Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Olympic Sailing History - A Family Affair

Out at Oak Orchard, not unlike many other places were club sailing takes place, sailboat racing is also part of family time. Sailing is a sport, or recreation that is uniquely suited to allow a wide range of people, from almost any age group to sail around the buoys, or just sail  two miles out and two miles back as some people prefer.

Olympic history holds evidence that, in fact sailing is very much a family sport with some interesting firsts. One has to go back to Count Hermann de Pourtales of Switzerland, in the 1900 Olympic games for evidence. He was the oldest sailor in the games at 53. Sailing alongside was his wife, Helene de Pourtales at 33, the oldest woman in any of the 1900 Olympic sports. Helene became the first female Olympic medalist when Lerina (pictured below) crossed the line in a corrected time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 32 seconds in Race 1 of the 1-2 Ton Class. The wife and husband sailing duo were also joined by their nephew Bernard and they added a silver medal to their collection in Race 2 after they finished behind the German boat Aschenbradel.
Resource: http://www.sailing.org/17516.php

Lerina - 1900 Olympic games
This feat would be repeated by the British couple eight years later in the 7 Meter division. The skipper was Charles James Rivett-Carnac who, at the age of 55 in 1908, remains the oldest Briton to have won an Olympic gold medal in sailing. His wife, Frances Rivett-Carnac, was one of the crew, and became the first British woman to win an Olympic gold medal at sailing.
Resource: http://propercourse.blogspot.com/2012/04/sail-over.html

7 Meter - Bluebird
Father and son Paul and Hilary Smart won a gold medal for the U.S. in 1948, sailing in the Star class. It’s a family feat not since repeated, in any sport, summer or winter.
Resource: http://startsailingnow.com/ and  http://savingsailing.com/2012/04/03/unlike-any-other-sport/

Paul and Hilary Smart

Fast forward to 2012 with brother and sister, Zach and Paige Railey from Clearwater, Fla., birthplace of the Optimist dinghy: "We were pretty much those tan little hippie babies with bleach-blond hair running around with their mom down at the beach," Paige Railey said. "It just seemed like a natural thing for us to go into a sport that was associated with the water. Our whole life was based around the water." When Zach was 8, their family dentist suggested that his mother, Ann, enroll him in a summer sailing program. Three years later, it was Paige's turn. They both fell in love with the sport and began winning regattas.
Resource: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/sailing-siblings-zach-paige-railey-191026792--oly.html

Zach (Finn) and Paige Railey (Laser Radials)

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