FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2016
Palma de Mallorca, Spain – The 47th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar, one of sailing’s most enduring and venerable Olympic-class regattas, has concluded in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. In what will certainly be a memorable event for the US Sailing Team Sperry, national team athletes Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) finished on the podium in the Men’s 470 class, and Americans also competed in the 49erFX, Women’s RS:X and Laser medal races against the world’s best.
Additionally, American sailors Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.), Marion Lepert (Belmont, Calif.), and Pedro Pascual (Miami, Fla.) have won selection to the Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Team in the Laser, Women’s RS:X and Men’s RS:X classes, respectively, based on their combined results from January’s Sailing World Cup Miami (January 25-30) in Miami, Florida, USA, and the racing in Palma this week.
For McNay and Hughes, medal race success in Palma is nothing new. The veteran U.S. 470 team has now won three of the past four double-point medal races at this event, with silver medals being their reward at this edition. “We were able to pounce on an opportunity at the start [of the medal race], and lead the race around the track,” said McNay, a two-time Olympian, who went on to note that all opportunities to hone medal-race tactics are highly valuable. “The medal race at the Olympics will be very important. Every piece of the puzzle must be addressed, the medal race being one of them.”
Hughes said they focused on the concept of “team awareness” this week in Palma. “We enjoy the short course racing, and it’s something that plays to our strong suits. We wanted to see how the race was shaking out at the first weather mark, and fortunately we were leading, and [able] to defend from there.”
McNay and Hughes will now turn their focusing towards defending one of the two continental Men’s 470 championship titles that they currently hold, as the 470 Europeans (April 7-12) is set to begin in just a few days at the same venue in Palma.
US Sailing Team Sperry athletes earned medal race berths in three additional classes in Palma after a hard-fought week of racing. Newly-minted U.S. Olympic Team members Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.) secured their first medal race berth at a major international event since the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, where they won bronze. “Getting [medal race] experience here was very helpful, since we haven’t really gotten much yet. We were very happy to finish 8th, which is our career-best so far.” Henken and Scutt were the first American sailors to earn Olympic selection, doing so at the 49erFX World Championship in Clearwater, Florida in February.
For Women’s RS:X athlete Marion Lepert, who won Olympic selection this week, the event was a breakthrough on several levels. The Californian, who like Henken and Scutt won bronze in Toronto, competed in her first career medal race and finished 10th overall. “This is definitely my best performance in a RS:X regatta so far,” said Lepert. “I know I have the speed to be fighting with the top girls in Rio. I need to work on consistency now, and on eliminating my tendency to have a few tough races during an event.” Despite her recent arrival to the highest levels of board sailing, Lepert reinforced that she belonged on this stage by winning the breezy medal race in dominant fashion.
North American Laser Champion Charlie Buckingham, who also earned an Olympic team berth this week, rounded out the US Sailing Team Sperry contingent competing in Saturday’s medal races. Buckingham finished 4th in the race, and moved up to 9th overall. “It felt good to race with the selection series behind me,” said the two-time College Sailor of the Year. “I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.”
Narrowly missing the medal race but showing exciting progress this week in Palma was the Nacra 17 team of Bora Gulari (Detroit, Michigan) and Louisa Chafee (Warwick, R.I.). The pair matched their strongest regatta result to date, and finished 12th overall. On Friday, Gulari and Chafee counted a race win and a 3rd among their scores, which was nearly enough to earn them a medal race berth.
Pictured: Nacra 17 sailors Bora Gulari (Detroit, Michigan) and Louisa Chafee (Warwick, R.I.) leading race 15 in Palma.
USA Results: Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar
- Men’s 470:
- 2nd overall, Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.)
- 8th overall, Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.)*
- Laser: (Olympic Selection Event)
- 9th overall, Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)*
- 30th overall, Erik Bowers (Excelsior, Minn.)
- 39th overall, Chris Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.)
- Note: Buckingham has won the Laser U.S. Olympic Team Selection Series
- Women’s RS:X: (Olympic Selection Event)
- 10th overall, Marion Lepert (Belmont, Calif.)*
- 24th overall, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.)
- 60th overall, Kathleen Tocke (Miami, Fla.)
- Note: Lepert has won the RS:X U.S. Olympic Team Selection Series
- Nacra 17:
- 12th overall, Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) and Louisa Chafee (Warwick, R.I.)*
- 13th overall, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)*
- Men’s RS:X: (Olympic Selection Event)
- 33rd overall, Pedro Pascual(West Palm Beach, Fla.)*
- 37th overall, Raul Lopez (Miami, Fla.)
- 62nd overall, Carson Crain (Houston, Texas)
- Note: Pascual has won the RS:X U.S. Olympic Team Selection Series
- 38th overall, Thomas Barrows (St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.) and Joe Morris (Annapolis, Md.)*
- 42nd overall, Judge Ryan (San Diego, Calif.) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.)
- 2.4mR (Paralympic):
- 5th overall, Dee Smith (Annapolis, Md.)
- Women’s 470:
- Note: Both USA Women’s 470 teams did not compete during the 2nd half of the event.
- Laser Radial:
- Note: Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), the Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Team representative in the Laser Radial, did not compete in Palma.
*Denotes Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team Athlete
Note: The final Rio 2016 selection event for the Men’s and Women’s 470 classes will be the 470 Europeans (April 7-12).
About the US Sailing Team Sperry
The US Sailing Team Sperry is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team Sperry. US Sailing helps these elite athletes with financial, logistical, coaching, technical, fitness, marketing and communications support. The title sponsor of the team is Sperry; other sponsors include Gold-Level partner Sunbrella and Silver-Level partners Harken, Team McLube and Groupe Beneteau. Yale Cordage is a team supplier. The US Sailing Center Miami is an Olympic training site. Oakcliff Sailing and Clearwater Community Sailing Center are US Sailing Team Sperry Training Centers. Chubb Personal Insurance and the Gowrie Group sponsors US Sailing’s National Team Tour, a nationwide presentation program for US Sailing Team Sperry athletes. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org/olympics
The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org
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Press Contact: Will Ricketson, Olympic Communications Manager, US Sailing. firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 (978) 697-2384.