eight (3 golds, 4 silvers, 1 bronze), followed by the USA and The Netherlands with five each (respectively, 3 silvers, 2 bronze, and 2 golds, 2 silvers, one bronze). Canada claimed four medals, while Norway and Australia each came away with three; Brazil and France with two, and Austria, Finland, China, Belgium, Greece, Denmark and Mexico each with one apiece.

(top-three finishes follow)

Sonar (10 boats) – 10 races

Gold: Udo Hessels/ Marcel van de Veen/ Mischa Rossen (NED) 3, [6], 4, 3,

5, 3, 1, 1, 1, 2 (23)

Silver: John Robertson/ Hannah Stodel/ Steve Thomas (GBR) 4, 2, 3, [6], 3,

4, 2, 4, 3, 3 (28)

Bronze: Aleksander Wang-Hansen/ Marie Solberg/Per Eugen Kristiansen (NOR)

[7], 7, 2, 5, 1, 5, 3, 2, 2, 4 (31)

Skud-18 (6 boats) – 10 races

Gold: Daniel Fitzgibbon/Liesl Tesch (AUS) [5], 1, 1, 1, 4, 4, 1, 1, 4, 1

(18)

Silver: Alexandra Rickham/Niki Birrell (GBR) 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, [3], 2, 2, 3,

3 (19)

Bronze: Jennifer French (St. Petersburg, Fla.)/Jean-Paul Creignou

(St.Petersburg, Fla.,USA) 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 1, 3, [OCS], 1, 2 (23)

2.4mR (25 boats) – 10 races

Gold: Damien Seguin (FRA) 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 3, 1, [9], 3, 1 (17)

Silver: Paul Tingley (CAN) 6, 7, 2, [9], 7, 5, 2, 4, 2, 7 (42)

Bronze: Barend Kol (NED) 5, 16, 4, 5, 3, 2, [DNF], 5, 4, 4 (48)

49er (23 boats) – 15 races + Medal Race

Gold: Nico Luca Marc Delle Karth/Nikolaus Resch (AUT) 5, 4, 5, 1, 4, 7, 1,

1, 1, 2, 4, 1, 1, 1, [9], 4 (42)

Silver: Erik Storck(Huntington,N.Y.)/Trevor Moore(Naples, Fla., USA) 1, 2,

6, 2, 3, [OCS], 4, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 3, 8, 14, 2 (59)

Bronze: Lauri Lehtinen/Kalle Bask (FIN), 2, [BFD], 7, 13, 2, 3, 2, 5, 7,

10, 9, 7, 2, 3, 1, 6 (79)

Star (29 boats) – 10 races + Medal Race

Gold: Robert Scheidt/ Bruno Prada (BRA) 1, [8], 7, 5, 2, 1, 3, 7, 4, 1, 6

(37)

Silver: Xavier Rohart/Pierre Alexis Ponsot (FRA) 4, 9, 9, 8, 5, [12], 1,

1, 5, 2, 4 (48)

Bronze: Eivind Melleby/ Petter Moerland Pedersen (NOR) 8, 2, 4, 3, 8, 4,

5, 3, 1, [13], 12 (50)

Laser Radial (60 boats) – 10 races + Medal Race

Gold: Lijia Xu (CHN) 5, [35], 2, 1, 6, 2, 1, 2, 5, 2, 16 (42)

Silver: Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 1, 2, 1, 5, [9], 6, 7, 3, 2, 5, 18 (50)

Bronze: Evi Van Acker (BEL) 4, [18], 10, 2, 10, 9, 2, 1, 1, 6, 8 (53)

470 Men (22 boats) – 10 races + Medal Race

Gold: Mathew Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS) 3, 2, 1, 6, [7], 1, 6, 1, 1, 1, 20

(42)

Silver: Sven Coster/Kalle Coster (NED) 1, 3, 3, [7], 5, 6, 3, 3, 2, 6, 16

(48)

Bronze: Panagoitis Kampouridis/Efstathios (GRE) 9, 6, 8, 2, 4, 3, 1, [12],

5, 5, 8 (51)

470 Women (15 boats) – 10 races + Medal Race

Gold:Lisa Westerhof/Lobke Berkhout (NED) 2, 3, 5, [OCS], 2, 1, 5, 4, 1, 1,

6 (30)

Silver:Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) 1, 1, 1, 7, 4, 7, [OCS], 2, 6, 7, 8

(44)

Bronze:Sophie Weguelin/Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) 4, 10, 2, 4, 3, 6, [OCS], 9,

7, 6, 2 (53)

Laser (Gold) (37 boats)-10 races + Medal Race

Gold:Paul Goodison (GBR) 3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3, [11], 5, 2, 3, 4 (24)

Silver:Bruno Fontes (BRA) [7], 2, 4, 5, 4, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 10 (30)

Bronze:David Wright (CAN) 1, 1, 1, 4, 1, 2, 5, 15, 8, [16], 8 (48)

Finn (25 boats) – 10 races + Medal Race

Gold:Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA) 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, [3], 3, 1, 2

(15)

Silver:Jonas Hogh Christensen (DEN) 3, 4, 2, 3, 2, 1, 4, 4, 2, [5], 8 (33)

Bronze:Greg Douglas (CAN) [26/BFD], 3, 10, 7, 3, 3, 5, 1, 5, 2, 6 (45)

RS: X Men (14 boats) –  10 races + Medal Race

Gold:Nick Dempsey (GBR) 1, 1, [OCS], 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2 (11)

Silver:Elliot Carney (GBR) 2, 3, [OCS], 3, 2, 2, 5, 2, 3, 5, 4 (31)

Bronze:Sebastian Wang-Hansen (NOR) 5, 2, 3, 4, 3, 4, 2, 4, [6], 3, 8 (38)

RS: X Women (12 boats) – 10 races + Medal Race

Gold:Demita Vega De Lille (MEX)  1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, [3], 1, 1, 4 (16)

Silver:Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md., USA) 2, 1, 6, 6, [OCS], 2, 1, 4, 2, 3,

10 (37)

Bronze:Dominique Vallee (CAN) 5, 5, 2, 3, 2, 5, 6, [7], 5, 5, 2 (40)

Women's Match Racing

Gold:Lucy Macgregor/Annie Lush/ Kate Macgregor (GBR)

Silver:Olivia Price/Nina Curtis/Lucinda Whitty (AUS)

Bronze:Sally Barkow (Nashotah, WI., USA)/ Alana O'Reilly (Charleston SC,

USA)/ Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham (Miami Beach FL, USA) (USA)

Published in Olympics 2012

#MOCR – Two top ten results overall at the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta means medal race participation is guaranteed for Ireland's Star and Laser Radial tomorrow even though medals are most likely just out of reach for both Peter O'Leary/David Burrows in the Star or Laser sailor Annalise Murphy.

With nine of the top 15 from December's Star World championships in Perth racing this week in Miami, including the world champions Robert Sheidt and Bruno Prada from Brazil, just getting into the medal race has been a tough job this week. It is something O'Leary and Burrows failed to achieve in Australia but have done so today and shown some consistent form too as the week progressed. An understated entry on the team facebook page simply says: '2 & 3 today. Medal race tomorrow'.

Today was the last day of fleet racing and conditions were not as favourable on Biscayne Bay as previous days with moderate winds of 9 to 12 knots in the morning, dropping to six knots this afternoon. The Cork-Dublin pair had a superb performance though coming home second and third in today's two races. They round up the fleet racing in sixth overall, poised for tomorrow's final race.

Annalise Murphy finished her final fleet race today with a race win, her second of the regatta. It's a result that moves her right up to seventh overall in the fleet of 60 Laser Radials and earns her a place in the Medal Race tomorrow.

Belfast's James Espey finished his racing in the regatta today. He was competing in the 78 boat Laser feet, the largest in the championship. Espey scored a 26th and a 20th which left him 24th overall.

At the front of the Star class, the neck-and-neck race between Brazil's Robert Scheidt/Bruno Prada and Sweden's Fredrik Loof/Max Salminen was further complicated by Norway's Eivind Melleby/ Petter Moerland Pedersen when that team won the first of two races today.  With the Brazilians taking fourth and the Swedes taking third, the performance tied Melleby/Pedersen with Scheidt/Prada going into the second race, while Loof/Salminen had a one-point edge on their closest competitors.  The nod went to Scheidt/Prada in the end, however, when the Brazilians, who are the current World champions, won the second race, putting Loof/Salminen two points behind them in fourth (with 33 points) and Melleby/Pedersen in third (38 points).

Melleby had said earlier in the week that the top ten here are so good that getting to the medal race would be tough. "We have here nine of the top 15 teams from Perth (where the most recent World Championships were held), so the fleet is quite strong."  With five of those now off the final-race roster, Melleby's goal tomorrow will be to power through for a podium position.

Published in Olympics 2012

#MOCR – A place in this weekend's medal race is the likley prize for Olympic Star keelboat pair Peter O'Leary and David Burrows who have scored top ten results for the third day in a row at the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta. The Cork–Dublin duo, now in seventh overall after a seventh and a sixth scored yesterday, need to continue the consistent performance into today's final round of fleet racing to secure a top ten placing overall.

Dun Laoghaire's single-hander Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial now in ninth overall is also set for a place in Saturday's medal race having discarded her worst result of  27th, scored yesterday afternoon on Biscayne Bay.

The Irish Paralympic team in the Sonar class had their best day so far of the championship with two fifth places. A protest yesterday evening resulted in their disqualifcation from yesterday's final race but that didn't prevent them from moving up one place on the leader board to seventh overall.

Laser sailor James Espey from Belfast Lough slipped to 22nd overall following two 35th places.

Additional reporting by organisers:

Miami, Florida, USA: A final showdown awaits three Paralympic classes tomorrow and ten Olympic classes on Saturday at US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR, which has, thus far, gifted sailors with four days of sublime sunshine and satisfying winds. The event is the only one of seven ISAF Sailing World Cup events to grace a shore on this continent and has attracted 529 sailors from 41 countries from as close as Canada and as far away as New Zealand and China.
"It's looking pretty exciting," said Brazil's Star sailor Robert Scheidt, who with crew Bruno Prada has perhaps one of the most impressive sailing records here. (Together, they are two-time Olympic medalists and just off their second straight title win at the Star World Championships). "Some of the guys who have already got a spot in the Olympics are here and they are really sailing well."
No one has been proving that theory better than Sweden's Fredrik Loof/Max Salminen who yesterday trailed Scheidt/Prada by two points and today tied on points with the Brazilians after finishing 6-2 to their 3-7. With both teams posting 26 points, Norway's Eivind Melleby/ Petter Moerland Pedersen are nipping at their heels with only 29 points.
As will happen at the Olympics, only the top-ten boats after tomorrow's racing will be allowed to progress to Saturday's single medal race, which will determine gold, silver and bronze medals.
For the Paralympic sailors here, tomorrow will be the final day of racing (two races each scheduled for Skud-18, Sonar and 2.4mR classes) and determine who takes home medals. (This is the same format that will be followed at their Games.)
Top three podium positions:
Sonar, 10 boats, - 8 races
1. Jourden Bruno / Vimont Vicary Nicolas / Flageul Eric, FRA, 19 points
2. Udo Hessels / Marcel van de Veen / Mischa Rossen, NED, 20
2. John Robertson / Hannah Stodel / Steve Thomas, GBR, 22
Star, 29 boats, - 8 races
1. Robert Scheidt / Bruno Prada, BRA, 26
2. Fredrik Loof / Max Salminen, SWE, 26
3. Eivind Melleby / Petter Moerland Pedersen, NOR, 29
49er, 23 boats, - 12 races
1. Nico Luca Marc Delle Karth / Nikolaus Resch, AUT, 29
2. Erik Storck / Trevor Moore, USA, 33
3. Allan Norregaard / Peter Lang, DEN, 61
Skud-18, 6 boats, - 8 races
1. Daniel Fitzgibbon / Liesl Tesch, AUS, 13
2. Alexandra Rickham / Niki Birrell, GBR, 13
3. Jennifer French / Jean-Paul Creignou, USA, 20
2.4mR, 25 boats, - 8 races
1. Damien Seguin, FRA, 13
2. Paul Tingley, CAN, 33
3. Megan Pascoe, GBR, 39
Laser Radial, 60 boats, - 8 races
1. Lijia Xu, CHN, 19
2. Marit Bouwmeester, NED, 25
3. Evi Van Acker, BEL, 38
470 Men, 22 boats, - 8 races
1. Mathew Belcher / Malcolm Page, AUS, 20
2. Sven Coster / Kalle Coster, NED, 24
3. Lucas Calabrese / Juan Maria de la Fuente, ARG, 32
470 Women, 15 boats, - 8 races
1. Lisa Westerhof / Lobke Berkhout, NED, 22
2. Hannah Mills / Saskia Clark, GBR, 23
3. Maria Fernanda Sesto / Consuelo Monsegur, ARG, 31
Laser, Gold,, 37 boats,- 8 races
1. Paul Goodison, GBR, 15
2. David Wright, CAN, 17
3. Bruno Fontes, BRA, 18
Laser, Silver,, 37 boats,- 8 races
1. Marcin Rudawski, POL, 100
2. Ricardo Montemayor, MEX, 103
3. Matthew Ryder, CAN, 114
Finn, 25 boats, - 8 races
1. Zach Railey, USA, 9
2. Jonas Hogh Christensen, DEN, 19
3. Brendan Casey, AUS, 25
RS: X Men, 14 boats, - 8 races
1. Nick Dempsey, GBR, 7
2. Elliot Carney, GBR, 19
3. Mariano Reutemann, ARG, 20
RS: X Women, 12 boats, - 6 races
1. Demita Vega De Lille, MEX, 10
2. Carolina Mendelblatt, POR, 21
3. Farrah Hall, Annapolis, Md., USA, 22
Women's Match Racing
TOP FOUR ADVANCING TO SEMIFINALS
Sally Barkow / Alana O'Reilly / Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham, USA, 3 wins- 0 losses
Silja Lehtinen / Silja Kanerva / Mikaela Wulff, FIN, 3 wins- 0 losses
Olivia Price / Nina Curtis / Lucinda Whitty, AUS, 3 wins- 0 losses
Lucy Macgregor / Annie Lush / Kate Macgregor, GBR, 3 wins- 2 losses

Published in Olympics 2012

#MOCR – Consistent sailing in the third day of the Miami Olympic classes regatta moves Peter O'Leary and David Burrows right up the leader board in the Star keelboat. Currently sitting in sixth overall, up three places from yesterday, O'Leary and Burrows finished third in both races today, a fine performance from the Cork-Dublin duo that puts them two points off third place and 7 points off the lead. First place though is occupied by Brazilian's Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, the current world champions who have dominated this ISAF World Cup series.

Single–hander Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial took her first race win of the regatta and followed  it with an 11th in race six. Discard applied, Murphy moves up two positions to ninth overall.

Belfast Laser sailor James Espey had two top 10 results from the 78 boat fleet. He maintains his position at 19th overall following a sixth and a ninth in his two races.

The Irish Paralympic trio John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costello in the Sonar class unfortunately slipped one place to 8th overall following a 6th and a 7th in their two races, identical to yesterday's results.

 Robert-ScheidtandBruno-Prada

 Top Stars: Brazilian pair Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (above) are in the lead in Miami, Irish duo Peter O'Leary and David Burrows are 7 points adrift in sixth. Photo: Daniel Forster/Rolex

 


 

Additional reporting from regatta organisers:

The weather has been "stuck on beautiful" at the Rolex Miami OCR, but more important to the 529 sailors competing here from 41 countries has been the wind on Biscayne Bay, which today strengthened in knots to reach low double digits and helped re-ignite several key performances of sailors turning the corner to enter the regatta's home stretch. Six days of racing, which count toward standings in the ISAF Sailing World Cup Series, began on Monday for 354 boats sailing in the same 13 classes that will be featured at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Making the most out of the zippy conditions were the 24 teams split into Groups A and B in the Women's Match Racing discipline.  Today's goal was to complete the second of two round-robin series in each group.  This was realized in Group A but not Group B, which will finish up tomorrow and add its top four finishers to the top four from Group A that have won the honor of proceeding to the quarter finals, a single elimination "knock-out" round.

Group A's top finisher Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), who sails with Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham (Miami, Fla.) and Alana O'Reilly (Charleston, S.C.), was especially exhilarated by her 10-1 win-loss record, which was helped by a victory in today's closely watched match-up with fellow US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), who sails with Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) and has a 7-4 record. "I don't think we were ever more than a length apart the entire way around the course, so that was pretty cool," said Barkow.  "There were probably about four lead changes; nobody got penalties but everything was really close."

Match Racing courses are two laps around (windward/leeward), with a five-minute pre-start sequence, where boats are allowed to enter the starting area at four minutes.  Then it is a full battle from there until the finish line.

Said Barkow, who won bronze here last year to Tunnicliffe's silver:  "Sometimes when you get a two-length lead, then it's not so much of a big battle, and you don't have to defend things so hard. But you can imagine when it's really close that upwind it's kind of good for the boat ahead, but as soon as you go downwind, it's good for the boat behind. So, if you only have a length between the boats, it's really hard to be the boat ahead and stay ahead.  That was what it was with Anna."

Also moving on to the quarter finals are  Silja Lehtinen/Silja Kanerva/Mikaela Wulff (FIN), with an 8-1 record, and Ekaterina Skudina/Elena Siuzeva/Irina Lotsmanova (RUS) with a 5-2.

"We made one or two mistakes out there," said Tunnicliffe, the four-time (consecutive and current) Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and two-time ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year (also current), "but we still made the quarter finals." As for her match with Barkow, she said, "It was full on, lots of fun.  It shows that team USA has what it takes, and we will all be pushing hard leading up to the Olympics." Tunnicliffe, who also has an Olympic gold medal in Laser Radial class, explained that the Women's Match Racing U.S. Trials are in May in Weymouth where the "winner takes all" and goes on to compete in the Olympics.

Conditions were prime for the RS:X Men's windsurfing fleet, and Nick Dempsey (GBR), who was sitting in third in the Men's class coming into today, moved to first, with fellow teammate Elliot Carney moving up right behind him. "Elliot and I had a good couple of races today – kind of like training races for the two of us in a way – and it was great to get the conditions we did," said Dempsey. "It was the first time we've got to planing since we got here, so it gave the body a bit of a rest from the pumping, and it was nice to be going well in those conditions."

Although some big names are missing in the RS:X fleet, which is relatively small this year compared to others, there is still stiff competition.  "You have to work just as hard to get the results," said Dempsey.  "It's never as easy as the score line might look, so it's definitely been worthwhile coming here, and I'll be pushing hard for the rest of the week."

In RS:X Women's, Demita Vega De Lille (MEX) maintained her lead from yesterday and added two more victories to the two already existing in her six-race scoreline.  Like most of the classes here, the RS:X Women were allowed to discard their worst score after six races, which came today and also helped shuffle many scores.

Another sailor who did not change positions on the scoreboard was Marit Bouwmeester (NED), the World Champion in Laser Radial class who has held on to first place overall all three days. "Today I was struggling a bit because the wind pressure kept going up and down, and in the first race I got a yellow flag (a penalty for unallowed kinetics), but it's good to get out and experience the Miami weather,"  said Bouwmeester.  "This regatta has been great practice. I've been sailing against all these girls in many previous regattas and they are all major competition. It's great that so many of them took the time to come here after the Worlds in Perth."

US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR, established in 1990, is open to boats competing in events chosen for the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competitions. The 10 Olympic classes for 2012 are: Laser Radial (women), Laser (men), Finn (men), Men's RS:X, Women's RS:X, 49er (men), Men's 470, Women's 470, Star (men) and Elliot 6m (women). The three Paralympic classes are: 2.4mR (open), SKUD (mixed) and Sonar (mixed).

For fleet racing in the Olympic classes, the Rolex Miami OCR consists of a five-day opening series (Monday - Friday) and a double-point medal race (Saturday). The top 10 finishers in the opening series of each class will advance to the medal race. For match racing (Elliott 6m), which makes its debut in the 2012 Olympic Games, the regatta will consist of an opening series, a knockout series, and a sail-off for boats not advancing to the knockout series.  Competitors in the Paralympic classes have five days of fleet racing (Monday-Friday) and no medal race.

Medals will be awarded to the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class on Saturday, January 28.

Regatta Headquarters are located at the US Sailing Center Miami, an official Olympic training center, in the Coconut Grove section of Miami, Fla. Event organizers have partnered with the city of Miami to provide world-class venues for competition. Additional hosts for the event include Coral Reef Yacht Club, Key Biscayne Yacht Club, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Miami Rowing Club and Shake-a-Leg Miami. These sailing organizations host classes onshore, as well as help run the on-the-water racing. The Coral Reef Yacht Club also hosts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

In addition to title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., the 2012 Rolex Miami OCR is also sponsored by AlphaGraphics, Sperry Top-Sider, Harken McLube, Kattack, Gowrie-Chubb, Trinity Yachts and the University of Miami Hospital.

US SAILING's 2012 Rolex Miami OCR

Top-three Finishes

Day 3

Sonar (11 boats) – 6 races

1.Jourden Bruno/ Vimont Vicary Nicolas/ Flageul Eric (FRA) 1, 5, 1, 1, 2,

[8] (10)

2.John Robertson/ Hannah Stodel/ Steve Thomas (GBR) 4, 2, 3, [6], 3, 3 (15)

3.Paul Callahan(Newport,R.I.)/Tom Brown(Castine,Maine)/Bradley

Johnson(Pompano Beach,Fla.,USA) 1, 3, 5, 2, [7], 5 (17)

Star (30 boats) – 6 races

1.Robert Scheidt/ Bruno Prada (BRA) 1, [8], 7, 5, 2, 1 (16)

2.Fredrik Loof/ Max Salminen (SWE) 2, 5, 2, [9], 7, 2 (18)

3.Eivind Melleby/ Petter Moerland Pedersen (NOR) [8], 2, 4, 3, 8, 4 (21)

49er (23 boats) – 9 races

1.Nico Luca Marc Delle Karth/Nikolaus Resch (AUT) 5, 4, 5, 1, 4, [7], 1,

1, 1 (22)

2.Erik Storck(Huntington,N.Y.)/Trevor Moore(Naples, Fla., USA) 1, 2, 6, 2,

3, [24/OCS], 4, 2, 3 (23)

3.Lauri Lehtinen/Kalle Bask (FIN) 2, [24/BFD], 7, 13, 2, 3, 2, 5, 7 (41)

Skud-18 (6 boats) – 6 races

1.Alexandra Rickham/Niki Birrell (GBR) 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, [3] (9)

2.Daniel Fitzgibbon/Liesl Tesch (AUS) [5], 1, 1, 1, 4, 4 (11)

3.Jennifer French (St. Petersburg, Fla.)/Jean-Paul Creignou (St.

Petersburg, Fla.,USA) 2, 3, 3, 3, [5], 1 (12)

2.4mR (25 boats) – 6 races

1.Damien Seguin (FRA) 2, 1, [3], 2, 1, 3 (9)

2.Mark Le Blanc (New Orleans, La., USA) 1, [26/OCS], 5, 1, 6, 1 (14)

3.Barend Kol (NED) 5, [16], 4, 5, 3, 2 (19)

Laser Radial (60 boats) – 6 races

1.Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 1, 2, 1, 5, [9], 6 (15)

2.Lijia Xu (CHN) 5, [35], 2, 1, 6, 2 (16)

3.Evi Van Acker (BEL) 4, [18], 10, 2, 10, 9 (35)

470 Men (23 boats) – 6 races

1.Mathew Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS) 3, 2, 1, 6, [7], 1 (13)

2.Sven Coster/Kalle Coster (NED) 1, 3, 3, [7], 5, 6 (18)

3.Panagoitis Kampouridis/Efstathios Papadopoulos (GRE) [9], 6, 8, 2, 4, 3

(23)

470 Women (15 boats) – 6 races

1.Lisa Westerhof/Lobke Berkhout (NED) 2, 3, 4, [16/OCS], 2, 1 (13)

2.Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) 1, 1, 1, [7], 4, 7 (14)

3.Sophie Weguelin/ Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) 4, [10], 2, 4, 3, 6 (19)

Laser (74 boats)-6 races

1.David Wright (CAN) 1, 1, 1, [4], 1, 2 (6)

2.Paul Goodison (GBR) [3], 1, 1, 1, 3 (7)

3.Chris Dold (CAN) 2, 3, 3, 2, 2, [4] (12)

Finn (25 boats) – 6 races

1.Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA) 1, 1, 1, [2], 1, 2 (6)

2.Jonas Hogh Christensen (DEN) 3, [4], 2, 3, 2, 1 (11)

3.Brendan Casey (AUS) 4, [5], 3, 1, 4, 5 (17)

RS: X Men (14 boats) –  6 races

1.Nick Dempsey (GBR) 1, 1, [15/OCS], 1, 1, 1 (5)

2.Elliot Carney (GBR) 2, 3, [15/OCS], 3, 2, 2 (12)

3.Mariano Reutemann (ARG) 3, [4], 1, 2, 4, 3 (13)

RS: X Women (12 boats) – 6 races

1. Demita Vega De Lille (MEX)  1, [2], 1, 2, 1, 1 (6)

2. Carolina Mendelblatt (POR) 3, 3, [13/OCS], 4, 3, 3 (16)

3. Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md., USA) 2, 1, 6, 6, [13/OCS], 2 (17)

Women's Match Racing

Group A

Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.)/Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham (Miami,

Fla.),/Alana O'Reilly (Charleston, SC) (USA) 10 wins-1 loss

Silja Lehtinen/Silja Kanerva/Mikaela Wulff (FIN) 9 wins-2 loss

Ekaterina Skudina/Elena Siuzeva/Irina Lotsmanova (RUS) 8 wins- 3 loss

Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.)/Molly O'Bryan (Stanford,

Calif.)/Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.)  (USA) 7 wins-4 loss

Renata Decnop/Gabriela Nicolino/Larissa Juk (BRA) 6 wins- 5 loss

Nicky Souter/Jessica Eastwell/Katie Spithill (AUS) 6 wins- 5 loss

Juliana Senfft/Fernanda Decnop/Luciana Kopschitz (BRA) 5 wins- 6 loss

Silke Hahlbrock/Maren Hahlbrock/Anlee Lukosch (GER) 5 wins- 6 loss

Rita Goncalves/Mariana Lobato/Diana Neves (POR) 4 win- 7 loss

Vesna Dekleva Paoli/Katarina Kersevan/Lena Koter (SLO) 3 wins-8 loss

Ru Wang/Pan Ting Ting/Li Xiaoni (CHN) 3 wins- 8 loss

Jinnie Gordon/Laurel Gordon-Taylor/Catherine Belange (CAN) 0 win- 0 loss

Group B (Continue racing tomorrrow)

Mandy Mulder/Merel Witteveen/Annemiek Bekkering (NED) 7wins- 2 loss

Olivia Price/Nina Curtis/Lucinda Whitty (AUS) 7 win- 3 loss

Claire Leroy/Elodie Bertrand/Marie Riou (FRA) 6 win- 3 loss

Tamara Echegoyen/Angela Pumariega/Sofia Toro (ESP) 6 wins- 3 loss

Lucy Macgregor/Annie Lush/Kate Macgregor (GBR) 5 wins- 3 loss

Renee Groeneveld/Annemiek Bes/Marcelien de Koning (NED) 5 wins- 3 loss

Julie Bossard/Pauline Chalaux/Pauline Courtois (FRA) 5 wins- 4 loss

Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.)/Maggie Shea(Wilmette, Ill.)/Darby Smith

(Marblehead, Mass.)(USA) 4 wins- 6 loss

Genevieve Tulloch (Sausalito, Calif.)/Alice Manard Leonard (East Haven,

Conn.)/Jennifer Chamberlin (Washington,D.C.)(USA) 4 wins - 7 loss

Anna Kjellberg/Malin Kallstrom/Lotta Harrysson (SWE) 3 wins- 7 loss

Sharon Ferris-Choat/Barbara Kaars Sijpesteijn/Joanne Prokop (CAN) 2 win- 8

loss

Martina Silva/ Ana LucA-a Silva/ MarA-a Trinidad Silva (ARG) 1 win- 8 loss


Published in Olympics 2012

#MOCR –A second scored in yesterday afternoon's light conditions puts Peter O'Leary and David Burrows into the top ten after four races of the 33-boat mens keelboat fleet racing at the Rolex Miami Olympic classes Regatta. 'We got the finger out' the duo declared last night in a post on Facebook, a reference no doubt of the desire to move their campaign up a gear as the Weymouth Olympic regatta looms. The pair lie ninth overall with Norway's Eivind Melleby/Petter Moerland Pedersen taking an early lead in the regatta that ends on Sunday.

Dun Laoghaire's Annalise Murphy also moved up in her 60-boat Laser Radial fleet from 13th to 11th overall, having finished 8th and 19th respectively in her two races.

Yesterday's 8-11 knot breeze on Biscayne Bay allowed three of the Rolex Miami OCR’s 10 Olympic classes to catch up on the races they lost due to dying winds yesterday afternoon, and 529 sailors from 41 countries now have two days behind them in this important ISAF Sailing World Cup event. Three Paralympic classes also are competing here, adding to a total of 354 boats scattered across four racing circles plus a separate arena for women’s match racing.

Belfast Lough's James Espey remains in the top 20 in what is the largest of the classes, the 78–boat Laser fleet. He is currently 19th overall having secured a sixth followed by a 14th.

The Irish Paralympic trio John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costello in the Sonar class slipped one place from sixth to seventh overall following a sixth and a seventh in their two races.

US SAILING’s 2012 Rolex Miami OCR

Top-three Finishes
Day 2
Sonar (11 boats) – 4 races
1. Jourden Bruno/ Vimont Vicary Nicolas/ Flageul Eric (FRA) 1,5,1,1 (8)
2. Paul Callahan (Newport, R.I.)/ Tom Brown (Castine, Maine)/ Bradley Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla., USA) 1,3,5,2 (12)
3. John Robertson/ Hannah Stodel/ Steve Thomas (GBR) 4, 2, 3, 6 (15)

Star (30 boats) – 4 races
1. Eivind Melleby/ Petter Moerland Pedersen (NOR) 8, 2, 4, 3 (17)
2. Mark Mendelblatt (Miami, Fla.)/ Brian Fatih (Miami, Fla., USA) 3,4,6,4 (17)
3. Fredrik Loof/ Max Salminen (SWE) 2, 5, 2, 9 (18)

49er (23 boats) – 6 races
1. Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.)/Trevor Moore (Naples, Fla., USA) 1, 2, 6, 2, 3, [24/OCS] (14)
2. Nico Luca Marc Delle Karth/Nikolaus Resch (AUT) 5,4,5,1,4,[7] (19)
3. Lauri Lehtinen/Kalle Bask (FIN) 2, [24/BFD], 7, 13, 2, 3 (27)

Skud-18 (6 boats) – 4 races
1. Alexandra Rickham/Niki Birrell (GBR) 1, 2, 2, 2 (7)
2. Daniel Fitzgibbon/Liesl Tesch (AUS) 5, 1, 1, 1 (8)
3. Jennifer French (St. Petersburg, Fla.)/Jean-Paul Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla.,USA) 2, 3, 3, 3 (11)

2.4mR (29 boats) – 4 races
1. Damien Seguin (FRA) 2, 1, 3, 2 (8)
2. Paul Tingley (CAN) 6, 7, 2, 9 (24)
3. Megan Pascoe (GBR) 7, 4, 10, 3 (24)

Laser Radial (60 boats) – 4 races
1. Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 1, 2, 1, 5 (9)
2. Charlotte Dobson (GBR) 3, 8, 11, 4 (26)
3. Tania Elias Calles (MEX) 13, 4, 5, 7 (29)

470 Men (23 boats) – 4 race
1. Mathew Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS) 3, 2, 1, 6 (12)
2. Sven Coster/Kalle Coster (NED) 1, 3, 3, 7 (14)
3. Lucas Calabrese/ Juan Maria de la Fuente (ARG) 5, 8, 2, 4 (19)

470 Women (16 boats) – 4 race
1. Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) 1, 1, 1, 7 (10)
2. Kathrin Kadelbach/ Friederike Belcher (GER) 9, 4, 4, 1 (18)
3. Sophie Weguelin/ Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) 4, 10, 2, 4 (20)

Laser (74 boats) – 4 races
1. Paul Goodison (GBR) 3, 1, 1, 1 (6)
2. David Wright (CAN) 1, 1, 1, 4 (7)
3. Chris Dold (CAN) 2, 3, 3, 2 (10)

Finn (27 boats) – 3 races
1. Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA) 1, 1, 1 (3)
2. Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif., USA) 2, 2, 4 (8)
3. Jonas Hogh Christensen (DEN) 3, 4, 2, (9)

RS: X Men (14 boats) – 4 races
1. Mariano Reutemann (ARG) 3, 4, 1, 2 (10)
2. Sebastian Wang- Hansen (NOR) 5, 2, 3, 4 (14)
3. Nick Dempsey (GBR) 1, 1, 15/OCS, 1 (18)

RS: X Women (12 boats) – 4 races
1. Demita Vega De Lille (MEX) 1, 2, 1, 2 (6)
2. Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md., USA) 2, 1, 6, 6 (15)
3. Dominique Vallee (CAN) 5, 5, 2, 3 (15)

Published in Olympics 2012

#RMOCR – Ireland's Star and Laser Radial sailing teams stay in the top third of their respective fleets after the first day of racing at the 2012 Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta but only just. After a mixed opening day's performance from Peter O'Leary and David Burrows the keelboat pair are 11th from 33. Annalise Murphy fares better in13th after two races from a fleet of 60 boats competing on Biscayne Bay.

The sailors are Ireland's best hopes for a sailing medal at the London Olympics and are funded by the Irish Sports Council.

Conditions on the blustery Florida race courses, often judged to be one of the best race tracks in the world, blew from the north east and 12-20 knots in strength across the five courses. Over 700 sailors are competing, drawn from over 50 countries and ten Olympic classes.

It's the second round of ISAF's Sailing World Cup Regatta and as such represents one of the most important build up regattas of the year in advance of the Olynpic Games in less than 200 days time. Both Irish crews, who qualified for London in Perth last December, are fighting hard to post consistent results but yesterday's opening two rounds, although solid performances, wil not be the post Christmas boost they were looking for.

The Irish keelboat took a yellow flag Yellow flag penalty in the first race and did well to get back to tenth  O'Leary and Burrows scores of 10th and a 12th place them 11th overall.

Annalise Murphy concluded the day in 13th overall having secured a 17th and a 19th in her two races of the day.

Independent non-carded sailor James Espey got off to a consistent start in the largest of the classes, the 78 boat Laser fleet. He sits just outside the top 10 at 11th overall having finished 12th in both of his races of the day.

Also competing are the Irish Paralympic sailors John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costello in the Sonar class. The trio lie in the middle of the 11 boat fleet at 6th overall following a 9th and a 4th in their two races.

Published in Olympics 2012

#US SAILING – This weekend the Irish Olympic Star sailing team aka Peter O'Leary and David Burrows along with Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial is back in action in Miami at the first ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta of 2012. US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR will kick the 2012 calendar off following a busy 2011 that saw ten World Champions crowned at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships.

Running from 22-28 January at Biscayne Bay, Florida, USA, the Rolex Miami OCR will feature all of the Olympic events as teams ramp up preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) will be the pair to beat in the Star class following their gold medal performance in Perth 2011. The pair also dominated the 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup winning four of the five regattas they sailed in and are reigning champions in Miami.

With a winning margin of 49 points over Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen (SWE) at the 2011 regatta, a repeat performance would give the Brazilian World Champions a great start to their World Cup campaign.

In a fleet of 31-boats Loof and Salminen will join the Brazilians in Miami, as will Perth 2011 bronze medallists Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (USA) and 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup Star champions Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR).

Ireland's Peter O'Leary and David Burrows who are now certain of their Olympic slot for London will be attemptin to move up a gear and challenge the champions with under 200 days  to the Olympic regatta itself.

olearyburrowsstar

O'Leary and Burrows are back on the Olympic circuit this wekend in Miami, Florida – Photo: Richard Langdon

In the Laser Radial Lijia Xu (CHN) will look to continue her good start to her Sailing World Cup campaign after victory at Sail Melbourne. The World #42 won Sail Melbourne after a dominating display following seven top three finishes during the regatta in the competitive 25-boat fleet. But the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist and former Laser Radial World Champion will find Miami a harder nut to crack with 59 sailors registered to compete.

Among the fleet is World #1 Evi Van Acker (BEL), Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships Laser Radial gold medallist Marit Bouwmeester and Perth 2011 bronze medallist and winner of the 2011 Rolex Miami OCR Paige Railey (USA).

Dun Laoghaire's Annalise Murphy fresh from her sixth in Perth in December is competing and seeking further progress for London.

Bouwmeester is going for a third consecutive ISAF Sailing World Cup title after a six point victory over Veronika Fenclova (CZE) in 2009-2010 and a one point win over Van Acker in 2010-2011. But after one regatta Bouwmeester sits in 15th position with Xu leading the way followed by Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) and Krystal Weir (AUS).

annalise3

Annalise in action in Perth. She races this weekend in Miami. Photo: Richard Langdon

With 81 entries the Laser fleet is the largest at the Rolex Miami OCR. World #4 Bruno Fontes (BRA) is the highest ranked sailor competing World #5 Julio Alsogaray (ARG) and Beijing Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison (GBR) set to join him on the starting line.

In the Men's RS:X 14 sailors will compete for ISAF Sailing World Cup points with last year's World Cup runner up Nick Dempsey (GBR) set to line up. And in the Women's fleet, 13 windsurfers will compete.

A competitive 16-boat fleet will line up in the Women's 470. Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan (USA) and Kathrin Kadelbach and Friederike Belcher (GER) sailed at Sail Melbourne and registered early World Cup points. The Americans finished third whilst the Germans came fifth. Another good performance from either crew will give them a superb start to the 2011-2012 campaign.

Joining the American and German crews will be World #2 Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR). Having already been selected to represent Great Britain for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition the pressure of qualification is off the girls and they will get some valuable competition time in Miami.

Israel's Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila and the Netherlands Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout will also sail following strong performances at Perth 2011.

The Men's 470 fleet welcomes 24 crews to Miami including Perth 2011 gold medallists and World #1 pair Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page. The Australians finished second behind Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl (USA) at the opening ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta, Sail Melbourne, and are looking to defend the World Cup crown they won by 19 points last year.

World #3 Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlov Kagialis (GRE), World #7 Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela (ISR) and World #8 Luca Calabrese and Juan De La Fuente (ARG) are also set to sail.

Thirteen American Finn sailors make up half of the 26-boat fleet. World #6 Zach Railey (USA) will be the favourite to take the title with only Brendan Casey (AUS) and Caleb Paine (USA) the other sailors in the top 25 of the world's Finn sailors.

2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup 49er Champions Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) begin their World Cup campaign and will be joined by World #4 pair Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang (DEN) and the American team of Erik Storck and Trevor Moore whose dreams of world championship medals were shattered in Perth when their rudder broke in the Medal Race.

The Paralympic Classes also commence sailing with 29 registered 2.4mR entries, seven SKUD-18 and 11 Sonar entries.

Women's Match Racers enjoy a practice day on 22 January before competition for all the fleets kicks off on 23 January.

Published in Olympics 2012
Page 2 of 5

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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