Michigan sailor named to national sailing team — with Olympics potential

Walter Cooper photo

The 2016 Rio Olympics just got a home town face.

Katie Pettibone of Port Huron and her sailing partner Michael Easton of Bedford, MA have been named the number one Nacra 17 team for US Sailing.

Pettibone comes with plenty of sailing experience. She’s done three America’s Cups. First as a crew member on America 3, the first all-women’s America’s Cup team in 1995.

She did a second America’s Cup in 2000 with America True, with Harrison Township native Dawn Riley as CEO. Then she did a third America’s Cup in 2007 with the French team Arriva.

She’s also crewed in the 1997–98 Whitbread round the world race and the 2002–03 Volvo Ocean Race.

Here’s the US Sailing announcement:

Portsmouth, R.I. — With 500 days remaining until the start of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport, has named 42 Olympic and Paralympic class athletes to the 2015 US Sailing Team Sperry. The US national sailing team is selected annually and is comprised of the top sailors competing in the events selected for Rio 2016. Olympic class athletes qualified for the team at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain, and at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella, in January 2015. Paralympic class athletes qualified in Miami as well. Through the US Sailing Team Sperry and its sponsors, athletes on the Olympic and Paralympic path receive financial, logistical, coaching, technical, fitness, marketing and communications support.

“As we enter the third year in the Rio 2016 Olympic quad, the focus of our team on performing in Rio continues to intensify, ” said Josh Adams, Managing Director of US Olympic Sailing. “The athletes named to the US Sailing Team Sperry have worked hard to earn a place in the program, and we will do everything we can to support their podium ambitions. We are fortunate to operate this team at a high level thanks to the unyielding support of Sperry, our title sponsor, Gold Sponsor Sunbrella, Silver partners Harken, McLube and Groupe Beneteau, team supplier Yale Cordage, sponsors Chubb Insurance and the Gowrie Group, and finally our immensely supportive Olympic Medalist donors.”

Fifteen athletes have also been named to the 2015 US Sailing Development Team (USSDT), the pathway team supported by the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program and US Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC). The USSDT was created in 2007 to help athletes who have been identified as Olympic prospects launch successful campaigns and compete at the Olympic level.

“Supporting sailors on the Olympic pathway is a major focus of our program,” said Adams. “Our talent pipeline continues to improve as sailors graduate out of high-performance youth classes, and we are excited to see improving depth in our Olympic classes.”

Sailors were selected for the USSDT by competing in the Olympic Class events at the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella. Additional members of the USSDT will be named at the US Youth Sailing Championship (July 6–10, 2015), and will include the sailors who have qualified for US Sailing’s ISAF Youth World Championship Team.

Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (Women’s 470) racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella. Photo above and top photo by Jen Edney/US Sailing.

US SAILING TEAM SPERRY: 2015 ROSTER

(USSDT sailors denoted as 3rd-ranked boat in each Olympic class)

2.4mR (Paralympic One-Person Keelboat)

  1. John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wisc.)
  2. Charles Rosenfield (Woodstock, Ct.)

Men’s 470 (Men’s Two-Person Dinghy):

  1. Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.)
  2. Jordan Factor (Burlington, Vt.) and Matthew Wefer (Glen Head, N.Y.)
  3. USSDT: Russell Clarida (Southport, Ct.) and Ian Robinson (Miami, Fla.)

Women’s 470 (Women’s Two-Person Dinghy):

  1. Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)
  2. Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Carly Shevitz (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
  3. USSDT: Alexia Fischer (Seattle, Wash.) and Georgia Lomax (Seattle, Wash.)

49er (Men’s Two-Person High Performance Skiff):

  1. Brad Funk (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)
  2. David Liebenberg (Livermore, Calif.) and Daniel Morris (San Francisco, Calif.)
  3. USSDT: Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Michael Kuschner (Gloucester Pt., Va.)

49erFX (Women’s Two-Person High Performance Skiff):

  1. Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.)
  2. Debbie Capozzi (Blue Point, N.Y.) and Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.)
  3. USSDT: Emily Dellenbaugh (Easton, Conn.) and Elizabeth Barry (Riverside, Conn.)

Finn (Men’s One-Person Heavyweight Dinghy):

  1. Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)
  2. Philip Toth (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  3. USSDT: Luke Muller (Ft. Pierce, Fla.)

Laser (Men’s One-Person Dinghy):

  1. Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)
  2. Chris Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.)
  3. USSDT: Erik Bowers (Excelsior, Minn.)

Laser Radial (Women’s One-Person Dinghy):

  1. Erika Reineke (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
  2. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.)
  3. USSDT: Haddon Hughes (Houston, Texas)

Nacra 17 (Mixed Two-Person Multihull):

  1. Michael Easton (Bedford, Mass.) and Katie Pettibone (Port Huron, Mich.)
  2. Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and Matthew Whitehead (Panama City, Fla.)
  3. USSDT: Jeremy Wilmot (Newport, R.I.) and Louisa Chafee (Warwick, R.I.)

Men’s RS:X (Men’s Windsurfer):

  1. Carson Crain (Houston, Texas)
  2. Raul Lopez (Miami, Fla.)
  3. USSDT: Ben Barger (Tampa, Fla.)

Women’s RS:X (Women’s Windsurfer):

  1. Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.)
  2. Marion Lepert (Belmont, Calif.)
  3. USSDT: Solvig Sayre (Vineyard Haven, Mass.)

SKUD-18 (Paralympic Two-Person Keelboat):

  1. Sarah Everhart-Skeels (Tiverton, R.I.) and Cindy Walker (Plymouth, Mass.)
  2. Ryan Porteous (Pacific Beach, Calif.) and Maureen McKinnon (Marblehead, Mass.)

Sonar (Paralympic Three-Person Keelboat):

  1. Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Brad Kendell (Tampa, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Maine)
  2. Andrew Fisher (Greenwich, Conn.), Daniel Evans (Miami, Fla.) and Tom Brown (Castine, Maine)

Charlie Buckingham (Laser) racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella. Photo: Jen Edney/US Sailing.

The US Sailing Team Sperry began 2015 with sailors achieving top-10 performances in five Olympic classes at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella. This event, which has been North America’s premier Olympic and Paralympic classes regatta for over 25 years, also served as the final selection regatta for the 2015 US Sailing Team Sperry. Over 140 American sailors competed at the event, and were eligible for selection to the national team. This impressive field included five members of the 2014 team who were finalists for US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards, including Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif., Laser), Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc., Women’s 470), Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., Laser Radial), Erika Reineke (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Laser Radial) and Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I. Men’s 470).

A training injury prevented 2012 Olympian, world champion and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) from competing at the 2014 World Championships, but Railey came back strong at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella, taking 4th place overall and decisively winning the medal race. Railey looks to continue competing at an elite level in 2015 as she mounts her third Olympic campaign.

Erika Reineke (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) has also emerged as a formidable competitor in the Laser Radial. Reineke had a strong year in 2014 with a 6th place showing at the Rio Olympic Test Event and was the top American at the World Championships. The Laser Radial youth world champion and three-time collegiate national champion looks to continue building momentum in 2015.

The veteran men’s 470 team of Stu McNay and David Hughes (San Diego, Calif.) have had continuous success since pairing up in 2013. The past year of racing saw McNay and Hughes make the medal race at each major international 470 regatta, and take home four medals, including bronze at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi. Their 5th place finish at the ISAF Worlds in Santander was the best result by a US men’s 470 team in 14 years.

In the Women’s 470, Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and crew Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) have proven themselves to be among the world’s fastest after consistently challenging for podium spots at major events. The pair’s highlights to date include medaling at ISAF Sailing World Cup events in Spain, France and the US, and finishing 7th at last year’s Worlds.

Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) continues to lead the US Finn fleet in results, and enjoyed a career year in 2014. The Southern California native won a bronze medal at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, and finished 7th at the ISAF Worlds in Santander. Paine is an ISAF Sailing World Cup series champion, having taken the overall title in 2012.

In the men’s Laser, Charlie Buckingham has seen his international results steadily improve since starting his full-time Olympic campaign in 2011. The two-time ICSA College Sailor of the Year was 7th overall at the ISAF Worlds in Santander, and earned a spot at the ISAF World Cup Final in 2014. Chris Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.) proved he can race with the best at the 2014 Worlds, finishing 15th in the 147-boat fleet. The high school, college and national team teammates have formed the core of a resurgent US men’s laser squad.

In the Paralympic classes, the US Sailing Team Sperry enjoys significant depth in both talent and experience. In the Sonar, disabled world champion Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), and crew Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Maine) and Brad Kendell (Tampa, Fla.) took silver at the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella, and are capable of winning any international event they enter. Joining them on the national team is a new but highly capable boat skippered by Andrew Fisher (Greenwich, Conn.), and crewed by United States Marine Corps veteran and national team regular Daniel Evans (Miami, Fla.) and 2004 Paralympic medalist Tom Brown (Castine, Maine.)

The US Sailing Team Sperry 2.4mR fleet is anchored by 2008 Paralympic medalist and 2.4mR Open World Champion John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wisc.), and longtime team member Charlie Rosenfield (Woodstock, Conn.). In the SKUD-18, the US fields two boats, with Sarah Everhart-Skeels (Tiverton, R.I.) and Cindy Walker (Middletown, R.I.) forming an all-New England unit, and with Ryan Porteous (San Diego, Calif.) competing with 2008 Paralympic gold medalist Maureen McKinnon (Marblehead, Mass.)

- See more at: http://www.ussailing.org/athletes-named-to-2015-us-sailing-team-sperry-and-development-team/#sthash.0o4f8wpf.dpuf

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