Saturday, January 29, 2011

Miami Final:

Miami did not disappoint, as a moderate ENE breeze enabled the committees of the respective Medal Race Course areas to execute quality racing for all classes. The double point medal race for the top 10 in each Olympic class produced a degree of shake-up across some classes while others remained true to form from the weeks racing.
One of the most exciting races was in the Laser class where it was essentially a winner take all amongst the top 4, and came down to a dead heat finish amongst all the challengers. Sweden’s Rasmus Myrgren exacted a degree of revenge after losing out on the medals at the 2008 Olympics, squeezing through to take the Gold on the day with Julio Alsogaray of Argentina securing the Silver and Great Britain Paul Goodison the event leader going into the day having to settle for the Bronze. Canada’s challenger in the Laser Medal Race Luke Ramsay, had a misdirected first beat set him back somewhat before recovering for an 8th in the race and 7th overall.
The Star team of Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn continue to progress positively on their quest for London 2012. Among the top performers all week they can now include a Medal Race in the challenges they have faced in the ultra competitive Star class. For this year it will be chalked up as a learning experience to build on. The team rounded the top mark 5th only to pick the less favourable pathway to the leeward mark, rounding the bottom 10th, scrambling back the team made it back to 5th by the top mark only to receive a yellow flag for a kinetics violation on the final run, thus setting them back to 10th. This outcome combined with some competitors scores saw the team drop from 2nd entering the Medal Race to 3rd overall. This performance against a measure of the world’s best sets the team up with some further targets to address in their ongoing training and competition schedule.
Canada was best represented in the Medal Racing in the 49er class, where three teams qualified in the final 10 and ultimately fought it out amongst themselves for positioning in the class. The racing was tight and entertaining with Gordon Cook and Hunter Lowden ultimately prevailing amongst the Canucks, securing a 7th in the Medal Race and moving up to 4th overall. A win on one hand was a loss on the other as Billy Gooderham and Ian Hogan finished up 10th in the medal race resulting in them being tied on 100 points with two other teams, each of which defeated them in the Medal Race and thus dropping them to 7th overall. Jonathan Ladha remarked on the excitement and difference of racing styles in his first ever medal race. Teamed with Daniel Inkpen the Newfoundland based team put up a world cup personal best with a 9th overall.
Canada was also represented in each of the men’s and women’s RSX class medal races. Unfortunately these were the last two races scheduled on the day and the breeze had somewhat moderated, creating a big time physical challenge for the competitors. Ultimately Zac Plavsic battled to an 8th place finish in the Medal Race and 7th overall while Nikola Girke finished 10th in the medal race and 10th overall.
On the Olympic side of things the spread across multiple classes in the medal racing was an encouraging progression for the team and ultimately the podium finish in the Star Class continues to be the news to build around for 2012.
The Paralympic events wrapped up Friday, with Canada putting up some respectable finishes including a late charge by Paul Tingley that only left him one place off the leader board in 4th in the 2.4 mR class, ultimately finishing just behind Allan Leibel of Canada who secured the Bronze medal in the open 2.4 mR racing.
Elsewhere Bruce Millar was 8th in the 2.4 mR, with John McRoberts and Brenda Hopkin also finding some late event form to move up to 5th in the SKUD fleet, while the team of Ken Kelly, Don Terlson and Sean Dexter wound up 10th in the Sonar class.
That is it from Miami for this year, with a number of mid-winter stops being the next action for the team in the coming months.

Medal Race Day

It is all down to the Medal Races at this point. Friday’s 9-14 knot conditions enabled the race organisers to complete the race schedule setting up showdowns across all of the Olympic Classes today.
Canada will have competitors in each of the following Medal Race finals:
Star – Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn sit 2nd, with an 8 point lead over the 3rd place boat from France and unfortunately unable to overcome the lead held by Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil.
Laser – Luke Ramsay powered into the Medal race with a solid final day, he currently sits 7th in a tight Laser fleet battle. David Wright and Lee Parkhill narrowly missed the Medal race finishing up 14th and 15th overall respectively.
49er – Three Canadian teams will battle in the 49er Medal Race. Billy Gooderham and Ian Hogan lead the trio in 4th, with Gordon Cook and Hunter Lowden in 6th, and Jonathan Ladha and Daniel Inkpen 9th.
RSX Men – Zac Plavsic is the lone Canadian in the RSX men’s medal race sitting 7th overall, while David Hayes narrowly missed the final sitting 11th.
RSX Women – Nikola Girke remained in the medal race hunt and sits 10th heading into today’s final.
The Medal Race sees the top 10 boats in each fleet battle it out for the final rankings with the scores doubled and must be included in the overall scoring. More to come as the day unfolds.

Mid-way Point

The third day of racing at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta started off slowly with fleets held ashore due to light and variable conditions. Upon the passing of the expected front it was business as usual for most every class, with the 2.4 mR being the lone exception that did not achieve any races on the day. The days started slow with a very modest SW breeze that built and swung through West and finally into the North West by racing days end.

Canada’s highlight of the day came in the second Laser race of the day when David Wright, Luke Ramsay and Alexander Heinzemann, swept the podium for the day. An impressive result for the Canadian Laser squad. Overall, David Wright sits 6th, with Mike Leigh 12th, Luke Ramsay 13th, and Lee Parkhill 15th. The Laser class continues racing in Gold and Silver fleets for Thursday.
On the same course area but different class, Lisa Ross had a solid day in the Radial fleet, posting at 6-2 on the day to sit 12th overall, Isabella Bertold had a 10 – 11 and resides in 16th.
Other Canadian scores of note see Zac Plavsic in 5th overall in the men’s RSX Class with David Hayes out point out of the top 10 presently and the shot at sailing in the medal race. Nikola Girke in the RSX Women’s event sits 6th, Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn posted a 6 – 16 on the day to remain in 4th in a tight battle in the Star class.
Fleet racing continues through Friday with the Medal races (top 10 competitors) duelling on Saturday for the final medal places.
After two days racing
The 2011 Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta is in full swing on Miami’s Biscayne Bay. A total of 716 athletes from 53 countries are competing across the 10 Olympic and 3 Paralympic classes, encompassing 7 racing areas. Racing began Monday and continues through Saturday January 29th.
The Canadian Team is well represented with competitors in each of the 13 classes. The Rolex Miami OCR serves as a qualifying event for many of our Olympic classes thus heightening the sense of urgency for some relative to performance. Additionally in the men’s and women’s RSX class the event represents the Pan American Games qualifier.
A brief snapshot of performance after two days of quality 10-16 knot conditions provides the following:
In the 2.4 mR class Allan Leibel of the National Yacht Club leads all Canadians sitting 2nd of 28 overall with a trio of 2nd place finishes, Paralympian Bruce Millar of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club is 4th, with a strong day 2 performance that included a pair of 3rd place finishes on the day.
Canadian 49er sailors are battling gamely, with the teams of Gordon Cook/Hunter Lowden and Billy Gooderham/Ian Hogan sitting 4th and 5th respectively, behind a trio of British teams.
In the Finn Class, Giles Scott of Great Britain is dominating with 4 race wins, country man and multi-Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie sits second, while the developing Canadian trio of Brendan Wilton, Martin Robitaille and Greg Douglas sit 10, 11, and 13th respectively in the 37 boat fleet.
The Laser fleet with `104 entries is the largest fleet at the event, and similarly Canada has our largest contingent in that class. After 4 races Chris Dold leads the Canadian group sitting in 8th overall, with Luke Ramsay 13th, and Lee Parkhill 17th.
The RSX men’s and women’s fleets have 31 and 30 entries respectively and as with many of the fleets although not deep in numbers the front of the fleet is filled with talent. On the men’s side Zac Plavsic is 5th overall, with David Hayes 9th, while on the women’s side Nikola Girke is 6th with Dominique Vallee in 14th.
In the Laser Radial Evi Van Acker of BEL has been dominating with a pair of 1st place finishes to go along with a pair of 2nd place finishes. The top performing Canadians are Isabella Bertold in 14th and Lisa Ross in 16th of the 58 boat fleet.
Finally and certainly not least, Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn in the Star class sit 4th overall with a consistent scoreboard amongst a very elite fleet, that is only missing two of the top performing teams.
Racing continues through Friday with the Medal Races for all classes slated on Saturday. Detailed results and pictures can be found at http://rmocr.ussailing.org .