Palma de Mallorca, Spain – The US Sailing Team Sperry finished in the top ten in four classes at the 2015 Trofeo Princesa Sofía, an event that attracted over 1,200 olympic-class sailors from 65 countries. The 46-year-old regatta was a notable stop on the team’s European racing circuit, with competitor berths for the 2015 Rio Olympic Test Event being awarded based on the combined results of US athletes at the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, and the 2015 Trofeo Princesa Sofía. However, the US national team was also in Palma to compete against the world’s best. “We had a few performances that represent good steps forward, and a few disappointments,” said Charlie McKee, High Performance Director of the US Sailing Team Sperry. “Overall, we feel that the team is on a good path but there is much more to be done before we can get on the podium in Rio.”
Pictured: Caleb Paine, Finn Class.
Leading all American athletes on the scoreboard was Finn sailor Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) who continues to cement his place among the leaders in the class. World #3 ranked Paine finished 5th overall in a strong 74-boat fleet, and entered the medal race with a slim chance to improve his standing. “I had a poor start in the medal race, which is something I’ve been working on. I tacked out to get clear air, and ended up finishing 5th. Overall, I’m very happy with my result.”
For most, finishing 8th overall in a fleet of 108 world-class competitors would be something to enjoy. However, if you are Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fl.), and your competitive drive has propelled you to multiple world championship medals, an ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award and the Olympic Games, the goal is always the top of the podium. “My coach Mark Littlejohn and I are not satisfied with finishing 8th overall here, but behind that result has been an opportunity for some large improvements in my sailing,” said Railey. “So from a somewhat negative result here we have gained many positives. Our improvements have encouraged us to continue working at the hard rate we are currently at. I feel strong, motivated and want to throw more of myself into my sailing. We see success in the future.”
Pictured: Stu McNay and Dave Hughes, 470 class.
In the men’s 470, two-time Olympian Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (San Diego, Calif.) put an exclamation point on their week by winning the medal race, and improving to 7th overall. “We were able to identify the puffs before the start [of the medal race] and execute, which allowed us to go where we wanted. We played shifts from there.” McNay and Hughes have been a constant presence in the top ten of major International 470 Class events since teaming up in 2013, and have finished 6th and 5th at the last two world championships. McNay and Hughes continue to hone their campaign as Rio 2016 draws nearer. “We’ve been working a lot on specific elements in our game. Our boat speed upwind and downwind has improved across the wind range. We were generally sailing pretty well, but ran into some bad luck with being on the wrong side of the course when big shifts came. It’s nice to know that even when we feel like we aren’t at our best, we can still put together a good top ten result.”
Women’s 470 athletes Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) participated in their third straight Trofeo Princesa Sofía medal race. Since starting their full-time campaign in 2013, the pair have evolved into experienced competitors in this highly technical class. The value of that knowledge was demonstrated on Saturday, as a tightly packed fleet at the finish line required a creative solution from Provancha. “Bri did a really cool thing which was to let the kite go, and our kite crossed the line first [in our group]. It was very smart,” said Haeger. Reflecting on their week in Palma, Haeger noted that each race was a tough contest, and that they will look to expand their areas of strength as a team. “We had to battle back every single race, and every single race we were fighting.”
The US Sailing Team Sperry will next be in action during ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyéres, which will take place in Southern France from April 22-26, 2015.
Pictured: Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha, 470 Class.
Notable US Results, Overall: Final
Full Results: http://bit.ly/1absKiX
Finn Heavyweight Men (74 boats):
- Caleb Paine, 5th overall
470 Men (75 boats):
- Stu McNay and Dave Hughes, 7th overall
470 Women (62 boats):
- Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha, 7th overall
Laser Radial Women (108 boats)
- Paige Railey, 8th overall
Laser Men (150 boats):
- Charlie Buckingham, 11th overall
49erFX Women (40 boats)
- Paris Henken and Helena Scutt, 14th overall
Event Website: http://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org
US Sailing Team Live Updates: www.Twitter.com/USSailingTeam
US Sailing Team Daily Reports: www.ussailing.org/olympics
Social Media (Facebook): www.Facebook.com.USSailingTeam
Social Media (Instagram): www.Instagram.com.USSailingTeam
Photos (Daily): www.usst.photoshelter.com
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 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 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