Skandia Sail for Gold 2011: Team Maclaren takes Gold

Team Maclaren at Sail for Gold Regatta 2011 in Weymouth
© Clive Mason
Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2011's final day has resulted in a Gold medal victory for Team Maclaren. Anna Tunnicliffe recaps the day's events.

Team Maclaren has also taken the overall lead in the ISAF Sailing World Cup rankings.  Even though it was an exciting day of racing, the team was able to take the series 3-0 over GBR's Lucy Macgregor and team and bring home the gold.

We were the first fleet to start racing this morning, and the only fleet outside of the breakwaters, but it was perfect sailing again. Slightly shifty and puffy but flat water, and sunny.  The race committee started on time with the races and the games began.

In the first race, both boats started at opposite ends of the line. We were at the pin end; Macgregor were slightly early at the boat end resulting in them having to restart. From there, we took the first cross and controlled them up the course as the breeze slowly started to settle down.

On the first downwind leg, the wind showed that it was starting to shift left, so we positioned ourselves such that we could force them to the port layline early in the race and cut out their options. After that, it was a fairly simple one gybe downwind leg and we crossed the line to take the first race of the series.

Race two was a bit tighter. Late in the pre-start we had them covered and sailing in our bad air, late for the start. They threw in some tacks which we were able to match and we extended a couple lengths immediately off the line. By the top mark, we had a four length lead of which they did a great job of closing up on the downwind leg as they brought pressure down to us. Upwind, we extended gain, but on the last run, we got into a gybing duel and they closed right up to us as we matched their every gybe.

Fortunately, we were able to get our breeze ahead on the last gybe into the finish and ended up taking the second race.

The last race was the closest start of the series. Both boats wanted to start near the pin end of the line as the left side of the course was the favoured side. We wanted to start to the right of them, however, so we positioned ourselves to push them down to the pin and tack off at the gun, which we did.

When we came back together, we were a quarter length ahead and forced the race out to the left side again and had a couple length lead by the top mark. Downwind, again, they closed right up to us and tried to fake tack us at the leeward mark.

They didn't manage to shake us off onto the opposite tack but they did a great job at slowing us down. When both boats finally exited onto port tack, it was a tough battle for a minute or so for us to hang on and keep them pinned. We were able to use our speed to get just bow in front of them and pin them to layline. Downwind to the finish, we played the leg quite well so that we were always controlling the starboard gybe, and took the race by three lengths and thus the series.

Team Maclaren Celebrating Their Gold Win At 2011 Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta

We have to thank our coach, Dave Dellenbaugh, for his fabulous coaching all week long! We were so happy to have won the regatta. It was definitely our goal coming into the event. But as important, was us working on our goals that we had set for ourselves. We accomplished most of them, and are excited to be racing again in a week's time to continue working on them. The awards ceremony was held later in the afternoon with a lot of spectators and other sailors turning out to cheer on all the winners. 

As I mentioned, our next competition is in a week's time. We head to Kiel, Germany, for Kieler Woche (Kiel Week) on the 15th to start getting ready for that event. Between now and then, we hangout in Weymouth for a few more days as we train with our other USSTAG teammates, Team Tulloch.

We would very much like to thank our Title Sponsor, Maclaren, our Gold Level Sponsors 11th Hour Racing and Laser Performance, and our Bronze Level Sponsors Carmeuse, Trinity Yachts, and Chicago Match Race Center for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and its sponsors for their continued support.

Also, thank you to our private donors. Please remember that any and all donations/contributions to our campaign should be made payable directly to either The Sailing Foundation of New York (tax deductible) memo'd Anna Tunnicliffe, or to Anna Tunnicliffe.

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