Team AlphaGraphics hit Europe to prepare for Olympics and Paralympics

US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics athletes on the podium - Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011
USSTAG
In order to prepare for the top sailing events this year - the Olympic and Paralympic Games – the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) is in Europe through June to train and compete at major international events.

The Team is comprised of the 30 top American sailors in the 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes. The European season began this week for board sailors at the RS:X World Championships, and then the Team heads to the Princess Sofia Trophy, April 1-7 followed by French Olympic Sailing Week, April 21-27. For news, photos, video interviews and results, follow the team online here and on Twitter.

'After a short break from competition where athletes dedicated time to fitness training, it is now time to see that increased focus pay off on the water,' said US Sailing’s High Performance Director/Head Coach Kenneth Andreasen (Tampa, Fla.).

'Today marks four months until the Olympic Games begin with the Paralympic Games following a month after. Every competition counts toward the ultimate competition, and each is an important milestone in the Team’s progress. We have a great mix of talent across all classes and I’m excited to see what the year will bring.'

U.S. National Finn champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) dominated competition at US Sailing’s 2012 Rolex Miami OCR (Jan. 23-28, Miami, Fla.) to win his first ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal. After a month of training at the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Olympic Training Center, in Colorado Springs, Colo., Railey will test his dedicated fitness on the European circuit. He will be joined by Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.), who placed second at the U.S. Nationals.

Finn Sailor Zach Railey (USA) - Finn Gold Cup 2012

With a bronze medal at the ISAF Sailing World Championships, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) looks toward the Games in Weymouth, England in the Laser Radial class. Railey won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Test Event this past summer as well as a Pan American Games bronze medal. Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) represents the Team in the Laser class.

Paige Railey USA - Rolex Miami OCR 2012
USSTAG

49er team of Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (N. Pomfret, Vt./Naples, Fla.) launched their new boat in Miami and kicked off 2012 with a World Cup silver medal in the high performance skiff fleet.

The 470 class is represented by 2008 Olympians and 2011 Sail Melbourne gold medalists Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.), in the Men’s 470, and 2008 Olympian Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), in the Women’s 470.

Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan (USA) in 470-Women - Miami OCR 2012

As the Sonar and SKUD-18 classes are cancelled for competition at Princess Sofia Trophy, 2.4mR sailor Mark LeBlanc is the sole representative in the Paralympic classes.

USSTAG received berths for all three of its Women’s Match Racing teams: Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham (Miami, Fla.), the defending champions in Palma; Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), bronze in 2011; and Genny Tulloch (San Francisco, Calif.), Jenn Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.) and Alice Manard Leonard (New Orleans, La./East Haven, Conn.).

Women’s Match Racing selection for the 2012 Olympic Team is set for the US Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta, May 4-9, in Weymouth, U.K.

Four members of the 2012 US Sailing Development Team will compete in Palma: Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Greg Martinez (Houston, Texas) in the Laser, and Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.) in the 49er.

As the RS:X Worlds took place March 22-28, the class is cancelled at Princess Sofia Trophy. Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) qualified the USA for a Women’s RS:X berth at the world championship, completing full qualification for the country at the 2012 Olympic Games.

'Our team is excited that we have now qualified for the Games in all Olympic and Paralympic Classes,' said Dean Brenner, Chairman, US Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee. 'Farrah did a great job, and we’re proud of the fact that we’ll have a full squad in Weymouth.'

Hall was equally pleased with her performance at the Worlds and qualification. 'I feel that I’ve met my goals for this event, and I’m really happy to have finalized my Olympic spot,' she said.

'We had a really tough event, and I’m relieved that it’s finally over! I’m also happy that I’ve made a real breakthrough in planning conditions. I still need more practice in survival conditions to learn technique, but now I’ve got the mentality that I can dominate the equipment and sail aggressively and make maneuvers without fear in 30+ knots. Going to the Olympics this round really means that I’ve found some success. I’m excited to be representing the USA at the Olympic Games and I feel that I have the chance to make a real impact as far as results go.'

US Sailing Team’s European schedule:

April 1-7 Princess Sofia Trophy, Palma de Mallorca, ESP
April 21-27 French Olympic Sailing Week, Hyeres, FRA
May 2-12 Star Worlds, Hyeres, FRA
May 4-13 49er Worlds, Zadar, CRO
May 4-10 Laser Worlds, Botenhagen, GER
May 10-18 Finn Gold Cup (Worlds) Falmouth, U.K.
May 10-19 470 Worlds, Barcelona, ESP
May 15-20 Laser Radial Women’s Worlds, Botenhagen, GER
June 4-9 Skandia Sail for Gold, Weymouth, U.K.
June 16-20 Kiel Week, Kiel, GER
June 25-20 Women’s Match Racing Worlds, Gothenburg, SWE