Introducing the 2012 U.S. Sailing Team
Paige Railey, 25, of Clearwater, Florida, has been competing at an impressively high level for many years. While many may remember her epic Olympic Trials battle against Anna Tunnicliffe (who went on to win gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics), far fewer people are aware of her commitment to Buddhism, which helps her calm her mind before races. With bronze-medal finishes at the 2011 ISAF Worlds, the 2011 Pan American Games and the 2011 Weymouth and Portland Regatta, Railey is looking strong going into this Olympics.
Erik Storck & Trevor Moore
Erik Storck, 27, of Huntington, New York, and Trevor Moore, 27, of North Pomfret, Vermont, grew up sailing and racing with their parents. Storck’s family distance-raced their Ericson 39, Jonrob, and buoy-raced their J/80, Rumors. Moore raced tech dinghies with his dad and brother before graduating to Optis and Laser Radials. Storck’s one-design career also began with Optis, after which he switched to 420s before partnering with Moore on the 49er. They finished second at the 2012 Miami OCR and were in medal contention at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships before breaking a rudder.
While Zach Railey, 28, of Clearwater, Florida, loves sailing in general, his true passion is competing in the ultra-elite Finn class. Railey earned a silver medal in 2008, when he was bested by four-time Olympic medalist Sir Ben Ainslie of Great Britain. Although Ainslie will be trying for yet another Finn medal in Weymouth, Railey brings a lot of positive momentum—including a bronze at the 2011 Kiel Week, a silver at the 2012 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia, and gold medals at the 2012 Miami OCR and the 2012 U.S. Finn nationals.
Mark Mendelblatt & Brian Fatih
Few Olympic skippers are more seasoned than Mark Mendelblatt, 39, of St. Petersburg, Florida, who already had an impressive international-level resume by age 12. Mendelblatt sailed for Tufts University, where he dominated college-sailing headlines. Numerous Olympic and America’s Cup campaigns followed before Mendelblatt matriculated to the Star and partnered with Brian Fatih, 39, of Miami, Florida. Although they’ve only been sailing together since 2010, Mendelblatt and Fatih won bronze at the 2011 ISAF Worlds and are considered serious contenders for Weymouth.
MEN'S & WOMEN'S RS:X WINDSURFING
Farrah Hall & Robert Willis
Farrah Hall, 30, of Annapolis, Maryland, grew up sailing but also took part in competitive swimming and running. College at St. Mary’s of Maryland provided more sailing experience and after windsurfing on Martha’s Vineyard, she was hooked. Her RS:X resume includes silver at the 2012 Miami OCR and bronze at the 2011 Pan American Games. Chicago’s Robert Willis, 25, started sailing Optis when he was 8, followed by 420s and college sailing at Connecticut College. After graduation, Willis focused on RS:X racing. His top results include a sixth in the 2012 Miami OCR and a seventh in the 2011 Pan American Games.
Amanda Clark & Sarah Lihan
"Focused” is the appropriate word to describe Amanda Clark, 30, of Shelter Island, New York, and Sarah Lihan, 23, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The two only joined forces in February 2011, but after an impressive third place at the 2011 ISAF Worlds and a fifth-place finish at the 2012 Miami OCR, it’s fair to say they are a strong team. While Clark has skippered 470s for years (including a 12th-place finish at the 2008 Olympics), Lihan is new to the class, with a strong background as a Laser Radial sailor.
Stu McNay & Graham Biehl
Stu McNay, 30, of Newton, Massachusetts, and Graham Biehl, 25, of San Diego, teamed up in 2005, determined to win an Olympic medal. They represented the United States in the 2008 Olympics, where they finished 13th out of a strong field. They have been working hard ever since, earning silver at the 2009 ISAF World Cup Series and finishing fourth in 2010. In 2011 they won gold at Sail Melbourne and finished fourth at the 2012 Miami OCR.
Rob Crane, 26, of Darien, Connecticut, cut his racing teeth on Optis and then Laser Radials. Unlike many of his peers, he played other varsity-level sports in high school. But a move to Hobart College facilitated year-round sailing, and he placed third at the 2008 men’s Intercollegiate Sailing Associations Single Handed Championship. Crane has been sailing well ever since and is a three-time member of the US Sailing Team. He beat out Clay Johnson and Brad Funk—both strong sailors—for a spot on the 2012 Olympic squad, and it will be interesting to see how he does in Weymouth.
WOMEN'S MATCH RACING
Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer & Debbie Capozzi
Anna Tunnicliffe, 29, of Plantation, Florida, famously won gold at the 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial class after first winning a gruelling Olympic Trials against Paige Railey. Afterward, she and crew Molly Vandemoer, 33, of Stanford, California, and Debbie Capozzi, 31, of Bayport, New York, promptly shot to the top of the women’s match racing circuit, winning the 2011 ISAF Worlds. This tight-knit team has trained hard and is among the favorites at Weymouth.