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Sailing: Floridian dig up gold at Kiel Week in Germany

Clearwater’s Zach Railey, a silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics, was 17th in the Finn class competition during Kiel Week in Germany. Zach’s sister Paige won the gold medal in the Laser Radial class.

Associated Press

Clearwater’s Zach Railey, a silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics, was 17th in the Finn class competition during Kiel Week in Germany. Zach’s sister Paige won the gold medal in the Laser Radial class.

Floridians dominated at Kiel Week, an International Sailing Federation World Cup event in Germany, highlighted by St. Petersburg's Mark Mendelblatt and West Palm Beach's Mark Strube winning the gold medal in the Star Class for the second year in a row.

Paige Railey of Clearwater and Anna Tunnicliffe of Plantation also grabbed Laser Radial class gold and bronze medals, respectively.

This was the fifth ISAF Sailing World Cup event so far this year won by either Railey and Tunnicliffe. Railey took the gold medal at the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and a silver at the Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta. Tunnicliffe captured gold medals at Sail Melbourne in Australia, U.S. Sailing's Miami OCR and French Olympic Sailing Week in Hyeres, France.

"It feels so good to win," Railey told U.S. Sailing. "I'm really relaxed. When I'm sailing, I'm not putting pressure on myself. I'm having more fun with it all."

Railey and Tunnicliffe, the No. 1-ranked Laser sailor in the world, will compete in the Laser Radial World Championship in Japan at the end of July.

Other Americans who competed in Kiel Week, the sixth stop on the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit, included Brad Nichol of Miami, who finished seventh overall in the Star class, and windsurfer Ben Barger of St. Petersburg, who finished ninth among 34 entries in the men's RS:X.

A total of 22 U.S. Sailing team members competed, including 2008 Olympic silver medalist Zach Railey of Clearwater, who finished 17th in the 64-boat Finn class. Clearwater's Emily Billing and Fort Lauderdale's Sarah Lihan also sailed on the U.S. under-23 team in a 75-boat Laser Radial fleet.

The next stop in the World Cup series, which was designed to bring together the world's top Olympic and Paralympic competitors, is Sail for Gold in Weymouth, England, on Sept. 14. The competition will take place at the same venue as the 2012 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

High Schools: Tampa's Plant High placed eighth in the nation at the U.S. National High School Sailing Championships in May at California. Plant consistently ranks near the top of the national standings.

CollegeS: The Intercollegiate Sailing Association of North America (ICSA) has announced the members of its 2008/2009 ICSA All-America Sailing Team, which includes two brothers from Tampa, Andrew and Robert Vann. Andrew Vann, who just graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., received college sailing's highest honor, while his brother Robert, who will graduate in 2011, received an honorable mention.

World Champions: St. Petersburg's Marty Kullman crewed on the winning boat at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championships in Porto Cervo, Italy, last week. Kullman, a regular fixture on the local sailing scene, sailed with two-time world champion Jim Richardson of Boston aboard his boat Barking Mad, as the mostly American crew defeated three-time champion Vincenzo Onorato of Italy.

Sunfish News: Cameron Hall of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club was the top American finisher at the Sunfish Junior North American Regatta sailed June 22-23 on the challenging waters of historic Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. Hall, who has agreed to sail for the College of Charleston, finished behind two members of the Ecuadorian national team. Corey Hall, Cameron's sister, also sails for the College of Charleston, which finished second at the 2009 Intercollegiate Sailing Association's Women's National Championships.

To submit sailing news, go to community.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.

Sailing: Floridian dig up gold at Kiel Week in Germany 07/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 2, 2009 4:30am]
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