Sail Scene

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US Sailing names

Athletes of The Year

Six sailors have been recognized by US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport, as the sport’s U.S. Olympic Committee Athletes of the Year for 2005 for outstanding performance in competition. In the four categories, the athletes have five world championship titles between them, as well as numerous additional podium-finishes.

• Team of the Year — Skipper Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), and crew Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), and Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), won eight major regattas, including two world championships. Barkow, Capozzi and Howe kicked off 2005 by winning the Rolex Miami OCR in January to win the qualification for the US Sailing Team in the Yngling class. The team then went on to win several other major regattas, including the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship in Annapolis, Md., and the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in Fort Worth, Texas. Their most impressive results were victories at the Yngling Women’s World Championship and the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship.

• Male Athlete of the Year — Laser sailor Andrew Campbell (San Diego) was recognized for his performance in several events, including the World University Games in Turkey, where he won a gold medal representing the United States and GeorgetownUniversity. Campbell also won the 89-boat fleet at the Laser Midwinters East Championship and the 85-boat Laser North American Championship. His success at these two events was preceded by his second-place finish at US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR, earning him second place on the 2005 US Sailing Team in the Laser class. Campbell was previously named US Sailing’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2002.

• Female Athlete of the Year — Paige Railey, an 18-year-old Laser Radial sailor from Clearwater, Fla., had a tremendously successful 2005, winning two world championships and entering the record books for being the first sailor in history to win two Singlehanded Girls Youth World Championship titles (she also won the event in 2003). Railey began her year winning the Rolex Miami OCR, and then went on to compete in the Laser Radial Midwinters East where she defeated 82 other sailors to win the event and qualify for the No. 1 spot on the 2005 U.S. Sailing Team in the Laser Radial. One of her most impressive performances this year was at the Laser Radial World Championship in Brazil, where she beat 75 other world-class sailors to take the title. This is the fourth time Railey was named US Sailing’s USOC Female Athlete of the Year. (She was previously recognized in 2004, 2002, and 2001.)

• Paralympic Athlete of the Year — Nick Scandone (Fountain Valley, Calif.) sailed brilliantly throughout the year, which culminated in an impressive win at the 2.4mR Open World Championship, where he defeated 87 able-bodied and disabled sailors in the process, including seven previous world champions. He also won the U.S. Independence Cup/North American Challenge Cup (his second consecutive win at that event) and America’s Disabled/

Open Regatta, both in the 2.4mR. Scandone was the highest U.S. finisher at the Rolex Miami OCR, finishing in third place overall, which helped him take the top spot on the 2005 US Disabled Sailing Team in the 2.4mR.

The honored sailors will be considered for the overall USOC Team and Athlete of the Year Awards. The USOC award winners will be selected from the Athletes of the Year recognized by each Olympic sport’s national governing body. www.ussailing.org

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Corum Melges Worlds champs crowned

It was the battle of the Italians and the not-so-Italians, the Corinthians and the professionals, the newcomers and the old salts, during six days of racing in the 2005 Corum Melges 24 World Championship.

Australian sailor James Spithill’s Italian Luna Rossa team held on to a diminished margin to take the top trophies with just an eight-point margin.

If Spithill’s polished international crew represented the peak of professionalism, Gabriele Benussi’s Italian sailors Marrachech Express were almost entirely amateurs — as well as newcomers to the class — as they surprised everyone, including themselves, with a second place overall.

Between them, Spithill and Benussi forced into third place the seasoned veteran small boat champion Dave Ullman from Newport Beach, Calif., aboard his Pegasus 505. They left in their wakes a host of America’s Cup and Olympic caliber sailors including most of the past champions in the 12-year-old sport boat class.

In the Corinthian Division for nonprofessionals, Martin Kullman, from St. Petersburg, Fla., sailing New Wave, barely squeezed ahead on points over Bruce Ayres, of Newport Beach, Calif., sailing Monsoon. Kullman finished the week 23rd overall after maintaining a 10th overall against some of the world’s top sailors earlier in the series. A Henderson 30 veteran, he only began racing Melges 24s this year, winning October’s Melbourne Race Week in Melbourne, Fla.

The fleet of 99 boats encountered a variety of light wind conditions, with one day of gusty breezes touching 18 knots, as they raced on relatively flat tropical waters in the lee of John Pennekamp Reef, off Key Largo’s renowned Ocean Reef Club.

Spithill, the 26-year-old Australian skipper of Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge for the America’s Cup, was sailing with three other members of his America’s Cup crew, with additional help from 11-year-old Mac Agnese, their 80-pound “secret weapon” from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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Second world title

for Paige Railey in 2005

Paige Railey of Clearwater, Fla., won her second Sailing World Championship title in 2005 at the Laser Radial Women’s World Championship in Fortaleza, Brazil.

With this win, Railey, 18, wrapped up an impressive year winning a total of six major international regattas, including the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, and upheld her No. 1 spot in the world rankings in the Laser Radial class. In addition to Railey winning the event, two other U.S. Sailing Team members had impressive results: Anna Tunnicliffe of Plantation, Fla., finished third in the women’s fleet, while U.S. Sailing Team member Brad Funk also of Plantation, Fla., finished second in the Open fleet.

In winning the first Laser Radial World title since the class became the women’s single-handed dinghy equipment for the 2008 Olympic Games, Railey shows a maturity beyond her age. Despite all her previous successes, the World title demonstrates that the American is the early pacesetter in the class. In a wide variety of testing conditions from 6 to 25 knots each day there were difficulties for the experienced fleet. Railey never won a race and only scored three Top Three spots. Quite often she fought her way back from lower positions to achieve consistent single results. Railey will compete in August at the Laser Radial World Championships to be held at the California Yacht Club in Los Angeles.