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Clearwater brother, sister dominate in Denmark

Paige Railey, here sailing at a regatta in New Zealand, won the highly prized European Laser Radial Women’s Championship last month. She finished in the top 10 in eight of her nine scoring races.

Getty Images (2008)

Paige Railey, here sailing at a regatta in New Zealand, won the highly prized European Laser Radial Women’s Championship last month. She finished in the top 10 in eight of her nine scoring races.

Zach Railey, Finn class silver medal winner at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, finished second at the Finn Gold Cup last month in Vallensbaek, Denmark.

Railey, a member of the U.S. Sailing team, was one of 89 sailors from 30 countries competing in this international regatta.

The 25-year-old from Clearwater had taken most of the past year off, recovering from his long, grueling Olympic campaign.

The competition was tight during the six days of sailing. Railey had the lead going into the finals, where the points counted double for the top 10 sailors on the scoreboard. But with just seven points separating Railey from his nearest opponent, victory was up for grabs.

"My goal going into the medal race was to sail the best race I could," Railey told U.S. Sailing.

Railey crossed the line in third, which allowed Denmark's Jonas Hogh-Christensen to edge him out by a point for the gold.

"It was a very difficult race and I'm happy about my finish," he added. "Of course I would have preferred to finish one step higher on the podium, but I'm happy with this result and am already looking forward to next year's Gold Cup."

Tampa's Kenneth Andreasen, U.S. Sailing's head coach, praised Railey's performance. "Zach is an excellent Finn sailor, there's no doubt about it," he said. "No other sailor in the world currently has the same consistency in the Finn at such a high level as Zach has."

Railey made history last year when he became the first sailor to win silver medals at both the Olympic Games and the world championships. Next month, Railey plans to compete in the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, the seventh and final event of the International Sailing Federation World Cup Series, which will be held in Weymouth, England, the site of the 2012 Olympic regatta.

Family Affair: While Zach Railey captured silver at the Finn Gold Cup, his 22-year-old sister was adding another win to her resume.

Paige Railey, who narrowly missed a spot on last year's Olympic team, won the European Laser Radial Women's Championship in Charlottenlund, Denmark, last month. The European championship is widely considered one of the top three Laser events in the world.

"I am ecstatic," Railey told U.S. Sailing. "The weather for this regatta was extremely difficult to sail in with all different types conditions. It has been a huge learning event for me, and I'm very pumped to have won."

The University of South Florida senior knew consistency would be the key. She finished in the top 10 of the first six races, which ended up helping her in the end. She finished 45th in the next race, which she dropped from her final calculations, and captured a third and a 20th.

"At that point, we had just one more race to go and I had to tell myself that the game was not done yet," she said.

Railey won the final race and the regatta.

In recent years, the Laser Radial class has been dominated by American women. Railey and U.S. Sailing teammate Anna Tunnicliffe of Plantation have won five of the six major International Sailing Federation World Cup events so far this season. Tunnicliffe is ranked first in the United States; Railey, third.

Sailing School: The Boca Ciega Yacht Club will offer a five-week, adult Basic Sailing Class beginning Sept. 9. Students will sail in the club's Catalina 16.5 fleet. The cost is $225 per person, including all classroom materials and an U.S. Sailing Association Basic Keelboat manual.

For registration information, visit www.sailbcyc.org or call Jennifer Rogers at (727) 345-7544.

To submit sailing news, go to commu nity.tampabay.com and click on the "Submit info here" link. Or reach Terry Tomalin at (727) 893-8808 or e-mail him at tomalin.sptimes.com.

Clearwater brother, sister dominate in Denmark 08/06/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 6, 2009 4:30am]
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