U.S. Olympic Trials, Day 2 Report

Brad Funk takes over the lead in the Laser Class, while Anna Tunnicliffe holds on to the top spot in the Radial division, despite a hard charge from Paige Railey, who won the last race.

West Coast Report: A wild, wacky and windy day for Olympic hopefuls If it's true that challenging conditions bring the best sailors to the top, the U.S. may be on its way to sending one of its stronger teams to the Olympics because they saw plenty of that Sunday up and down the Southern California coast. There were only two leader changes in the eight fleets: 41-year-old four-time Olympian Mike Gebhardt moving up to first place in the RS:X sailboards at Long Beach and another veteran, Darrell Peck, taking over the Finn lead at Newport Beach. Here's how the battles look after two days: 49er skiff: The mood turned tense for Tim Wadlow and Chris Rast even as they extended their lead with a 1-3-1 second day of sailing in winds swinging from 15 to 11 to 18 knots through the afternoon. At press time, after winning 4 of the 6 races so far, they were facing a protest filed against them by Morgan Larson and crew Pete Spaulding over a non-contact incident in Sunday's first race. Larson/Spaulding also had their second early start in two days and now carry two OCSs that will eat up their two discards due to kick in later. Veteran campaigners Dalton Bergan and Zack Maxam remain in second place after a strong 4-1-2 day. Rast said, "We like the conditions we're seeing right now. It's windy and a lot of teams had been practicing for light air." They might have been thinking ahead to Qingdao, the notoriously light Olympic venue. "But you have to get there first," Rast said. He and Wadlow overcame a poor start in the first race but nailed a jibe-set at the weather mark that set them up to fly from fifth to first downwind. ---Margo Hemond reporting Finn dinghy: Survival is paramount when the wind gods start throwing curves the way they did Sunday. "It got crazy," said Darrell Peck, a 43-year-old class veteran from Gresham, Ore. "Big shifts and big holes." With a first and third in the 42-boat fleet, Peck took over first place from Zach Railey (12-1) by four points. After principal race officer Jeff Johnson delayed the start for 1 1/2 hours waiting for some stability, the breeze off Balboa built from 9 to 16 knots through the afternoon with wild swings to the right, including one that caused the second race to be abandoned on the first try. "I just sailed in the middle of the course and tried to look for the biggest winds," Peck said, describing how rivals playing one side or the other usually came to grief. Peck also had a plan coming in. "I re-optimized my boat and my body for light wind," he said. ---Jeff Johnson reporting Star: With unsettled and erratic wind across the board, this was the only West Coast venue to start on time Sunday, which allowed just enough time for the allotted two races before conditions turned impossible as the last boats finished. Mark Mendelblatt and crew Magnus Liljedahl remained in first place by eight points with an 8-1 day as George Szabo and Andrew Scott (7-3) settled into a second-place with the 1988-'92 silver and gold medalists, Mark Reynolds and Hal Haenel. The conditions with 8 to 10 knots of fickle breeze tested all of them. "The race committee did a fine job of getting the races in," Szabo said. "It was doing 20-degree shifts left and right and not where you're expecting them. We had to recover a few times and we got lucky a few times." Szabo, who sailed in a pre-Olympic in China last year, said that compared to Marina del Rey Sunday, "The wind at Qingdao was steady." ---Tom O'Conor reporting Tornado: It's still a two-boat race after Robbie Daniel and crew Hunter Stunzi and three-time Olympians John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree swapped firsts and seconds for the second day, the latter winning by 1 minute 49 seconds after the former ruled by 54 seconds. One of their secrets: "We learned how to deal with San Diego's terrible kelp," Ogletree wrote in a pre-regatta report. "When you're going 20 knots, hitting a kelp island can make you very slow." ---Mike Foster and Jared Wohlgemuth reporting 470 Men: The secret to Stuart McNay and crew Graham Biehl's early success is apparent. "We have to keep sailing consistently," Biehl said after they followed Saturday's 2-2 score with a 1-2 Sunday. "It got us to where we are now." But it's easier said than done. Unstable breeze---not the norm at Long Beach---is proving difficult to handle for everyone, especially the race committee, which postponed the start of racing for 1 1/2 hours. "We haven't practiced in conditions like that," Biehl said. Another of the top teams, Mikee Anderson-Mitterling and crew Dave Hughes, were in second place but eight points back after a 6-3 afternoon. ---Rick Roberts reporting 470 Women: No big deal, says Amanda Clark, who with crew Sarah Mergenthaler not only lead the women after two days but outsailed all the men in Sunday's first race and stand second in the combined fleet. "We do a lot of competing with the men," Clark said, "and for this event with only five [women's] boats it's better to be in a combined fleet because it's closer to what we'll have in China with only 18 boats." With the tricky conditions prevailing Sunday, Clark said, "We're looking upwind and making sure we're in the right place for whatever comes, and we're not taking any big chances. We're also trying to have fun. It's all for nothing if we're not enjoying ourselves." ---Rick Roberts reporting RS:X Men: The only board sailor to be involved in every Olympics since the class was introduced at Long Beach in the 1984 Games is on top of his game again. Mike Gebhardt, 41, scored first and second places Sunday to take a three-point lead over early leader Robert Willis. Gebhardt's 20-year-old protege, Ben Barger, also figures to be a factor once he discards Saturday's DSQ for sailing the wrong course. "I just needed to clean up my starts," Gebhardt said. "I haven't been racing much, but I'm back in the racing mode now." Gebhardt was silver medalist Scott Steele's tuning partner in '84, then won bronze and silver himself in '88 and '92 and continued to represent the U.S, in '96 and 2000. In 2004 he coached Gal Fridman to winning a gold medal for Israel. ˆ-Rick Roberts reporting RS:X Women: The top four are fighting to define their competition. Lisa Kremer's early lead shrank to one point as rivals Farrah Hall and Nancy Rios swapped wins to share second place, one point ahead of Monica Wilson. East Coast ReportThe singlehanded Laser and Laser Radial share a lot: the same hull design and the same race course at the mouth of the Sakonnet River during the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials-Sailing. But one thing these two Olympic classes may not share at this nine-day regatta is their story line-with the combination of wind, boats, and sailing talents in each class developing a definite pattern of its own. After today's three races in breeze that ranged 9 to 16 knots, the top-3 order in the 33-boat Laser class has been completely shuffled, with Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla.)-the United States' top-ranked Laser sailor in the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) World Rankings-now in the lead. Funk has solidified a five-point edge over Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J.), who captured an early class lead by winning the opening race, and Trevor Moore (North Pomfret, Vt.). Johnson and Moore are tied in points after today's racing. Funk sailed a day of 2-2-9 finishes, generally coming into the first mark of the course in the lead pack of boats and moving deeper into the leading edge of the fleet as the Lasers sailed the trapezoid courses. The last race of the day was sailed in breeze that lightened to 9 knots, after a period of postponement while the Race Committee waited for the shifting breeze to settle in. The sailor who championed the fleet in the final race was Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.), a member of US SAILING's Elite Youth Development team studying at Brown University. In the Laser Radial class, the top-3 order in this 22-boat class remains unchanged from last night's standings. Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) still holds the lead after finishing 1-1-3 in today's three races, and Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) is again, as yesterday, in second place and one point behind. The smooth pattern of Tunnicliffe's bullets in the opening three races looks immutable on the scoreboard, but results could have been different after dramatic tussling between Tunnicliffe and Railey in a close opening race today. On a single run on the trapezoid course, the two women changed leads four times as they battled for the lead, with Tunnicliffe winning that race. Railey won the final race of the day, and Ft. Lauderdale sailor Sarah Lihan remains in third overall. On the race course for the Paralympic classes, sailors saw wind that ranged from approximately 8 knots to gusts in the high teens/low-20-knot range, with the breeze lightening during the latter part of the day. Sonar skipper Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.) and his crew of Bill Donohue (Brick, N.J.) and Tim Angle (Marblehead, Mass.) are still leading this six-boat class after today's races. SKUD-18 sailor Nick Scandone (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and crew Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Marblehead, Mass.) came to this series fresh off a silver-medal performance at the 2007 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship. But Scandone, the 2005 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, and McKinnon-Tucker turned windier conditions into gold today, by taking two bullets for the class lead. "We had good boat speed … The windier conditions are the ones we tend to like," said Scandone. The SKUDs had wind shifts that were sizeable enough to effect course changes. Singlehanded 2.4mR sailors have been trading race wins, and no one sailor is easily dominating this singlehanded Paralympic class. Mark Bryant (Estero, Fla.) now leads the class with a 2-1-2 record to date. After protest hearings on Saturday night, Saturday's second race for the 2.4mR and Sonar classes was abandoned. Going into tomorrow's racing, all classes, except the 2.4mR class, have completed four races and are on schedule in this two-race-a-day series. Results are provisional at presstime. PROVISIONAL RESULTS (Top 3 in class) 49er (13 boats; 3 of 24 races; protest pending): 1. Tim Wadlow (Beverly, Mass.)/Chris Rast (San Diego), 1-2-1-1-3-1, 9 points; 2. Dalton Bergan (Seattle, Wash.)/Zack Maxam (Costa Mesa, Calif.), 2-4-3-4-1-2, 16; 3. Eric Storck/John Storck III (Huntington, N.Y.), 8-3-6-6-2-7, 32. Finn (42 boats): 1. Darrell Peck (Gresham, Ore.), 4-4˜1-3, 12 points; 2. Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), 1-2-12-1, 16; 3. Geoffrey Ewenson (Annapolis), 2-3-10-4, 19. Star (19 boats): 1. Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.)/Magnus Liljedahl (Miami, Fla.), 3-3-1-8-1, 16 points; 2. tie between George Szabo (San Diego)/Andrew Scott (Annapolis), 2-1-11-7-3, and Mark Reynolds (San Diego)/Hal Haenel (Los Angeles), 12-2-2-6-2, 24. Tornado (6 boats): 1. Tie between Robbie Daniel (Clearwater, Fla.)/Hunter Stunzi (Charleston, S.C.), 1-2-2-1, and John Lovell (New Orleans, La.)/Charlie Ogletree (Kemah, Tex.), 2-1-1-2, 6 points; 3. Colin Merrick (Portsmouth, R.I.)/John Sampson (Rumson, N.J.), 4-3-5-3, 15. 470 Men (8 boats; 2 of 16 races): 1. Stuart McNay (Lincoln, Mass.)/Graham Biehl (San Diego), 2-2-1-2, 7 points; 2. Mikee Anderson-Mitterling (Coronado, Calif.)/David Hughes (San Diego), 5-1-6-3, 15; 3. Charles Modica (Hobe Sound, Fla.)/Han Jensen (Duxbury, Mass.), 3-5-2-8, 18. 470 Women (5 boats; 2 of 16 races): 1. Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.)/Sarah Mergenthaler (New York, N.Y.), 1-1-1-2, 5 points ; 2. Molly Carapiet (Belvedere, Calif.)/Molly O'Bryan (San Diego), 2-3-2-2, 9; 3. Erin Maxwell (Norwalk, Conn.)/Isabelle Kinsolving (New York, N.Y.), 3-2-3-3, 11. RS:X Men (6 boats): 1. Mike Gebhardt (Ft. Pierce, Fla.), 2-3-1-2, 8 points; 2. Robert Willis (Chicago, Ill.), 1-2-5-3, 11; 3. Ben Barger (Tampa, Fla.), 8-1-2-1, 12. RS:X Women (7 boats): 1. Lisa Kremer (Worthington, Minn.), 1-2-2-4, 9 points; 2. tie between Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.), 4-1-4-1, and Nancy Rios (Miami, Fla.), 2-4-1-3, 10.2.4mR (4 boats/after 3 races)1. Mark Bryant (Estero, Fla.); 2, 1, 2: 5 points2. Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.); 4, 2, 1: 7 points3. Charles Rosenfield (Woodstock, Conn.); 1, 4, 4: 9 points Laser (33 boats/after 4 races)1. Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla.); 3, 2, 2, 9: 16 points2. Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J.); 1, 1, 4, 15: 21 points3. Trevor Moore (N. Pomfret, Vt.); 2, 9, 7, 3: 21 points Laser Radial (22 boats/after 4 races)1. Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.); 1, 1, 1, 3: 6 points2. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.); 2, 2, 2, 1: 7 points3. Sarah Lihan (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.); 3, 3, 3, 4: 13 points SKUD-18 (5 boats/after 4 races)1. Nick Scandone/Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Fountain Valley, Calif./Marblehead, Mass.); 3, 1, 1, 1: 6 points2. Karen Mitchell/JP Creignou (Deerfield Beach, Fla./St. Petersburg, Fla.); 1, 4, 2, 2: 9 points3. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J./West Chester, Penn.); 2, 2, 3, 3: 10 points Sonar (6 boats/after 4 races)1. Rick Doerr/Tim Angle/Bill Donohue (Clifton, N.J./Marblehead, Mass./Brick, N.J.); 1, 1, 1, 1: 4 points2. Paul Callahan/Roger Cleworth/Tom Brown (Newport, R.I. and Cape Coral, Fla./Lithia, Fla./Northeast Harbor, Maine); 4, 2, 3, 2: 11 points3. David Schroeder/Keith Burhans/John Pucillo (Miami, Fla./Rochester, N.Y./Waldorf, Md.); 3, 4, 2, 4: 13 points