Lee Parkhill wins tiebreaker in Sunfish to qualify to be nominated for Santiago 2023 Pan American Games

Kingston, June 12, 2023 – Lee Parkhill from Oakville, ON, qualified to be nominated on Canada’s Santiago 2023 Pan American Games sailing team in the Sunfish class after a thrilling last day of competition, Sunday, at the 2023 Sunfish North American Championships held last weekend in Springfield, IL (USA), as the all-Canadian battle for the lone spot available for Santiago 2023 finished in a tiebreaker against Luke Ramsay from Vancouver.

The 2023 Sunfish North American Championships were the qualifier for Canadian sailors in the Sunfish class for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, as per Sail Canada’s Selection Process, available at https://www.sailing.ca/international-events. The Sunfish class is not an Olympic event, but is part of the Pan American Games program.

“Firstly, hats off to Luke for an epic battle,” said Lee Parkhill, who will be returning to the Pan American Games after winning the bronze medal in Laser (ILCA 7) in Toronto in 2015. Parkhill also represented Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“We both pushed each other in every race and it clearly showed with the event coming down to the wire. I’m excited for the chance to race at the Pan American Games again and to represent Canada on the international stage. I’m also looking forward to connecting with the athletes in the Olympic classes and hopefully offer some insight as they approach the final year into the Olympic Games.”

A close battle
As expected, Lee Parkhill and Luke Ramsay battled all weekend long, and the only spot available to Canada for the upcoming Santiago 2023 Pan American Games was finally allocated on a tiebreaker, after both sailors came up with the same amount of points (30).

After the first day of racing was cancelled because of lack of wind, Ramsay, the silver medalist in Sunfish at the Lima 2019 and Toronto 2015 Pan American Games who also took part in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, eventually took a six-point lead on Parkhill.

But on the last day of competition, Sunday, Parkhill recorded two third-place results and won one race, which was a turning point, as Ramsay registered two second-place finishes and one fourth-position result.

Tied at 30 points at the end of the event, Parkhill finished ahead of Ramsay thanks to his first-place finish in race #6, and as per article A8.1 of the Racing Rules of Sailing: “If there is a series-score tie between two or more boats, each boat’s race scores shall be listed in order of best to worst, and at the first point(s) where there is a difference the tie shall be broken in favour of the boat(s) with the best score(s). No excluded scores shall be used.”

“The way the points worked going into the last race, I was one point ahead and holding the tiebreaker, having won the second race of the day,” explained Parkhill. “Luke had two options going into the last race: win the race with me second, or him finishing two spots ahead of me with any finish combo (for example, 2nd and 4th+, 3rd and 5th+, etc.). After some cat and mouse play on the start line with Luke adopting an aggressive approach, I was able to get a bit of separation and had a great start and first upwind. Luke battled the whole way around putting the pressure on from behind and forcing me to match tacks to stay between him and the mark. On the final run, Luke pulled ahead but I was able to hold on and finish right behind him, not allowing the extra point in between.

“My focus will now shift to sailing as much as possible throughout the summer as we build towards the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games at the end of October. As always, thanks to everyone who supported me along the way!”

A total of 68 athletes were in action at the 2023 Sunfish North American Championships representing Canada, the United States, Venezuela and Peru. In the overall standings, Parkhill and Ramsay respectively won the silver and bronze medals. Conner Blouin from the USA finished first.

As of today, 12 Canadian sailors have qualified so far to be nominated to the Canadian team for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games:

ILCA 7: Fillah Karim (Vancouver, B.C.-RVYC)
ILCA 6: Sarah Douglas (Toronto, ON, ABYC)
49er (M): Will Jones (Jerseyville, ON-RHYC) & Justin Barnes (Pickering, ON-RCYC)
49erFX (W): Ali ten Hove (Kingston, ON, KYC) & Mariah Millen (Toronto, ON, RCYC)
Nacra 17 (mixed): Galen Richardson (Toronto, ON-RCYC) & Madeline Gillis (Halifax, N.S.-RNSYS)
IQFoil (W): Rebecca Heller (Dunrobin, ON-KYC)
Kiteboarding (M): Mac Morrin (Kingston, ON-KYC)
Kiteboarding (W): Emily Bugeja (Vancouver, B.C.-RVYC)
Sunfish (M): Lee Parkhill (Oakville, ON, OYC)

More information on the Canadian Sailing Team for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games is available at: https://www.sailing.ca/sc_event/2023-pan-american-games.

About Sail Canada
Established in 1931, Sail Canada is the national governing body for the sport of sailing in the country. Sail Canada is a leading international sailing nation, proud of its world class athletes, lifelong participants and inclusive culture. The organization and its members are committed to excellence by developing and training its leaders, athletes, sailors, instructors, coaches and officials. With the valued support from our partners, the Provincial Sailing Associations and our member clubs, schools, organizations and stakeholders, sailing is promoted in all its forms. By setting standards and delivering programs from home pond to podium for Canadians of all ages and abilities, from dinghies to keelboats, cruising to navigation, windsurfing to powerboating and accessible sailing, Sail Canada sets sail for all, sail to win and sail for life.

A sport in the Olympic program since the first Games in 1896, except in 1904, the pursuit of success in these Games is what fuels the focus of Sail Canada as Canadian athletes have so far achieved nine Olympic and five Paralympic medals.