Winds that gusted from all directions ever day since Monday’s opener of ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella died down to the low single digits Friday on Biscayne Bay, forcing cancellation of racing for about half the fleet of 10 Olympic and four Paralympic classes. The regatta is considered a must-do event for anyone campaigning for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
For the Paralympic fleets of 2.4mRs, SKUD-18s, and Sonars crewed by disabled sailors, the regatta ended with no races Friday. That meant Thursday’s standings became final, and medals were awarded to the top finishers.
It was a happy outcome for the Australian SKUD-18 team of skipper Dan FitzGibbon and Liesl Tesch, the 2012 Paralympic gold medalists who led the eight-boat fleet by four points. But Tesch said they really wanted to race Friday.
No racing Friday disappointed Miami’s Daniel Evans, a member of the U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team Sperry who sails the single-handed 2.4mR.
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Evans found himself in fifth place and top American in the 29-boat fleet after the first two days of racing in big breezes — conditions he prefers. But by Thursday, he had dropped to 10th overall and runner-up American behind ninth-place John Ruf of Wisconsin. Thursday’s leader Bjomar Erikstad of Norway won gold.
“This is just a waypoint along the way,” Evans said of the final result. “This is not a huge deal. It’s not make or break. It gives you an idea where the rest of the fleet is and what you need to work out.”
Also disappointed Friday were U.S. Sonar runners-up Rick Doerr of New Jersey, Brad Kendell of Tampa, and Hugh Freund of Maine, who trailed the Norwegian team skippered by Aleksander Wang-Hansen by one point before the final race was canceled.
“We would have liked one more race,” Kendell said. “We sailed well. We could have gotten back into first place.”
On Saturday, the 10 Olympic classes of Laser; Laser Radial; Finn; 49er; 49er FX; 470 (men); 470 (women); RS:X men; RS:X women; and Nacra 17 will hold a final medal round that counts double points among the top 10 in each class.