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Sailing - 02. February 2008.

Happiness and Heartbreak on the Line

Miami, Fla.- For another day of light-air races, 369 sailors from 34 countries took to Biscayne Bay for US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR, one of the world's most revered world-ranking regattas for sailors in Olympic and Paralympic classes. With racing having started on Monday, only one racing day remains before winners can be named in the Paralympic classes for SKUD-18, Sonar and 2.4mR. As well, tomorrow's racing will determine fleet racing winners in the Olympic classes for Laser, Laser Radial, Star and Yngling, but those fleets will also advance their top-ten finishers to compete in a single medal race on Saturday, replicating the Olympic format that will be followed this August when the Olympic Sailing Regatta is held in Qingdao, China.

Rolex Miami OCR 2008
© ROLEX / Dan Nerney

For Star sailors John Dane and Austin Sperry (Gulfport, Miss.), their performance today was all-important in the Gold Fleet, which was determined yesterday after five races and now is comprised of the top 33 teams, leaving the remaining 33 teams to compete in a consolation Silver Fleet. Dane and Sperry, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics members who will represent the USA in the Olympic Games this year, posted a fourth and 13th in today's races, bringing them up to 12th from 16th overall yesterday and putting them well within striking distance of the top ten.

"We had a good day," said Dane, unperturbed that in the second race they were fifth at the first mark and then lost 15 boats in a wind shift. "If you had a bad start and chose the wrong side today you were dead. You can see how it effected teams such as Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams (NZL), who had a 27-24 today (dropping them from fourth to ninth) and before that, they had nothing worse than a seventh. It was somewhat humbling for everyone, but if Austin and I have a day like today again tomorrow, we'll be in the top ten."

Rolex Miami OCR 2008
© ROLEX / Dan Nerney

Leading the Star fleet now is Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria (SUI). With a 2-4 today, they displaced yesterday's leaders Rick Merriman (New York, N.Y.) and Brian Sharp (Franklin, Mass.), who finished 9-18 today to topple to fifth overall.

While Dane has a fighting chance to experience Saturday's medal races, another notable sailor, Greece's Sofia Bekatorou, has conceded that her current 20th-place position has made that option an impossibility for her in the 28-boat Yngling class. Bekatorou, a Rolex "testimonee" and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year for 2002 and 2004, knows her focus now must be on next week's Yngling World Championships, where that class's last four Olympic qualifying berths will be determined.

When asked to evaluate her performance here, Bekatorou, Greece's 2004 Olympic 470 Women's Gold Medalist, answered, "I haven't fully adapted yet to the Yngling style. Tactically, there are things you can do with a 470 (a two-person dinghy) that you can't do with an Yngling (a three-person keelboat). The boat does not have the privilege of speed that a 470 has, and I'm not fighting with the weapons I used to have, but we have all the potential to qualify our country."

Indeed, fewer unqualified countries are ahead of Bekatorou's team (which includes Sofia Papadopoulou and Christina Charamountani) in the standings here than are behind her. France's Anne Le Helley, Catherine Lepesant, and Julie Gerecht are currently in 13th while Norway's Siren Sundby, Lise Birgitte Fredriksen and Alexandra Koefoed are in 17th.

Mandy Mulder, Mary Faber and Merel Witteveen (NED) have moved to first place in this class from second yesterday, while Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), US SAILING's Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, remains in eighth after today's racing and hopes to hold solid for tomorrow, so she and crew Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) can sail in Saturday's race, which counts double for scoring purposes and, unlike with the fleet races, cannot be discarded as a worst-race throwout..

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
Day 4

Laser (23 boats) -- 10 races
1. Maciej Grabowski (POL), 2-1-6-4-2-5-[8]-1-2-3, 26
2. Kyle Rogachenko (Collegeville, Penn., USA), 1-4-1-[24/OCS]-6-1-7-7-1-1, 29
3. Marcin Rudawski (POL), [11]-3-4-2-4-4-2-5-7-2, 33

Laser Radial (39 boats) -- 9 races
1. Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla., USA), 3-1-3-2-1-[12]-2-1-9, 22
2. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 1-4-1-1-3-5-7-2-[16], 24
3. Penny Clark (GBR), 6-2-6-9-9-2-[10]-5-4, 43

Star (66 boats) - 7 races
1. Flavio Marazzi/Enrico De Maria (SUI), 2-1-6-[11]-4-2-4, 19
2. Eivind Melleby/Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR), 6-2-1-5-7-1-[8], 22
3. Xavier Rohart/Pascal Rambeau (FRA), 7-1-4-[34/BFD]-5-3-3, 23

Yngling (28 boats) -- 10 races
1. Mandy Mulder/Mary Faber/Merel Witteveen (NED), 10-5-[22]-5-2-11-1-7-2-4, 47
2. Ekaterina Skudina,/Diana Krutskikh/Natalia Ivanova (RUS), 19-2-3-3-9-1-5-[24]-4-12, 58
3. Song Xia Qun/Li Xioa Ni/Yu Yan Li (CHN), 2-8-5-[21]-20-4-4-1-17-11, 72

2.4mR (25 boats) -- 10 races
1. Damien Seguin (FRA), 4-2-1-3-1-3-[11]-4-4-4, 26
2. Stellan Berlin (SWE), 2-7-2-4-2-6-7-2-[18]-8, 40
3. Paul Tingley (CAN), 1-9-[26/OCS]-2-4-1-3-10-8-7, 45

SKUD-18 (10 boats) -- 9 races
1. Nick Scandone/Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Fountain Valley, Calif./Marblehead, Mass., USA), 1-1-1-1-1-2-[3]-1-2, 10
2. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J./Boca Raton, Fla., USA), [5]-3-2-2-2-5-1-2-1, 18
3. John McRoberts/Stacie Louttit (CAN), 3-2-3-4-4-1-[6]-4-3, 24

Sonar (11 boats) -- 8 races
1. Jens Kroker/Tobias Schuetz/Siegmund Mainka (GER), 1-[3]-2-2-1-2-2-1, 11
2. Bruno Jourden/Herve Larhant/Nicolas Vimont Vicary (FRA), 2-4-3-7-[12/DSQ]-1-7-5, 29
3. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Steve Thomas (GBR), 6-2-1-5-4-7-6-[8], 31

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