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Previewing the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami

by David Schmidt 21 Jan 16:00 GMT January 21, 2020
Women's 470, Nikole Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss - Hempel World Cup Series Enoshima day 4 © Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy / World Sailing

While cold rain and snow might be the reality across most of North America during this fourth week of January, conditions are far more conducive to high-level sailing on the waters off of Florida, where the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami (January 19-25) is currently unfurling. This annual regatta is the only World Sailing World Cup event that takes place on U.S. waters, placing an additional premium on North American sailors to perform well on their home waters. For some American-flagged Olympic hopefuls, this regatta will serve as part of their Olympic trials, while other sailors are competing to compare their speed and tactics against other top-flight international sailors.

"We've had two regattas here in the last month, and it's been good practice for the coaches and sailors," said Luther Carpenter, US Sailing's Olympic Head Coach, in an official team press release. "It's always great to see how we perform when we have to bring our best. It's one of the best learning tools for all of us."

For American sailors competing in the Men's and Women's 470 class, the Men's and Women's RS:X class, and the Finn class, the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami represents the second out of three trials events that will determine who gets to fly the letters "USA" on their sails at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (July 24 to August 9).

Additionally, the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami will serve as the country qualifier for the USA in the Women's 470 class. And while there's not much danger in the USA not qualifying for the Games in the Women's 470 class, competition levels are extremely tight between the top three U.S.-flagged Women's 470 teams going into this prestigious regatta.

As of this writing, the top-ranked U.S.-flagged Women's 470 teams are all within one point of each other in the U.S. Women's 470 trials. These teams include the sisters Atlantic and Nora Brugman; Nikole Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss, and the twin sisters Carmen and Emma Cowles.

Competition is considerably less intense in the Men's 470 class, where Stu McNay and Dave Hughes enjoy a 33-point lead in the U.S. Men's 470 trials over rivals Lachlain and Declan McGranahan.

Likewise, Olympic veteran Farrah Hall enjoys a 34-point advantage in the U.S. Women's RS: X trials over Carolina Mendelblatt.

Things are less decisive in the U.S. Men's RS: X trials, where Pedro Pascual enjoys an eight-point lead over Geronimo Nores.

And in the Finn class, Luke Muller leads 2016 Finn Bronze medalist Caleb Paine in the U.S. Men's Finn trials. "I don't want them to be completely focused on each other, I want them to be focused on the improvements we have to make," said Carpenter in an official team communication about U.S. Men's Finn trials. "If we don't improve a lot in the trials process, it makes the final goal harder to reach."

While the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami isn't part of the U.S. Laser Radial trials, Erika Reineke is representing the USA at this high-level regatta. For Reineke, the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami is an important opportunity to speed check against her rivals going into the Laser Radial Worlds (February 21 to February 28), which is part of the U.S. Laser Radial Trials. Check out my recent interview with Reineke.

Sail-World wishes all athletes competing at the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami good luck this week.

Finally, as a small Department of Corrections item, I incorrectly cited Blake Island as one of the turning marks in the 2020 Duwamish Head Race in last week's newsletter. The correct name for this turning mark is Blakely Rocks. My apologies for any confusion this might have caused.

May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt

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