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Perfect Score by Scandone/McKinnon-Tucker
Miami, Fla. - After postponements due to light wind, 369 Olympic and Paralympic sailors from 34 countries basked in sunshine and steadily increasing breezes on Biscayne Bay, completing day two of US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR. Ynglings, Lasers and 2.4mRs have now completed five races, while the Laser Radials, Stars, SKUD-18s and Sonars have each completed four. The regatta, as important for establishing a sailor's world ranking as it is for providing a warm-weather elite training option for Europeans, has this year attracted dozens of teams selected by their countries for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Regattas, set for August and September, respectively, in Qingdao, China.
Nick SCANDONE, Maureen McKINNON-TUCKER, Skud
Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta 2008 US Sailing / Rolex / Walter Cooper
One of those teams is Nick Scandone (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Marblehead, Mass.), the USA's Paralympic representatives in the SKUD-18 class and the only ones at this regatta with a perfect score. With four points overall, they are eight points ahead of fellow US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics members Scott Whitman (Brick, N.J.).and Julia Dorsett (Boca Raton, Fla). The duo has turned in significant margins of victory in the 10-boat fleet, including a two-minute lead at the finish of race one today.
"So far so good," said Scandone, who has perhaps the most SKUD-18 sailing experience of all competitors here. "We're going real well and playing the shifts correctly; our extra time in the boat has paid off." The SKUD-18, because it is built in Indonesia and did not have an established class before it was chosen to make its Paralympic debut in 2008, has been difficult for teams to acquire. US SAILING bought the first handful built, and Scandone bought his own only after the progression of his ALS (Lou Gehrig's) disease, diagnosed in 2002, made it impossible to sail his initial Paralympic boat of choice, the 2.4mR.
Nick SCANDONE, Maureen McKINNON-TUCKER, Skud
Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta 2008
US Sailing / Rolex / Walter Cooper
"You have to be rated a 'one' (the highest level of disability) to skipper the SKUD-18," said Scandone, who was rated a 'three' when he was named US SAILING's Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in 2005 for his 2.4mR prowess. "Four years ago at this regatta, I was a 'six' (seven being the lowest level)." While many Paralympic athletes here began sailing after they became disabled, Scandone's experience goes back to his childhood and continued through college where he was an ICSA All-American--a history that sailors think will bode well for him at the Paralympics.
"It's all about China," said Scandone, "making sure I'm healthy enough to attend." After dealing with more immediate adversity just before the regatta--Scandone's father-in-law died and McKinnon-Tucker's two-year-old son underwent brain surgery--Scandone says it has also been about putting those distractions, however sad and difficult, aside: "Stay in our game; do our best to bring home the Gold."
According to skipper Paul Callahan (Newport, R.I./Cape Coral, Fla..), who currently sits in seventh in the Sonar class where Germany's Jens Kroker leads, "today's gently oscillating seabreeze proved to be more challenging as the day went on. As for the competition here, it's deadly if you make a mistake."
There is more of the same, weather- and competition-wise, in store for tomorrow when fleet racing resumes. It continues through Friday for all classes, with the top-ten from each Olympic class staying on for medal races on Saturday.
About the Rolex Miami OCR
Established in 1990 by US SAILING, the Rolex Miami OCR annually draws elite sailors Olympic and Paralympic medalists and hopefuls from around the world. In non-Olympic years, the regatta is especially important as a ranking regatta for sailors hoping to qualify for the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, which annually distinguish the top three sailors in each Olympic or Paralympic class. The 2008 Rolex Miami OCR consists of five days of fleet racing from Monday January 28 through Friday, February 1, and one day of top-ten medal racing (for Olympic classes only) on Saturday, February 2, replicating the new Olympic format that will debut in Qingdao.
Regatta Headquarters are at the US Sailing Center, where the Laser classes also will be located. The Stars will be hosted at Coral Reef Yacht Club, the Ynglings at Key Biscayne Yacht Club, and all Paralympic classes at Shake-A-Leg Miami's facilities. The City of Miami has also joined to support the event.
In addition to title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., the 2008 Rolex Miami OCR is also sponsored by: AlphaGraphics, Nautica, LaserPerformance, Gill, New England Ropes, Sperry Top-Sider, Extrasport, RIBCRAFT, Nikon, Harken, Team McLube, and Trinity Yachts.
On-demand video will be available after 9 p.m. each evening starting Thursday, January 31, at www.rolexmiamiocr.org, where complete results also can be found.
US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR Top-Three Results
Laser (24 boats) -- 5 races
1. Maciej Grabowski (POL), 2-1--4-2, 9
2. Kyle Rogachenko (Collegeville, Penn., USA), 1-4-1-[24/OCS]-6, 12
3. Marcin Rudawski (POL), -3-4-2-4, 13
Laser Radial (39 boats) -- 4 races
1. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 1-4-1-1, 7
2. Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla., USA), 3-1-3-2, 9
3. Penny Clark (GBR), 6-2-6-9, 23
Star (70 boats) - 4 races
1. Rick Merriman/Brian Sharp (New York, N.Y./Franklin, Mass., USA), 1-4-2-1, 8
2. Eivind Melleby/Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR), 6-2-1-5, 14
3. Hamish Pepper/Carl Williams (NZL), 1-3-7-7, 18
Yngling (28 boats) -- 5 races
1. Sarah Ayton/Sarah Webb/Pippa Wilson (GBR), 6-6-1--1, 14
2. Ekaterina Skudina,/Diana Krutskikh/Natalia Ivanova (RUS), -2-3-3-9, 17
3. Monica Azon/Sandra Azon/Graciela Pisonero (ESP), -3-2-2-13, 20
2.4mR (25 boats) -- 5 races
1. Damien Seguin (FRA), -2-1-3-1, 7
2. Stellan Berlin (SWE), 2--2-4-2, 10
3. Paul Tingley (CAN), 1-9-[26/OCS]-2-4, 16
SKUD-18 (10 boats) -- 4 races
1. Nick Scandone/Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Fountain Valley, Calif./Marblehead, Mass., USA), 1-1-1-1, 4
2. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J./Boca Raton, Fla., USA), 5-3-2-2, 12
3. John McRoberts/Stacie Louttit (CAN), 3-2-3-4, 12
Sonar (11 boats) -- 4 races
1. Jens Kroker/Tobias Schuetz/Siegmund Mainka (GER), 1-3-2-2, 8
2. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Steve Thomas (GBR), 6-2-1-5, 14
3. Bruno Jourden/Herve Larhant/Nicolas Vimont Vicary (FRA), 2-4, 6