The 2010 U.S. Sailing Team includes several locals, demonstrating once again that the Tampa Bay area produces some of the best competitive sailors in the world.
This year's team includes Paige Railey of Clearwater in the Laser Radial class, the Women's One Person Dinghy; her brother Zach Railey, also of Clearwater, in the Finn class, the Men's One Person Dinghy Heavy; Ben Barger of St. Petersburg in the RS:X, Men's Windsurfer; and Mark Mendelblatt of St. Petersburg, who will compete with John von Schwarz of Annapolis, Md., in the Star class, Men's Keelboat.
In the Paralympic classes, St. Petersburg's Jen French will be part of a SKUD-18 team, the Mixed Two Person Keelboat, and Brad Kendell of Tampa will sail the Sonar, the Open Three Person Keelboat.
Paige Railey dominated the Laser Radial fleets at several recent events, including January's Olympic Class Regatta in Miami. She is currently ranked first the International Sailing Federation's (ISAF) World Cup standings for the 2009-2010 season. A senior at USF, Railey recently won a gold medal at the Laser Radial Women's European Championship in Charlottenlund, Denmark, and hopes to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Zach Railey, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, also scored a podium finish recently, at the Finn Gold Cup in Vallensbaek, Denmark. He picked up two bronze medals as well in 2009 in ISAF World Cup events. On Feb. 7, Railey came out on top of three British rivals to win the Finn Midwinters in Fort Lauderdale.
Mendelblatt, who has also raced in the America's Cup, won the Star class during Kiel Week in Germany.
Barger didn't take time off after returning from the 2008 Olympic Games in China. The St. Petersburg resident immediately launched his 2012 campaign, traveling to Weymouth, England, to familiarize himself with the weather and water at the 2012 Olympic sailing venue.
Master Driver: Five teams from throughout the United States sailed 40 races on Tampa Bay in 15- to 20-knot winds Jan. 29-31 as the St. Petersburg Yacht Club hosted the Master Driver Team Race. The two-on-two team racing took place in Sonar with the New York and Texas Corinthian yacht clubs tied going into the last race. The New York team, with former St. Petersburg sailor Sean Doyle calling tactics, won the final. The Texans were second, and the Boston Yacht Club was third.
Valentine's Regatta: Hundreds of young sailors from around the country braved heavy winds last month when the St. Petersburg Yacht Club hosted its annual Valentine's Day Regatta. Organizers stopped the racing Feb. 6 when the winds gusted to 30 mph.
Dane Wilson of Santa Barbara, Calif., won the 152-boat gold fleet, with locals Will Livernois of Davis Island finishing 16th and Liam McCarthy of St. Petersburg 24th.
The St. Petersburg Yacht Club's John Wallace won the Laser Radial fleet and his sister Caroline Wallace finished fifth. Davis Island's Alejando Ruiz-Ramon won the Laser 4.7, and St. Petersburg's Georgia Hardage was the top female finisher in the same class.
Laser Midwinters: More than 200 sailors from more than 30 countries gathered in Clearwater on Feb. 18-21 for the Laser Midwinters East Regatta. The fleet included the 2008 Olympic gold medalist, Paul Goodison of Great Britain. Sweden's Emil Cedergardh won the Laser Standard class, while the Clearwater Yacht Club's Paige Railey won the Laser Radial, and Colombia's Estaban Echavarria won the Laser 4.7 rig.
Got sailing news? Contact Terry Tomalin at email@example.com or (727) 893-8808.