The US Sailing Teams selection in the Nacra 17 also begins in Miami, with the class Worlds in Clearwater immediately after serving as the second of two selection events. While the newly formed team of Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee, who have been sailing together for less than two weeks, is posting strong results, it’s the husband-wife duo of Mark and Carolina Mendleblatt who are the surprising dark horse in the U.S. bracket. Carolina was an Olympian in the RS:X, racing for Brazil in 2004 and was slated to compete for Portugal in 2012, pulling out just before the games. “She's used to the speed, but I'm used to sailing slow monohulls,” says Mark. “It's hard competition racing in this fleet. We've had our ups and downs already. We've got 10 more races to go and 15 at Worlds, and that’s it before we find out who goes to the Olympics. It all really counts.”
The Mendleblatts, who currently hold the third place position in the fleet, finished 37th in their first race on Tuesday when a bad start put them too far behind to make up many boats. “Starts in this fleet are paramount, and the courses are short so you have to get it right,” he says.