Pictured: Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha, Women’s 470.
Hyères, France – After competing on medal race day at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères, the US Sailing Team Sperry finished with four boats in the top eight overall. All American athletes sailing on Sunday finished in the top half of their medal race, with the highlight being a wire-to-wire medal race victory in heavy air by top-ranked US Laser Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.). A global TV audience was able to watch the medal races live via ISAF and ESPN3, bringing high-performance Olympic sailing directly to tens of thousands of fans.
“The racing in Europe provides a top-level experience for US Sailing Team Sperry athletes,” said Josh Adams, Managing director of US Olympic Sailing. “Our aim is to close the gap to the Olympic podium, and US athletes are making good progress toward that goal.”
The Women’s 470 team of Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) scored another top-five finish at one of the toughest Olympic-class events in the world, and spent much of the regatta in podium position. After dealing with mostly light air all week, the team was excited to stretch their legs in some big breeze on Sunday. “It was nuts [out there]. We’ve had a really light air event, and [today] it was pretty much full on with big waves, so it was great for the spectators,” said Provancha. “In general we were looking to win a side of the line, so we sent it left and won the pin. It was the first time we’ve really executed [well] off the start line in a medal race, so that was a big team win for us. We had some height issues upwind, but fought back.”
When asked if it can be difficult to get fully tuned up in the short amount of time each fleet has on the medal course prior to racing, Provancha confirmed that to be the case. “It’s definitely a challenge. Usually when we race we have an hour and a half before the start to feel out the breeze and get the tuning right, and that’s definitely when experience comes into play. We are really getting better at that.” Haeger and Provancha’s coach, three-time 470 world champion Dave Ullman (Newport Beach, Calif.) said that they will spend a significant amount of time on the water this Spring and Summer to hone their abilities. “We’re on an upward trend,” said Ullman. ”
Buckingham’s speed around the Laser course on Sunday was noticeable enough to generate discussion around the boat park well after his medal race victory ended. Laser Radial World Champion Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) was fired up after watching her teammate perform, and described his pace downwind as “incredible.” Buckingham himself took more of a big-picture approach toward analyzing his performance. “There’s a couple things I’m working on to make a bit of a jump, but things are definitely moving in the right direction as we get to the more important part of this season, especially with the [Olympic] Test Event and the Pan American Games coming up, and also as the Trials and Olympics approach. I’m just trying to climb my way up there.” Buckingham finished 8th overall in Hyères.
Railey also submitted an excellent medal race, finishing third in the race and 7th overall in the Laser Radial. “I wish I would have done better, but we saw major improvements in skills I have never been able to conquer in my sailing career,” said Railey. “Definitely looking forward to the next event, and placing better.”
In the men’s heavyweight Finn dinghy, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) continues to demonstrate that he belongs among the top contenders in the class. Paine has notched several top-ten performances at the highest level in the past twelve months, and was in first for much of today’s Finn medal race. “I’m a bit impatient, and I want [to make all possible progress] now, and for the pieces to come together all the time, but it’s a work in progress and I’m happy with where I am and where I’m going,” said Paine.
Just missing the medal race in the Men’s 470 was Stu McNay (Providence, R.I) and Dave Hughes (San Diego, Calif.). McNay and Hughes recorded the best finish by Americans in the two-person Olympic dinghy in 14 years (5th overall) at the 2014 World Championships. They had also distinguished themselves by making it to the medal race at each event they attended in 2014. Unfortunately at this regatta it was not to be. “We were happy to finish strong with a 4th in the final [full-fleet] race, but in the end we were 11th overall and missed the medal race by one spot,” said McNay. “There were definitely some missed opportunities that we look forward to capitalizing on next time.”
To see sights and sounds from ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères through an American lens, visit the US Sailing Team Sperry media hub.
Final US Results: ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyéres 2015
Full Results: http://bit.ly/1DeM1HB
- 5th overall, Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)
- 21st overall Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Carly Shevitz (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Finn Heavyweight Men:
- 7th overall, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)
Laser Radial Women
- 7th overall, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.)
- 8th overall, Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.
2.4mR Paralympic (Open):
- 10th overall, Dee Smith (Annapolis, Md.)
- 11th overall, Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (San Diego, Calif.)
- 17th, Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.)
- 25th, Brad Funk (Miami, Fla.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)
Nacra 17 Mixed:
- 25th Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and Matthew Whitehead (Panama City, Fla.)
- 35th, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.)
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
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
About the ISAF Sailing World Cup
The ISAF Sailing World Cup is a world-class annual series for Olympic sailing. It is open to the sailing events chosen for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Its centre piece is the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup will consist of five regattas for all ten Olympic events and where possible, Formula Kite Racing. Qualification places for the ISAF Sailing World Cup final are up for grabs at each event. The final will bring together the top 20 boats in each Olympic event and an Open Kiteboarding event where the World Cup Champions will be crowned.
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Press Contact: Will Ricketson, Olympic Communications Manager, US Sailing. email@example.com, +1 (978) 697-2384.