Caleb Paine on his Olympic Bronze

Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
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

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comImpeller Practice Engine raw-water pump impellers don’t last forever. Even if they are not destroyed by running the engine dry following a blockage, they still deteriorate with the years. If you’ve never ...read more

Waves1(1)

Know how: Weather 101, Basics

OverviewThe first thing to know is that “Weather 101, Basics” is a science course. Its goal is to prepare boaters for a second course launching later this year called “Weather 202, Advanced.” Taken together, these classes are designed to teach boaters to become their own weather ...read more

05-Close-reaching

Light-Air Sailing

Some of the best times aboard a cruising boat are in light airs—those quiet, relaxed sunny days with gentle sailing that just wouldn’t be the same if you were motoring. However, many cruising yachts are not set up to truly fullfill their potential in these kinds of conditions.One ...read more

VOR-BoatYard

Volvo Ocean Race: the Boatyard

The Volvo Ocean Race stopovers are a chance for sailors to rest between grueling legs of the race and for fans to enjoy seeing their favorite boats in person. Behind the scenes of the festivities, however, Nick Bice and his team of expert riggers, boatbuilders, sailmakers and ...read more

20160711_Klampe_Alu_013

Nomen: Folding Cleats

Springtime for CleatsIt’s not every day you see a new take on the humble cleat. There are two problems with these essential items: lines tend to get snagged in them when you least want them to and they attract bare toes with painful accuracy. German company Nomen, maker of the ...read more

WS-POD-600

Watt & Sea: Power Pod Hydrogenerators

Power PodHydrogenerators are an increasingly common addition to bluewater cruising boats, but for all their benefits many sailors don’t like to mount them on the transom, where they may interfere with self-steering gear or drop-down transom platforms. Instead, Watt & Sea’s new ...read more