Skip to main content

Caleb Paine on his Olympic Bronze

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:
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

Alexforbes Archangel1-1 (14)

Cape2Rio Draws to a Close

With just four boats still on their way, it has been a long road to Rio for the fleet competing in this year’s Cape2Rio. Larry Folsom’s American-flagged Balance 526 Nohri took line honors and a win in the MORCA fleet, finishing with a corrected time of 18 days, 20 hours, and 42 ...read more

_01-Steve-and-Irene-1

Close Encounters: A Star to Steer By

I first met Steve and Irene Macek in the proper way—in an anchorage full of bluewater cruising boats. This was in St. Georges, Bermuda, in the spring of 2019. Theirs, without doubt, was the most distinctive boat there—an immaculate, three-masted, double-ended Marco Polo schooner ...read more

14_01_230123_TOR_JOF_0414-2048x

The Ocean Race Leg 2 Kicks Off

After a trial by fire start to the race and only a brief stop for limited fixes, the five IMOCA 60 crews in The Ocean Race set off for Cape Town, South Africa, early on January 25. Despite arriving somewhat battered in Cabo Verde, an African island nation west of Senegal, the ...read more

Lead

Cruising: Smitten with a Wooden Boat

I was sailing down the inner channel of Marina del Rey under a beautiful red sunset when Nills, one of the crew members on my boat, pointed out an unusual and unique-looking 40-foot gaff-rigged wooden cutter tied to the end of a dock. Its classic appearance was a stark contrast ...read more

Screen-Shot-2023-01-23-at-12.03.19-PM

Racing Recap: Leg One of The Ocean Race

New to spectating The Ocean Race? Managing Editor Lydia Mullan breaks down everything you need to know to get started. ...read more

image00001

From the Editor: Keeping the Hands in Hands-On

SAIL Editor-in-Chief Wendy Mitman Clarke enjoys a sunny autumn cruise in her Peterson 34 on the Chesapeake Bay. It was late afternoon just after the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis when I climbed aboard the last boat on the schedule. I and others who review and sail boats for ...read more

P1580711

B&G Announces New Zeus S Chartplotter

B&G has long been putting out top-of-the-line electronics, but the new Zeus S Chartplotter is a new take on the best way to give sailors the exact information they need, when they need it. “So many more people sail shorthanded these days, whether as a couple or when they’re ...read more

00-LEAD-DSCF1601

Charter: Mission to Mars

In the wake of the pandemic, many sailors are seeking adventure and grabbing onto a vision of their best lives. For some, that may mean sailing across the Atlantic with the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) while for others, it could be a yacht charter in the Caribbean. The ...read more