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SAIL Olympics Update: Light Air Stymies Medal Races

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Everyone knew the wind can shut down on Rio’s Guanabara Bay from time to time, and shut down it did on Day 8 of the 2016 Olympic regatta. The only races that came off were those held on the open Atlantic on the Niteroi and Copacabana courses, where the 49er and 49erFX classes competed. As a result, Tuesday will be an especially busy day for regatta organizers as the Finn, Laser, Laser Radial and Nacra 17 classes will all be having their medal races.

In the 49erFX class, U.S. sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt, have fallen off the pace a bit, finishing 11, 8 and 8 in their three races today leaving them in 9th place overall with 64 points. At the front of the pack, Spanish sailors Tamara Echegoyen Dominguez and Berta Betanzos Moro continue to have a strong regatta, with just 30 point and no less than three bullets to their credit.

However, the three podium spots remain wide open as New Zealanders Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech, and Brazilians Martine Soffiatti Grael (daughter of the famed Olympic gold medalist sailor Torben Grael) and Kahena Kunze are just four and five points behind respectively.

As for the medal races tomorrow, at this point, the only U.S. sailor with a chance at a medal is Finn sailor Caleb Paine, who’s had a strong regatta in a tremendously deep and talented fleet and now stands in 4th overall. As evidence of the extraordinary depth of the Finn class, sailors as far down in the rankings as 19th have managed to win individual races in the course of the series—which only makes the fact that British sailor Giles Scott has already sealed up the gold with a race to spare all the more extraordinary.

In other medal races, Paige Railey will be participating in the Laser Radial race, but is too far back to be returning home with a medal, having just made the cutoff for the medal race in 10th position. Leading the Laser Radial series is Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands with 47 points. Right behind her are Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom and Ireland’s Annalise Murphy with 55 and 57 points respectively, so look for some interesting competition there.

Similarly, U.S. sailors Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee will be taking part in the Nacra 17 medal race, but are not in the running for a spot on the podium. Currently in first place in that class are Argentinian sailors Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, with Italy’s Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri in second and Austria’s Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank in third. A mere two points separate the latter two with Australian’s Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin only two additional points away in fourth.

Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic is in first place in the Laser fleet with Australia’s Tom Burton 10 points behind in second and New Zealand’s Sam Meech another 10 points behind him in third. U.S. sailor Charlie Buckingham will not be sailing in the medal race having placed 11th overall at the end of the preliminaries.

For complete results in the sailing events, click here.

August 2016

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