SAIL Olympics Update: U.S. women’s 470 sailors come up short

Publish date:
Social count:

The U.S. Sailing Team will have to settle for Caleb Paine’s single bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic sailing regatta following a heart-stopping and heartbreaking medal race in the women’s 470 class. U.S. sailors Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha had been in third place overall going into the race and actually led the fleet at the first windward mark. But a tough second beat followed by a penalty turn that they incurred at the end of the second run put their dreams of a podium finish to an end.

Early on, Haeger and Briana Provancha were a bit slow off the starting line, as the wind blew a steady 17-plus knots of wind out of the southwest on Rio’s notoriously tricky Pao de Acucar course. But by playing the shifts and staying clear of bad air they worked their way up to the front of the fleet so that they were first to the windward mark. They also looked good on the following downwind leg, again by staying clear of bad air, so that the were first around the leeward mark as well.

Unfortunately, it was then that things started to go wrong as they found themselves pinned by New Zealanders Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (who were a single point ahead of the Americans in first overall) and forced to go to the left side of the course and away from their other competition: French sailors Camille LeCointre who were a single point behind them in fourth overall and Japanese sailors Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka who were another two points behind them in fifth. The end result was that by the time the fleet came back together again for its second windward-mark rounding, Haeger and Provancha were in sixth.

Even then, they still had a chance at a medal as the fleet raced back down to the leeward mark for the second and final time, all within mere yards of one another. However, just shy of the mark they fouled the Japanese team, which forced them to do a penalty turn that subsequently pushed them back into a 10th–place finish and seventh overall. To add insult to injury, they were the only team to cross the finish line under main and jib alone, having been forced to drop their spinnaker to complete their turn. In the end, it was British sailors Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark getting the gold, having wrapped up first place overall with a race to spare, New Zealand getting the silver and France getting the bronze.

After that, it was the men’s 470 race, in which U.S. sailors Stu Mcnay and Dave Hughs had a very slim chance of jumping from fourth overall onto the podium for bronze. However, it was not to be as their second-place finish in the medal race was still not enough to dig them out of the hole they were in terms of the overall standings.

In the end, it was Croatia’s Sime Fantela and Igor and Marenic winning gold, with Austria’s Mathew Belcher and William Ryan vaulting over Greek sailors Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis, who’d been in second going into the medal race, to take silver and the Greeks winning bronze. The latter two teams, in particular, fought tooth and nail from start to finish, with the Australians finally putting it away when the Greeks had a rough rounding at the final leeward mark.

For complete results in the sailing events, including the medal winners in the 49er and 49erFX classes, in which there was no chance of a U.S. medal, click here.

August 2016


Landing Page Lead

The Volvo Returns to the Southern Ocean

Since the Volvo Ocean Race’s inception, the Southern Ocean has made it what it is. And no part of the race says “Southern Ocean” like Leg 7 from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil. The 7,600-mile leg, which starts this Sunday, is not only the longest of the event, but far more


SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comTeak deck paradise  I had a call recently from the man who replaced the deck on my Mason 44 five years ago. He was worried about the way people are wrecking their teak decks trying to get the green off. more


Gear: ATN Multi Awning

THROW SOME SHADEAmong the many virtues of cruising cats is the large expanse of netting between their bows, which is the ideal place to hang out with a cold one after a hard day’s sailing and let the breeze blow your worries away. Only trouble is it can get a bit hot up there more


How to Sail the Med

“After spending so many years sailing the Caribbean, I was frankly astounded at how much more I enjoy the Mediterranean,” says Scott Farquharson of charter brokers Proteus Yacht Charters. “The culture, the history, the food, the weather, friendly people, crystal-clear water—there more


Know-How: Rigging Emergency Rudders

We were 1,100 miles from the nearest land when we received a text message on our Iridium GO: “Rudder gone. Water in bilge. Worried pumps can’t keep up. Please call!”We had been in contact with the owners of Rosinante, a 38ft Island Packet, since they had first announced over the more


Experience: Hard Aground

This is a story of how mistakes are made and judgment is dulled to the point of catastrophe. It is also about how prudent planning, good equipment and a bit of luck can bring you back from the brink.We departed Norfolk, Virginia, on December 15 bound for Jacksonville, Florida, more


Vestas Discusses Fatal Collision, Recovery

Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-captains Mark Towill and Charlie Enright discuss the collision near the end of Leg 4 as well as the efforts the team has made to get back into racing trimJust over a month after 11th Hour Racing’s fatal collision with a commercial fishing vessel shortly more