U.S. Para Team Battles At The Top As Regatta Enters Final Stage
"It was a pretty good day, and we were close to winning the second race." - Brad Kendell
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing competition brought a second consecutive day of ideal weather conditions, and Team USA capitalized with a competitive performance in all three classes. With two days of racing remaining, the excitement and pressure continue to rise for the 80 assembled athletes representing 23 nations.
Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Brad Kendell (Tampa, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Maine) entered the day in second overall, and successfully defended their position with a 7, 2 scoreline on Thursday. "It was a pretty good day, and we were close to winning the second race," said Kendell.
Pictured: Rick Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund, Sonar Class.
The Americans engineered a dramatic comeback in the first race, before finishing a close second place in the next race. "On the first race, we just got trapped on the wrong side of the course on the second upwind leg, and lost some boats." said Kendell. Finding themselves in 13th place out of 14 boats, the 2016 Para Sailing World Champions kept calm and worked their way methodically back up through the fleet. "We did a much better job with the current and breeze on the last upwind leg, and finished 7th," said Freund. With each point being especially valuable on a crowded leaderboard, the impressive comeback could prove important to Doerr, Kendell and Freund in the final stage of the event.
The U.S. team led for most of the second race before narrowly taking second behind the Canadians. "We just couldn't get right fast enough after the last leeward gate," said Kendell. "At the start, we got mixed up with another boat, but we were able to tack out right away and get to the right side of the course, where we wanted to go anyway." With three scheduled races remaining, Doerr, Kendell and Freund are 11 points away from Australia in 1st, and have an 8 point lead on Great Britain in 3rd.
UPDATE: GBR (Sonar) was disqualified from Race 7. Updated standings below.
Pictured: Ryan Porteous and Maureen McKinnon (at left), SKUD-18 class.
Ryan Porteous (San Diego, Calif.) and Beijing 2008 gold medalist Maureen McKinnon (Marblehead, Mass.) finished 6th in the first race, before notching a strong 3rd place in the next race. It was the team's second top-three finish in the last three races.
"We had a tough start in the first race, and even though we kept close to the shore like most of the top boats, we could never catch back up," said McKinnon. "On the second race, we did much better job with the start. We were able to execute our game plan, and we just made fewer mistakes overall. I can't see much downwind when I'm trimming the kite, and Ryan did a great job putting us in good spots. We'll be looking to get more top-three results tomorrow."
Dee Smith (Annapolis, Md.) is locked in a close battle near the top of the 2.4mR leaderboard. Many of the week's top performers remained consistent on Day 4, and opportunities to climb were rare. Smith's scoreline of 4, 5, 7, has him sitting in 4th overall after eight races, and eight points shy of 3rd overall. "I was a bit disappointed with the day," said Smith. "I gained a place, but lost a bunch of points. Sometimes I felt I was playing the current too much, and other times I was focusing in the breeze too much."
Racing will continue on Friday, September 16, at the Rio 2016 Paralympic sailing competition. Two races are planned for each fleet. Medals are scheduled to be awarded in all three classes on Saturday, September 17, after the final scheduled race. More information can be found below.
Pictured: Dee Smith, 2.4mR class.
Standings: Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition (Day 4)
Sonar (Three-Person Keelboat) Top 10:
1. AUS - HARRISON Colin, HARRIS Jonathan, BOADEN Russell: 16
2. USA - DOERR Rick, FREUND Hugh, KENDELL Brad: 26
3. CAN - TINGLEY Paul, LUTES Scott, CAMPBELL Logan: 35
4. NOR - WANG-HANSEN Aleksander, SOLBERG Marie, KRISTIANSEN Per Eugen: 35
5. NZL - DODSON Richard, MAY Andrew, SHARP Chris: 37
6. ISR - COHEN Dror, BEN YAKOV Shimon, EFRATI Arnon: 38
7. GRE - CHRISTOFOROU Vasileios, ALEXAS Theodoros, NOTAROGLOU Anargyros: 39
8. GER - KLOTZING Lasse, KROKER Jens, MAINKA Siegmund: 42
9. GBR - ROBERTSON John, THOMAS Stephen, STODEL Hannah: 43
10. FRA - JOURDREN Bruno, FLAGEUL Eric, VIMONT-VICARY Nicolas: 63
SKUD-18 (Two-Person Keelboat) Top 10:
1. AUS - FITZGIBBON Daniel, TESCH Liesl: 8
2. CAN - MCROBERTS John, GAY Jackie: 23
3. GBR - RICKHAM Alexandra, BIRRELL Niki: 23
4. POL - GIBES Monika, CICHOCKI Piotr: 29
5. USA - PORTEOUS Ryan, MCKINNON Maureen: 34
6. ITA - GUALANDRIS Marco Carlo, ZANETTI Marta: 45
7. NED - SCHRAMA Rolf, NAP Sandra: 46
8. BRA - LANDGRAF Bruno, DE ALMEIDA Marinalva: 48
9. SIN - TAN Wei Qiang Jovin, YAP Qian Yin: 56
10. ESP - ROIG ALZAMORA Sergi, DEL REINO Violeta: 58
2.4mR (One-Person Keelboat) Top 10:
1. AUS - BUGG Matthew: 16
2. GBR - LUCAS Helena: 17
3. FRA - SEGUIN Damien: 23
4. USA - SMITH Dee: 31
5. NOR - ERIKSTAD Bjornar: 35
6. GER - KROGER Heiko: 35
7. ITA - SQUIZZATO Antonio: 46
8. AUT - REIGER Sven: 51
9. CAN - MILLAR Bruce: 58
10. FIN - SALOMAA Niko: 61