Caleb Paine on his Olympic Bronze

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
Paine heads upwind under the watchful eyes of gold-medal winner Giles Scott of Great Britain

Paine heads upwind under the watchful eyes of gold-medal winner Giles Scott of Great Britain

After being shut out at the 2012 Olympic regatta in Weymouth, England, the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team had nowhere to go but up at the recent 2016 Games in Rio. And while it still has a way to go to catch up to such powerhouses as Great Britain (which took two golds and a silver) or Australia (which took one gold and three silvers), the team definitely seemed to turn the corner, with top-10 finishes in six of 10 classes and a bronze medal going to U.S. sailor Caleb Paine in the hyper-competitive Finn, heavyweight dinghy class.

Paine’s podium performance, in particular, was a dramatic one—coming from behind in the final race thanks to a savvy call on a wind shift midway through the first beat, to win the race outright and vault himself into third overall. We spoke with Paine a few days after the regatta to see how it felt having an Olympic medal to add to his trophy collection.

Finn-class medal winners (from left) Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia, Giles Scott and Caleb Paine with their silver, gold and bronze medals

Finn-class medal winners (from left) Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia, Giles Scott and Caleb Paine with their silver, gold and bronze medals

SAIL: What’s it like competing at the Olympic level compared to the many other regattas you’ve been in?

Caleb Paine: It’s not like any other event. You can tell the whole world is watching. Everyone also brings their A-game, everyone has their equipment tuned for the venue, so it’s difficult if you ever get a deep score. The points are always so close all through the event. There were a couple of mark roundings where the entire fleet seemed to round at the same time.

SAIL: Describe how you found that shift on the first beat of the medal race.

CP: U.S. Finn coach Luther Carpenter and I came up with a game plan going into the medal race, and it was commit and don’t look back. The medal race is 20 minutes shorter than a typical Finn race, and because of this we had a different strategy on how to plan for it. I came off the line on the boat end with a decent start. I intended to go left, but about a minute off the start I looked up the course and saw a strong wind line off to the right side of the course. I tacked and ducked Giles Scott (the UK sailor who won gold at Rio) and didn’t look back. If it was a larger course, I would have stayed with the fleet after the first shift. But my goal was to win the race, so I did everything that would get me closer to that goal.

SAIL: How do you feel about the current state of the U.S. team and where it’s headed with regard to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo?

CP: I think the team is on a great path with lots of young sailors. I truly believe the team is heading in the right direction, and it’s really promising for the future. The ability to do what we did with what we have is truly amazing. We had a huge medal-race presence with almost all first-time Games goers. The team is in great place looking forward, and I would be watching out for the U.S. Sailing Team come 2020.

SAIL: What are you plans now, with the Rio Olympics behind you?

CP: I have no idea! That’s kind of what I’m figuring out. I’d like to do some professional sailing. I may also try for Tokyo. I don’t really know. I’ll be figuring that out in the next couple of months! s

For complete coverage of the 2016 Olympic Regatta, including video and analysis on a day-to-day basis, go to sailmagazine.com/racing.—AC

Photos courtesy of Daniel Forster/Us Sailing Team

Related

101218BTSC-9887

Just Launched: Little Big Boat

Peter Nielsen looks at Beneteau’s latest entry-level boat and a new cruiser from Tartan Group Beneteau’s commitment to entry-level boats has been reaffirmed over the last year with the assimilation of the sporty Seascape line of pocket cruisers and the ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more