Port of Shona, Japan, here we come.
Long Beach sailor Riley Gibbs has qualified for Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
The American team will be bringing home a total of seven medals. Riley Gibbs and his teammate Anna Weis clinched a gold medal in the Nacra 17 fleet.
After establishing a strong lead earlier this week, Gibbs and Weis focused on keeping their final race, in upwards of 25 knots of wind, sailing conservatively.
“We didn’t need to win the race to get the gold, so we wanted to sail a good, low-risk race,” Weis said.
Their strategy paid off. The pair sailed a clean race in the extreme breeze and finished second in the Medal Race, clinching the gold medal and officially earning country qualification.
Gibbs noted his gratitude for their competitors, “The Brazilians and Argentineans put up such a good fight the whole week. It was even kind of nerve-wracking heading into today, a little bit of a sleepless night, but hats off to them, because they were pushing us the whole time.”
Now that the pair has won Gold, their sights are already turned to their next endeavor.
“I thought it was kind of funny, straight after the medal ceremony, we went back to de-rigging the boat, like nothing really happened,” Gibbs said. “It’s another stepping stone, and we’re already looking ahead to trying our best at the Olympic Test Event in Japan and putting it all out there.”
My personal experience with Riley has always put him in an Olympic category. A few months ago, while he was competing with SailGP in San Francisco, I was scheduled to interview him. The PR team had advised me that the base in Alameda was hard to find and they were hesitant to give me an address because others using it ended up on the wrong side of a channel. They advised me to “just get close and we will talk you in, the entrance is hard to find and not labeled.”
Frustrated, I boldly texted Gibbs directly, who I knew was extremely busy, and asked for the base location. Within seconds Gibbs texted a GPS pin location that included latitude and longitude. I entered it in the Uber request, and before you could say “Gibbs is Gold,” I was dropped off at the base entrance.
Gibbs is an impressive foiling kite boarder who is often practicing in local waters and known for his infectious smile as he flies past boats in Long Beach harbor.
I’m already checking out Air BnBs near Enoshina Yacht Harbor and airfare to Toyko to watch Gibbs make Long Beach proud.
Cal 20 Champs
Alamitos Bay YC teams dominated in the Cal 20 Championships hosted by King Harbor YC — Chuck Clay and Pat McCormick took top honors with Jeff Ives and Phil Soma taking second in a field of 23.
Long Beach Yacht Club’s Dustin Durant locked in his place at the U.S. Match Racing Championship Finals at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco this coming October by taking top honors in the qualifying event presented by U.S. Sailing in conjunction with LBYC.
The 31-year-old skipper shared the win with Shane Young on main, Neil Rietdyk and Wes Bryne on trim, Jack Bazz in the pit and Ian Paice on the bow. This qualifier event was sailed in Long Beach Sailing Foundation’s fleet of identical Catalina 37 sailboats.
This was Trent Turigliatto’s debut as skipper on the Catalina 37. Turigliatto, also representing LBYC, where he spent the summer as a sailing coach, topped the three-way tie for third with three wins and five losses. The 18-year-old University of Miami student sailed with a crew of university students and 11-year-old Nicky Lech.