PALMA DE MAJORCA, SPAIN – Despite all the Volvo Ocean Race news this week, (and, yes, Vestas 11th Hour Racing has finally left the Falklands for Itajaí) your Ed. has been keeping an eye on the major Olympic Classes regatta in Spain, the kick-off to what many call the "European Season" of Olympic Classes events, to see how the US SAILING Team was doing.
Congrats to Chris Barnard (USA), of Newport Harbor Yacht Club and the Georgetown University Sailing Team. He has had a good week in Spain, and went into today's finale – the double-points Medal Race – in 4th place with a shot at the podium.
This was the first major event where Chris got to the Medal Race, having been the North American Laser champ three times in recent years and the top-finishing American for the past three Laser Worlds. He is an "acting member" (whatever that means?) of the US Sailing Team, or so says his website.
After today's medal race, Chris wrote on his Facebook page, "Long day of waiting on final day... ultimately got off the medal race in light, shifty sea breeze in a race full of snakes and ladders. Scrambled hard to finish 5th in the race and take 4th overall....great way to start off European season."
Mr Barnard was the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal performance by the US Sailing Team. The only other American team in the 10 of their class were the veterans Stuart McNay and David Hughes who finished 10th in the 470 Class.
Full Trofeo Princesa Sofía regatta results here.
Great shot from Chris Barnard's Facebook page, otherwise unattributed, with Chris on his Laser in January of this year.