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2004 US Olympic Trials

This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49 

US Olympic Trials - Day Seven
By Jan Harley, Media Pro International and Rich Roberts, YachtRacing.com
Mar 27, 2004, 20:39

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First Day's Report
Second Day's Report
Third Day's Report
Fourth Day's Report
Fifth Day's Report
Sixth Day's Report
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Complete results

Winds Wane on Penultimate Day of Racing at US Olympic Team Trials-Sailing

Coconut Grove, Fla. (March 27, 2004) – Finally, the blustery winds that all week had plagued Biscayne Bay gave way to a more user-friendly breeze. Rejoicing at the morning forecast of 18-22 knots, organizers sent the competitors at the 2004 US Olympic Team Trials-Sailing out for an on-time start. Not only did the forecast hold true, but also it allowed three races to be completed by the Star fleet who raced for the second day in a row under the watchful eyes of VIP observers: Bill Martin (Ann Arbor, Mich.), past President of US SAILING and currently Acting President of the U.S. Olympic Committee (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who was on the water yesterday; and Janet Baxter (Chicago, Ill.), who is not only the current President of US SAILING, but also the first woman to hold that position in the organization’s history, went out to watch today’s action.

The added attention evidently did not change the strategy of conservative sailing that continues to keep Paul Cayard (Kentfield, Calif.) and Phil Trinter (Lorain, Ohio) in the lead position of the 22-boat fleet. Today the duo placed 4-3-5 to earn a low score of 24 points — and 22 points of breathing room over their closest competitor.

Once 12 races were completed the scoring rules allowed competitors to take a second drop in calculating the overall standings. Reaping the most benefit were Andy Lovell (New Orleans, La.) and Olympic Gold Medallist Magnus Liljedahl (Miami, Fla.) who rocketed up to second overall once they were able to discard the OCS (on the course side) and the DNS (did not start) they earned on day one of racing – a byproduct of losing their mast. Between the points they dropped, and the eight they added after finishing 5-1-2 today, the pair hold second with 46 points.

George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.) and crew Mark Strube (West Palm Beach, Fla.) posted finishes of 8-9-8 today to drop back from second to third in the overall standings on 48 points.

For the second day in a row, Eric Doyle (San Diego, Calif.) and Brian Sharp (Norwalk, Conn./Franklin, Mass.) won the first race of the day. They followed with a sixth and a fifth, the latter of which became an OCS. They remain fourth overall with 61 points.

Olympic Gold Medallists Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.) and Steve Erickson (Seattle, Wash./Hood River, Ore.) won the final race of the day after finishing 3-11 in the earlier races. They stand fifth overall with 61 points.

Racing will conclude tomorrow, Sunday, March 28. The Race Committee will plan for three races tomorrow.


By Rich Roberts for YachtRacing.com

Saturday's wind: E, 19-22 knots.
Sunday's forecast (by Chris Bedford): E, 10-17 knots.

MIAMI, Fla.---Paul Cayard and crew Phil Trinter remained quietly in the wings Saturday as three other teams took center stage with victories in the U.S. Olympic Trials for the Star class.

Cayard and Trinter's time will come Sunday. With finishes of fourth, third and fifth Saturday, all they need to do is finish 14th or better in one of the three remaining scheduled races, then the curtain will come down on an overpowering performance.

If they do it in the first race---and nobody believes they won't---they'll skip the last two as their allotted throwouts. Their worst results are a sixth the first day and the fifth Saturday. There's a good chance the other 21 competitors will join them in the race to the hoist after a tough week and a half on windy Biscayne Bay.

The winners Sunday in continuing brisk breezes of 19-22 knots were Eric Doyle/Brian Sharp, Andy Lovell/Magnus Liljedahl and, taking a bow worthy of legends, Mark Reynolds and crew Steve Erickson.

George Szabo and crew Mark Strube fell out of second place with their second bad day of the series (8-9-8) after a string of seven races no worse than third. Their worst moment was at the first windward mark of the first race when they got caught in current and a disturbed air and couldn't fetch the mark, losing several boats as they circled back.

Reynolds, Szabo's boss at San Diego's Quantum Sails loft, had his best day with a first and a third to go with an 11th Saturday, typical of an up-and-down regatta. Reynolds and Erickson returned to the dock resigned that they wouldn't be winning any more gold medals at Athens in August.

Erickson, 42, won his with Bill Buchan at Long Beach in 1984. Reynolds, 48, won golds with Hal Haenel and Liljedahl and a silver with Haenel as his country's representative in the last four Olympics.

"I'm happy with what I've had," Reynolds said. "I never would have predicted I would have gone four times."

Erickson praised the apparent winner. "Paul sailed really solid, but just sailing [near] him you can see he was sailing conservatively. That's maturity. There's a time to take it easy and not let your ego get wrapped up in it."

Surely, whenever the winners looked back, Cayard was not far behind, biding his time.

Saturday's strongest performance was by Lovell and Liljedahl, who were Cayard/Trinter's tuning partners the last two months. They not only scored a 5-1-2 string of finishes but took a whopper bonus of 23 points when the second discard kicked in after 12 races to vault from seventh to second place.

What might have been if they had been told they were over the line early in Race 1 on the first day, instead of continuing on to break their mast and thus miss Race 2, as well, can't be known. That was the unfortunate policy of the event. But nobody except Cayard/Trinter sailed better after that.

"We came back," said Lovell, whose older brother John is going to his third consecutive Olympics with crew Charlie Ogletree in the Tornado catamaran class. "We were dead last after the first day but we kept going."

Liljedahl said, "It felt like we came into the series as underdogs. The first day was a disaster, but I know from sailing with Mark [Reynolds] that it's never over. Everything you do, never give up."

Good examples of that attitude Saturday were the Schofield brothers, Doug and Bob, from Boston. Their mast broke in the first race but they got a quick tow in to change to their backup as the second race was under way and returned in time to sail the third, finishing 17th.

The point, Doug Schofield said, "We wanted to have one good race, not a DNF [did not finish] and two DNSs [did not starts]."

Training with Cayard also lifted their game, Liljedahl said.

"He has by far the most professional program here. It's quite awesome to see."

Doyle/Sharp have matched Cayard/Trinter with four wins in the 13 races so far, but they stumbled into an early start in the last race Sunday. Like Lovell/Liljedahl, though, they didn't learn of their transgression until returning to shore, although fearing the worst.

"I had a really good line sight on the shore," Doyle said, "and I thought we were in good shape. Then I saw the flag go up and then the second gun."

Otherwise, Doyle said, it was a good day. Reynolds led at every mark in the first race but Doyle flew past on the run to the finish.

"We made all the gains that counted downwind," Doyle said, "which was nice because we'd been struggling downwind all week."

But even Doyle, Lovell and then Reynolds raced to victories, a glance over their shoulders would reveal that Cayard was never far behind.

"It's not over yet," Cayard said, "but it would be pretty nice to go to the Olympics."

NOTE: YachtRacing.com expresses its deep appreciation to competitor John Dane of New Orleans and his chase boat captain, Daryl Saunders, for accommodation throughout the Trials to follow and photograph the racing, without which the extent of our coverage would not have been possible.

Leaders (22 boats, 13 of 16 races, two discards):
1. Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter, San Francisco, 2-(6)-1-2-3-1-1-4-2-1-4-3-(5), 24 points.
2. Andy Lovell/Magnus Liljedahl, New Orleans, (23/OCS)-(23/DNS)-4-3-11-3-7-3-5-2-5-1-2, 46.
3. George Szabo/Mark Strube, San Diego, 4-5-(14)-(9)-1-4-2-1-3-3-8-9-8, 48.
4. Eric Doyle/Brian Sharp, San Diego, 1-1-9-8-5-10-(12)-11-1-8-1-6-(23/OCS), 61.
5. Mark Reynolds/Steve Erickson, San Diego, 5-2-10-7-13-2-(15)-9-7-4-3-11-1, 61.
6. Vince Brun/Mike Dorgan, San Diego, (23/OCS)-9-2-1-4-5-3-10-11-6-11-7-3, 61.
7. John MacCausland/Brad Nichol, Cherry Hill, N.J, 6-8-3-6-10-(15)-5-8-4-9-(15)-8-7, 74.
8. Andrew MacDonald/Austin Sperry, Laguna Beach, Calif., 11-7-5-4-6-(13)-10-7-12-5-10-5-4, 74.
9. Rick Merriman/Bill Bennett, San Diego, 7-4-(17)-13-2-7-9-5-8-7-6-(15)-9, 77.
10. Howie Shiebler/Will Stout, San Francisco, 3-3-6-(23/OCS)-12-9-6-(23/DNF)-14-15-2-2-12, 84.

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