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Sailing

Clearwater's Railey wins world championship

By DAVE ELLIS
Published July 27, 2005


Paige Railey, 18, captured the International Sailing Federation junior single-handed world title.

No one has won the championship more than once. Clearwater's Railey had claimed the 2002 crown and 2003 bronze medal. The Olympic Laser Radial was the boat used for the single-handed girls. Each year, the competition is at a different venue, often in Europe. The sailing this season was on a bay near Busan, Korea. It is the same city that was called Pusan by United Nations troops during the Korean Conflict 50 years ago. It's a bustling area today.

Railey reported that the racing was in light air. The right side of the course was favored, and most everybody knew it.

To do well, the sailors had to begin at the Race Committee boat end of the starting line and quickly go to port tack. Often, the competitor who judged the next tack to make the windward mark correctly was the leader. With the pressure to start well and be able to tack soon thereafter, it was easy to find one's self over the starting line before the starting gun.

The representative from China was light and small and may have given more competition except for two races in which she jumped the gun. She had to use both as her throw-outs in the series. Railey had one OCS (early start) but was able to discard a 13th in one light-air heat. On the penultimate day of racing, she had a five-point lead over the Chinese girl and a considerable margin against the rest of the fleet. It was a nervous night.

There had been fog on the course for a number of days. The double-handed fleets were not able to compete on a day the Laser Radials groped their way around the layout with little visibility. When the last day dawned with pea-soup fog, racing was canceled and there were whoops of joy from the USA camp.

Railey was given hearty congratulations and the obligatory toss into the cold water. Then, while competitors got ready for the evening's prize-giving and banquets, Railey went to the gym for her usual workout.

It may not have made much difference in the strength department but received so much international press that it served notice, perhaps unwittingly, to her future Olympic competition that she's one serious sailor.

VINOY MARINA PROGRESS: When the wind blows long and hard enough from just south of a easterly direction, waves pile into the Vinoy Basin, ricochet off the north sea wall, bounce to the west wall, then set up a washing machine of turbulence in the oval body of water.

The damage from the recent storm was significant to the Vinoy Resort Marina's floating concrete docks. But three of the four docks appear to have been repaired, with just some tweaking left to be done. Vessels are returning to the sections, and the dock nearest the entrance will be tackled last.

Sailors are watching the progress with interest since the marina is the venue for the Nov. 3-6 Strictly Sail Boat Show. It looks like all will be ready for the popular event.

Old-timers have known that the North Mole, as it was called, has an inherent problem. The basin remained undeveloped while the middle and south moles became the largest municipal marina in the southeast.

In the 1940s, the Sunshine City Boat Club asked for a piece of land between the Spa pool and the public rest room at the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier. The city was not receptive, so the organization pulled a dock to the location on a dark night.

Eventually, a lease for a dollar a year was granted. The reason for the choice of that corner was that it is the only spot that isn't blasted by wave action.

In 1964, the Bounty was given that spot by those who knew the wave problem. Other areas can be rough for those at anchor, with poor, muddy holding ground making for long nights.

When the Vinoy marina was first proposed, its officials suggested a breakwater to alleviate the problem. It didn't happen.

[Last modified July 27, 2005, 01:04:17]


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