Rio Olympic Test Event (Sailing): Heartbreak for Railey In Radial, Buckingham Ends Laser Charge In 7th

27148592 ©Onne van der Wal / Sea&Co /OSM . NEW YORK CITY - NEW YORK- USA. 1st June 2014. Start of IMOCA OCEAN MASTERS NY-BCN Race ( 3700NM), double handed sailing race.

Pictured: Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), Laser Radial.


August 21, 2015

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – When you to commit to sailing at the Olympic level, adversity is unavoidable as you compete against the world’s best. On Day Seven of the 2015 Rio Olympic Test Event, the US Sailing Team Sperry experienced its fair share of challenges. Americans Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) and Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) both entered the Women’s Laser Radial and Men’s Laser medal races with a chance to get on the podium, but finished the regatta in 4th and 7th places overall, respectively. The US national team will have further chances to medal in the Men’s and Women’s 470 classes during the final races of the event on Saturday, August 22.

It was a heartbreaking result for Railey, who had successfully defended her top-three position for the majority of the regatta despite losing her drop race to an OCS early in the series. Penalized in the pre-start by the umpires for a boat-positioning maneuver, Railey began the medal race on the back foot. A second umpire-delivered penalty during the heat of battle on the final downwind leg put her in 10th place in the race, and sealed her fate. London 2012 Olympic silver medalist Marit Bouwmeester of The Netherlands was able to capitalize on Railey’s misfortune and climb onto the podium. “It was a disappointing ending, since Paige sailed so well all week,” said US Sailing Team Sperry High Performance Director Charlie McKee. “She and her coach did a good job of managing the risks with an OCS hanging over them, so that was good. At the end she made a few mistakes in the medal race that were extremely costly. This event showed that we are in contention for a medal in Rio 2016 in the Radial, but there is lots of work to be done. I’m sure this result will fuel Paige going forward.”

In the Men’s Laser, umpires again played a decisive role in American fortunes. Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) had a tentative start to his regatta, and found himself in 12th overall partway through the event. After intensive effort, the Laser North American Champion pulled himself up to 6th overall and within range of the podium heading into the medal race. However, umpires flagged Buckingham on the final downwind leg during the light air medal race, costing the two-time College Sailor of the Year the chance to improve his overall standing. “I had a good race going, and rounded the final windward mark in third,” said Buckingham. “I got flagged and lost four boats. As it turns out, I could not have medaled anyway because of the finishing positions of the other guys, but it doesn’t help when you get a penalty. Things didn’t go my way today, but I have a pretty clear idea of what I need to do to improve and get myself up there. Pretty happy with how my week went.”

27147729 ©Onne van der Wal / Sea&Co /OSM . NEW YORK CITY - NEW YORK- USA. 1st June 2014. Start of IMOCA OCEAN MASTERS NY-BCN Race ( 3700NM), double handed sailing race.

Pictured: Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.), Women’s 470.

The eyes of American Olympic sailing fans now turn to the Men’s and Women’s 470 classes, both of which will feature US Sailing Team Sperry entrants in tomorrow’s medal races. In the Women’s fleet, Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) are in second place overall after finishing 8th in the only race held today. The US boat is five points behind leaders Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark of Great Britain and fourteen points ahead of New Zealanders Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie in third.

Haeger and Provancha are sandwiched between the silver and gold medal-winning boats from London 2012 at the Olympic Test Event, serving to underline how competitive they have become in just their first full-time Olympic campaign. “The points are close, and tomorrow’s medal race is going to be all about positioning within the small fleet,” said Haeger. “We’ve won our last two medal races [at ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and the 470 Europeans], but the goal is not to win the medal race but to advance in the regatta. We are happy to be in this position, and are feeling confident.”

The Men’s 470 team of Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) recorded an 18th in the only race today, but are still very much in medal contention. “We had a good start, with plenty of pressure, and nearly crossed the fleet,” said McNay. “Unfortunately, we mismanaged some decisions and dropped back, but we’re looking forward to the medal race tomorrow.” McNay and Hughes enter the medal race in 7th place overall, but are only eight points from bronze position and twelve points from silver.


Pictured: Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.).

2015 Olympic Test Event, USA Results:

Full Results

Women’s 470 (Women’s Two-Person Dinghy):

  • 2nd overall, Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)

Laser Radial (Women’s One-Person Dinghy):

  • 4th overall, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.)

Men’s 470 (Men’s Two-Person Dinghy):

  • 7th overall, Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.)

Laser (Men’s One-Person Dinghy):

  • 7th overall, Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)

Finn (Men’s One-Person Heavyweight Dinghy):

  • 15th overall, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)

Nacra 17 (Mixed Two-Person Multihull):  Final

  • 16th overall, Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and Matthew Whitehead (Panama City, Fla.)

49erFX (Women’s Two-Person High Performance Skiff): Final

  • 16th overall, Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.)

49er (Men’s Two-Person High Performance Skiff):

  • 18th overall, Brad Funk (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)

Women’s RS:X (Women’s Board):

  • 19th overall, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.)

Men’s RS:X (Men’s Board):


  • 24th overall, Carson Crain (Houston, Texas)

Rio Olympic Test Event Reports

The Medalist Newsletter: US Olympic and Paralympic Sailing News

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