Any doubts about the strength of the U.S. women’s sailing team were put to rest this past week with the squad winning gold in no less three events at US Sailing’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR regatta. The U.S. men’s team didn’t fare so well, failing to take gold in a single event, although Andy Horton and James Lyne took silver in the Star class.
In the Laser Radial class, Paige Railey won the event on points on the second to last day of racing, and then went on to take yet another first on the last day as well. For her efforts, Railey was ultimately awarded US Sailing’s Golden Torch Award, which is given to the American sailor deemed to have had the best overall performance at the regatta.
"I'm so pleased about winning the gold," Railey said. "I wasn't thinking about the results. I was out there taking one race at a time and pushing myself to use new techniques I've incorporated into my sailing. I've been learning when to take risks and when to stay conservative."
In the Women's Match Racing event, 2008 Laser Radial Olympic gold-medalist Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi defeated Lucy MacGregor's GBR team to take gold in a highly charged best-of-five series on the final day of the regatta. Prior to the final series with Tunnicliffe, MacGregor's team hadn’t lost a single race, and she won the first two races of the final five-race series. However, Tunnicliffe and her crew went on the sweep the remainder of the series.
"We had a great day on the water," said Tunnicliffe afterward. "My team did a great job of staying in the game despite the two losses in the beginning. We fought back and kept it calm and pulled off the moves we needed to and are so happy we came out on top."
In the Women’s 470 class, 2008 Olympians Amanda Clark and Sarah Chin took gold, despite having taken the year off following the 2008 Games in Qingdao, China. At the start of the final day of racing, they were still two points out of first overall, but managed to come out on top with a fifth-place finish in the final race.
"It was a very tactical regatta. We couldn't necessarily rely on being fast in a variety of conditions to pull us through," said Clark. "It was the best racing we could ever ask for.”
In all, this year’s Rolex Miami OCR included 448 teams made up of 633 sailors from 45 different countries. The total medal count for the U.S. team was 10, followed by Great Britain with six, France with five and Spain with four. For complete results go to www.ussailing.org.