Pictured: Erika Reineke, Laser Radial. Photo: Sailing Energy / Jesús Renedo.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2017
Aarhus, Denmark – The US Sailing Team secured medals in three classes at this week’s Aarhus Sailing Week 2017 in Denmark, the test event for the 2018 Sailing World Championships. Aarhus 2018 will be a multi-class Worlds, and the premier Olympic-class sailing event held prior to the Games in Tokyo 2020. As the test event, Aarhus Sailing Week 2017 was important for American athletes who came to Denmark hoping to learn more about the 2018 Worlds venue, hone key skills, earn roster spots on the US Sailing Team, and qualify for 2018 athlete support funding.
“Of course, it was a great performance to come away with three medals here in Aarhus,” said Malcolm Page, Chief of U.S. Olympic Sailing. “Aarhus [Sailing Week 2017] was very important since one year from now, we will be here in these waters at the 2018 World Championships, which will be the first chance to qualify the country [in each sailing class] for the 2020 Olympic Games. We identified this regatta as one of two ‘performance events’ for U.S. athletes in 2017, along with each 2017 class Worlds, where the results mattered for funding. It was great to see so many of our sailors come through under pressure.”
Pictured: Roble and Shea, 49erFX. Photo: Sailing Energy / Jesús Renedo.
The first American medal of the event came on Saturday, as the new 49erFX team of 2014 Rolex U.S. Sailing Yachtswoman of the Year Steph Roble (East Troy, Wise.) and U.S. Match Racing National Champion Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) took bronze in the women’s two-person skiff. Roble and Shea formed as a team in late 2016, after years sailing together on the international women’s match racing circuit, and have been steadily participating in US Sailing Team camps and independent training sessions in 2017. Through their strong performance in Aarhus, the midwestern pair also qualified for roster spots on the US Sailing Team.
“We’re excited to be a part of this whole journey to Tokyo,” said Roble, a two-time All-American for Old Dominion University who said she has long harbored Olympic ambitions. “We’ve been focused on boat handling and getting up to speed while sailing with our American training partners, Kate [Shaner] and Caroline [Atwood]. It’s been a very focused spring and summer for us, and we’re just exited to be in regatta season now.”
In the Laser Radial, Erika Reineke (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) found her way to the podium after an impressive late-regatta surge that included a 2, 2, 1, 3 scoreline to wrap up full-fleet racing prior to the medal race. The 2017 ICSA College Sailor of the Year for Boston College secured a silver medal in Aarhus after finishing third in the medal race.
“I’m really looking forward to this [Olympic quadrennium] because I won’t be in college, and so I can put all of my efforts towards training and racing against some of the top girls [in the Radial],” said Reineke, the four-time ICSA College Women’s Singlehanded Champion who also finished a career-best 6th at last year’s Laser Radial Worlds. “This week was important, because I got familiar with this place and made it like home before the [2018 Worlds],” said Reineke.
Pictured: McNay and Hughes, Men’s 470. Photo: Sailing Energy / Jesús Renedo.
In the Men’s 470, Rio 2016 Olympians and national team veterans Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) submitted a clutch performance this week, entering the medal race in a precarious points position but emerging as medalists following a tough battle with the Turkish, French and Austrian teams.
McNay and Hughes won the 2015 470 European Championship on these same waters in Aarhus, but noted that there was nothing about this venue that particularly suited the battle-tested pair. “We’ve managed to put two good regattas together here,” said McNay. “It’s a very challenging place to sail, and you can’t anything for granted. The wind is blowing off a nearby shore, which adds uncertainty. We call it ‘jungle ball.'”
Several other U.S. sailors submitted standout performances this week in Aarhus. The 49er team of three-time Olympian Chris Rast (Holland, Mich.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.) nearly came away with a medal, finishing in 4th following the skiff medal races on Saturday. In the Laser Radial, current Georgetown University collegiate athlete Haddon Hughes (Houston, Texas) finished in 5th overall, pairing with Reineke for a strong U.S. performance in the women’s singlehanded fleet. Last, Burd and Hughes were added to the US Sailing Team roster by Chief of U.S. Olympic Sailing and two-time Olympic Champion Malcolm Page following their performance in Denmark.
For U.S. Olympic-class sailors, the focus will now turn to competing in class world championships in the late summer, and then to training and racing at the 2020 Olympic venue in Japan in the fall.
“With 2017 being the first year of the ‘quad,’ going to Japan will be a great opportunity for our athletes to learn about the venue, learn about Japanese culture and get a feel for the waters there,” said Page. “Afterwords, every time our sailors are going to bed and thinking about Tokyo 2020, they’ll have those memories from Enoshima (Japan), and be able to mentally prepare themselves for the Games.”
About the US Sailing Team
The US Sailing Team 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 class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team. US Sailing helps these elite athletes with financial, logistical, coaching, technical, fitness, marketing and communications support. US Sailing Team sponsors include gold partner Helly Hansen, silver partners Harken, McLube, and Groupe Beneteau, and supplier Marlow Ropes. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org/olympics
About US Sailing
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. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org
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