Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - The U.S. Olympic Sailing Team had a successful day on the water after submitting strong scores across the Finn, Nacra 17, Men's 470 and Women's 470 classes, the only fleets with scheduled races on Sunday. Two more American boats have qualified for medal races in the Finn and Nacra 17 classes, with those contests to be held on Tuesday, August 16th just off of Rio's Flamengo Beach.
Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) earned race scores of 10,4 on Sunday, and has earned a berth in the Finn class medal race, reserved for the top ten competitors in the men’s heavyweight one-person dinghy. "It's been a regatta of ups and downs," said Paine. "There is still a lot of sailing to be had, and I'm looking forward to finishing it off and hopefully getting a medal in the end."
Paine, a first-time Olympian, will enter the medal race on Tuesday in 4th place overall, and just five points behind Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (Croatia) who is currently in bronze medal position. Based on the current scores, Paine has a shot at both the silver and bronze medal based on the outcome of the medal race, which counts for double points. Gold was clinched on Sunday by four-time Finn World Champion Giles Scott (Great Britain), the pre-Games favorite. "I've always come from behind, and I never stop fighting regardless of whatever situation I'm in," said Paine. "I'm looking forward to rolling into the medal race as prepared as possible, and hopefully we'll get it done."
Nacra 17 sailors Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) and Louisa Chafee (Warwick, R.I.) submitted a strong day of racing on Sunday, with scores of 9,8,3 in three races, to earn a place in the Nacra 17 class medal race. This is the first career Team USA appearance for both Gulari and Chafee, and the first Olympic Games in which the high-speed, gender-mixed catamaran has been used. "Throughout the day of racing, we actually didn't want to know what [the points] were looking like," said Chafee. "We knew that if we just went out there relaxed and had fun, good things would happen." Gulari and Chafee are not in mathematical contention for a medal, but could rise as high as 5th overall based on the outcome of the medal race.
American 470 sailors enjoyed a strong day as well in both the men's and women's fleets. Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.), Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) had scores of 5, 2 for the day, and now stand in 2nd place overall in the 20-boat fleet. “In the first race we struggled a bit early on, but once we got into open space on the racecourse, we were able to get back on track," said Haeger. "Overall, we're happy with our day." First-time Olympians Haeger and Provancha stand four points behind London 2012 silver medalists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (Great Britain) and 8 points ahead of two-time 470 World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (Austria).
Three-time Olympian Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and teammate Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) earned finishes of 7,6 on Sunday, moving them up to 6th overall and 10 points from 3rd. The veteran team showed resilience on Day 6, climbing from 19th position to 7th in the first race of the day. "At this stage, every point is critical for keeping us in the hunt," said McNay. "We're just trying to fight like animals out there to pass as many boats as possible." Three races are scheduled for both the Men's and Women's 470 classes on Monday prior to a reserve day on Tuesday, and Wednesday's 470 medal races.
Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) will compete in the Laser Radial medal race on Monday, August 14, scheduled to start at 1300 local time. Railey could rise as high at 8th overall based on the outcome of the medal race.
Both the 49er and 49erFX skiff classes had a reserve day on Sunday, and no races were held. Americans Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.), Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.),Thomas Barrows (St. Thomas, U.S.V.I) and Joe Morris (Annapolis, Md.) will return to action on Monday. Marion Lepert (Belmont, Calif.) and Pedro Pascual (West Palm Beach, Fla.) have concluded racing in the Men's and Women's RS:X classes, along with Laser sailor Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.).