The O’Leary/Burrows pairing finished 5th overall in the Rolex US Sailing OCR at Biscayne Bay Miami today. In the light wind Medal Race they finished 4th to give them nine finishes in the top ten out of the eleven race series. This included two seconds, three thirds and fourth in the Medal Race and achieving all this in what was believed to be a borrowed boat, giving them some performance indeed.
Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil won the series followed by Xavier Rohart and Pierre Alexis Ponsot of France and Elvind Melleby and Petter Pedersen of Norway second and third respectively. Sweden’s Frederik Loof and Max Salminen took fourth position followed by O’Leary and Burrows in fitfh place.
Brazil’s two-time Olympic medalists and that country’s most successful and celebrated sailors, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, won the gold after finishing third in today’s medal race. “When you go into the medal race, many guys can win,” said Scheidt. “You cannot focus only on one guy, so our strategy was to try to make a clean start, especially with speed, because the wind was very light; that was more important than getting to the favored end.”
Sneaking into the top-three overall, where they had not been all week, was France’s Xavier Rohart/Pierre Alexis Ponso, who finished second today. The performance secured them the silver medal with just the edge they needed over the bronze medalists Eivind Melleby/ Petter Moerland Pedersen (NOR), who finished sixth today and also had been in third at racing’s end yesterday. Losing what seemed to be a sure podium position going into today was Fredrik Loof/Max Salminen’s (SWE), who finished eighth in the medal race and fell to fourth overall from second yesterday, only one point out of medal reach.
“The wind made a big shift to the left on the first beat,” said Scheidt, “but we weren’t there. We were trying to cover the Swedish, and then we were able to tack on them two times and bounce them to the right. Then the left paid big, and we managed to round sixth at the top mark. From then on our race was a little more comfortable, but we were still afraid of the French who were doing really well. We climbed to fourth, and they were in third; in the end, we nailed a third and the French got second.” Scheidt added that “all of the top teams here will be competing at the Olympics, and they will be stronger, so I think it was very nice for us to win the first regatta of the year. It gives us confidence but we know we have a long way to go until Weymouth.”
Annalise Murphy finished 10th in the Medal Race and a very encouraging 9th overall in the 60 boat Laser Radial fleet counting two firsts in her scoring.