U.S. Olympic Trials, Day 3 Report

Laser sailor Andrew Campbell and the 49er duo of Morgan Larson and Pete Spaulding sweep their respective days of competition and move closer to the lead. The California racers suffered through some difficult wind conditions and the Finns were shut out.

West Coast Report: Tough day for race committees from Marina del Rey to San Diego Whether Qingdao's notoriety for wimpy wind will ring true for the Olympic sailing next August, most of the competitors in America's West Coast Trials got plenty of practice dealing with it Monday. The Finns' day at Newport Beach was a complete loss, while everyone else except the 49ers at San Diego and the RS:X sailboards at Long Beach spent much of the afternoon twiddling their tillers before ample breeze arrived for fair contests. Beleaguered race committees managed only one race for the Stars at Marina del Rey and struggled for two elsewhere. Meanwhile, the 49ers lived it up with their usual three races at San Diego as veterans Morgan Larson and crew Pete Spaulding shook off a slump with a sweep of the day. There were no lead changes, although Nancy Rios moved into a first-place tie with Lisa Kremer in the women's RS:X sailboards at Long Beach. 49er skiff, Southwestern Yacht Club: Anyone wondering, "Where are Morgan Larson and Pete Spaulding?" after the first two days got an answer Monday when the accomplished veterans not only swept the day with three first-place finishes but tossed a 14-point OCS (early start) they'd been dragging behind them for two days. With a second OCS still hanging, that moved them up to third place behind leaders Tim Wadlow/Chris Rast (4-3-3 on the day) and second-place Dalton Bergan/Zack Maxam, who took an OCS hit in the final race following a pair of deuces. Larson said, "We hadn't sailed poorly, but we discovered a few things with tuning our rig and were going a little better in the lighter conditions. We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole and now we're trying to fill it." They can discard their other OCS after 17 races, but there's no margin for error. "Our backs are still against the wall," Larson said. While every other venue gasped for air, the 49ers started on time at noon in 6-8 knots off Coronado Roads and clicked off all three races before surrendering their course to the Tornados, who went windless a couple of miles farther down the coast near Mexico. -Jerelyn Biehl and Margo Hemond reporting Tornado multihull, San Diego Yacht Club: This may have to be settled with a coin flip because there isn't much separating these two teams on the water. Robbie Daniel/Hunter Stunzi and three-time Olympians (silver in 2004) John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree have swapped 1-2 efforts all three days. The former won by 1:26 in the first race sailed near Mexico, then after the course was moved to the 49ers' vacated site up the beach Lovell/Ogletree won by 2:31, although in the 4-8-knot winds the margins were not indicative of how close it was. -Mike Foster reporting Star keelboat, California Yacht Club, Marina del Rey: Age may have its privileges, but John Dane, at 57 the senior competitor among 19 talented teams in this hard-edged fleet, and son-in-law Austin Sperry earned their victory in the only race in fluky 5-knot winds on Santa Monica Bay Monday. Nobody has worked harder in their three-year campaign than the pair from Gulfport, Miss., who now share second place with George Szabo/Andrew Scott, nine points behind Mark Mendelblatt/Magnus Liljedahl, who saved their lead by moving from eighth to third behind California's Eric Lidecis/Michael Marzahi on the last run to the finish. Double Olympic medalists Mark Reynolds and crew Hal Haenel are two points back in fourth. "We're happy where we're at," Dane said, "but it's a long series." He didn't mind the conditions. "I grew up on Lake Pontchartrain, where it was light and fluky all the time" Dane said. "I learned patience, so this was fine for me." -Tom O'Conor reporting 470 dinghy, Men, Alamitos Bay Yacht Club/US Sailing Center, Long Beach, Calif.: It appears that Stuart McNay and crew Graham Biehl have found a groove that could lead all the way to China, while favorites Mikee Anderson-Mitterling and David Hughes struggle approaching the halfway mark in these Trials. Despite tricky conditions Monday, McNay/Biehl logged two wins and have no finish worse than second, while their rivals settled for two deuces and stand 10 points in arrears. "We were able to do a good job in the wind shifts and stay consistent and positive," McNay said. Anderson-Mitterling is less positive. "We're trying to have fun and stay loose," he said. "I've never sailed this badly before." Meanwhile, a protest brought by Anderson-Mitterling/Hughes against Justin Law/Mike Miller for an incident in race number 3 on Sunday resulted in the latter's disqualification for that race. -Rick Roberts reporting 470 dinghy, Women, ABYC/USSC: Only McNay and Biehl outsailed the top women in the combined fleets on the 470 course Monday. Overall, Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving were 2-1 while leaders Amanda Clark and Sarah Mergenthaler went 3-3. In the race for the sole Olympic berth, the latter's lead was cut to three points. Later, after dark, a Clark/Mergenthaler protest against their nearest rivals for a pre-start incident in the second race was dismissed. -Rick Roberts reporting RS:X sailboard, Men, ABYC: Ben Barger, 20, held his own with his mentor, Mike Gebhardt, 41, to remain four points behind as they swapped 1-2 performances, but the youngster is in position to seize the lead Tuesday when he'll discard his opening-day eighth-place disqualification for sailing the wrong course. The worst result Gebhardt can toss is a 3. "We exchanged the lead through both races," Barger said. "I have an advantage in a breeze because I'm taller and bigger." With a glance at Gebhardt, he added, smiling: "Age does have disadvantages. I'm waiting for him to crack." --Rick Roberts reporting RS:X sailboard, Women, ABYC: The top four are within two points, as Nancy Rios, who dominated the Pre-Trials here a year ago, moving into a tie for the lead with Lisa Kremer (4-1)) with two second places on the course off Seal Beach Pier. "It was pretty exciting," Rios said. "I was watching Lisa in the first race because she seems to have a feel for the course." Rios made a strong move late in the second race to salvage second behind Kremer. "I saved my energy upwind because I knew I'd need it downwind. I pumped all the way downwind." -Rick Roberts reporting Finn dinghy, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Balboa: The U.S. Trials' largest fleet of 42 boats spent the afternoon in dead calm, teased only by a gentle 5-knot zephyr around 2 o'clock that soon faded to nothing. With no prospects of racing, principal race officer Jeff Johnson called it a day at about 3:30, leaving Darrell Peck on top by three points over Zach Railey. Together they have won 3 of the 4 races. -Jenn Lancaster reporting East Coast ReportAfter the third day of racing at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials - Sailing, leaders in all five classes racing off Aquidneck Island are holding onto their leading edge. But a study of the scores tells a deeper story: rivalries are heating up and points spreads are progressing into the territory of little-margin-for-error sailing. Fast forward to eight races, when racers can discard their worst race, and the picture gets even more interesting. In the Laser class-a 33-boat fleet filled with talents both seasoned and up-and-coming-odds makers before this event were eyeing two sailors from two coasts: Florida-based Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla.) and San Diego sailor Andrew Campbell. Funk moved into the class lead with a five-point margin after Sunday's racing. But two bullets in today's two races escalate Campbell into the number two slot. Once a discard is factored in, Campbell's throwout of a 20th-place finish and Funk's 9th make this a battle of class talents about to reach a boiling point. After today, Funk stands in first, with Campbell second, tied in points with Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J.). 2.4mR sailor Mark Bryant (Estero, Fla.) has seen some close finishes here in Newport. On the Paralympic course today-which saw squirrelly conditions, where the breeze never topped 10 knots and did an about-face from west-southeast to east-northeast-he lost a race to John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wisc.) by only a foot at the finish line. "That's the third race I've lost in this regatta by only a foot," he said. Although the on-the-water distances are close and the points scores are lethal-with only three points separating the top-3 boats-"I'm standing right where I want to be," he said after today's racing. For a man disabled by degenerative arthritis, that standing position is likely more than simply his spot on the leader board-but also the chance to compete for a spot amongst the world's top athletes heading to the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games in China next year. As predicted, the battle for the Laser Radial win is developing into a battle of two Titans in this new Olympic class, with Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) leading and Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) in second. After Tunnicliffe's two bullets today and Railey's two seconds, Tunnicliffe leads by three points. "It was tricky sailing today, with light winds and big waves," said Tunnicliffe. Winds on the Laser course started at about 13/15 knots and steadily died to as little as 4 knots. For Tunnicliffe, this regatta is both a mental and physical challenge-but one she prepared for. She trained with long strings of sailing days with little breaks between, to learn how her stamina would fare during such an intense stretch of racing. So far, it is faring better than most: Tunicliffe shares the fleet's lowest point score (8 points) with SKUD-18 racers Nick Scandone and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Fountain Valley, Calif./Marblehead, Mass.), who also took two first-place finishes today to retain their lead in this doublehanded Paralympic class. Sonar skipper Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), racing with Tim Angle, and Bill Donohue (Marblehead, Mass./Brick, N.J.), still leads this six-boat class. But a jury decision to reinstate Race #2, which was originally abandoned, moves the team of Albert Foster/David Burdette/Jim Thweatt (Wayzata, Minn./Lutherville, Md./W. Sacramento, Calif.) into second, only one point ahead of the team of Paul Callahan/Roger Cleworth/Tom Brown (Newport, R.I. and Cape Coral, Fla./Lithia, Fla./Northeast Harbor, Maine). Callahan represented the United States at the 2000 Paralympic Games. PROVISIONAL RESULTS (Top 3 in class) 49er (13 boats; 9 of 24 races; 1 discard): 1. Tim Wadlow (Beverly, Mass.)/Chris Rast (San Diego), 1-2-1-1-3-1-(4)-3-3, 15 points; 2. Dalton Bergan (Seattle, Wash.)/Zack Maxam (Costa Mesa, Calif.), 2-4-3-4-1-2-2-2-(14/OCS), 20; 3. Morgan Larson (Capitola, Calif.)/Tim Spaulding (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), (14/OCS)-1-2-2-9-14/OCS-1-1-1, 31. Tornado (6 boats; 6 of 16 races): 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. Star (19 boats; 6 of 16 races): 1. Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.)/Magnus Liljedahl (Miami, Fla.), 3-3-1-8-1-3, 19 points; 2. tie between John Dane/Austin Sperry (both Gulfport, Miss.), 1-10-6-2-8-1, and George Szabo (San Diego)/Andrew Scott (Annapolis), 2-1-11-7-3-4, 28. 470 Combined fleet (13 boats; 6 of 16 races): 1. Stuart McNay (Lincoln, Mass.)/Graham Biehl (San Diego), 2-2-2-2-1-2, 11 points; 2. Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.)/Sarah Mergenthaler (New York, N.Y.), 4-3-1-6-3-3, 20; 3. Mikee Anderson-Mitterling (Coronado, Calif.)/David Hughes (San Diego), 5-1-6-3-4-4, 23. 470 Men (8 boats; 6 of 16 races): 1. Stuart McNay (Lincoln, Mass.)/Graham Biehl (San Diego), 2-2-1-2-1-1, 9 points; 2. Mikee Anderson-Mitterling (Coronado, Calif.)/David Hughes (San Diego), 4-1-3-3-2-2, 11; 3. Keith Davids/Brad Rodi (San Diego), 1-6-4-5-3-5, 24. 470 Women (5 boats; 6 of 16 races): 1. Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.)/Sarah Mergenthaler (New York, N.Y.), 1-1-1-2-2-2, 9 points; 2. Erin Maxwell (Norwalk, Conn.)/Isabelle Kinsolving (New York, N.Y.), 4-2-3-1-1-1, 12; 3. Molly Carapiet (Belvedere, Calif.)/Molly O'Bryan (San Diego), 2-3-2-3-3-3, 16. RS:X Men (6 boats; 6 of 16 races): 1. Mike Gebhardt (Ft. Pierce, Fla.), 2-3-1-2-1-2, 11 points; 2. Ben Barger (Tampa, Fla.), 8/RAF-1-2-1-2-1, 15; 3. Robert Willis (Chicago, Ill.), 1-2-5-3-6-3, 20. RS:X Women (7 boats; 6 of 16 races): 1. Lisa Kremer (Worthington, Minn.), 1-2-2-4-4-1, 14 points; 2. Nancy Rios (Miami, Fla.), 2-4-1-3-2-2, 14; 3. tie between Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.), 4-1-4-1-3-3, and Monica Wilson (Newport, R.I.), 3-3-3-2-1-4, 16. Finn (42 boats; 4 of 16 races): 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. 2.4mR (4 boats/after 5 races)1. Mark Bryant (Estero, Fla.); 2, 1, 2, 3, 2: 10 points2. Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans; La.); 4, 2, 1, 1, 3: 11 points3. John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wisc.); 3, 3, 3, 2, 1: 12 points Laser (33 boats/after 6 races)1. Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla.); 3, 2, 2, 9, 4, 2: 22 points2. Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.); 4, 4, 1, 20, 1, 1: 31 points3. Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J.); 1, 1, 4, 15, 2, 8: 31 points Laser Radial (22 boats/after 6 races)1. Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.); 1, 1, 1, 3, 1, 1: 8 points2. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.); 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2: 11 points3. Sarah Lihan (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.); 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6: 23 points SKUD-18 (5 boats/after 6 races)1. Nick Scandone/Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Fountain Valley, Calif./Marblehead, Mass.); 3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1: 8 points2. Karen Mitchell/JP Creignou (Deerfield Beach, Fla./St. Petersburg, Fla.); 1, 4, 2, 2, 2, 2: 13 points3. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett, (Brick, N.J./West Chester, Penn.), 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 16, points Sonar (6 boats/after 7 races)1. Rick Doerr/Tim Angle/Bill Donohue (Clifton, N.J./Marblehead, Mass./Brick, N.J.); 1, 3, 1, 1, 7/DSQ, 3, 2: 18 points2. Albert Foster/David Burdette/Jim Thweatt (Wayzata, Minn./Lutherville, Md./W. Sacramento, Calif.); 5, 1, 3, 4, 2, 5, 1: 21 points3. Paul Callahan/Roger Cleworth/Tom Brown, (Newport, R.I. and Cape Coral, Fla./Lithia, Fla./Northeast Harbor, Maine), 4, 7/DSQ, 2, 3, 1, 1, 4: 22 points