Amanda Clark far ahead of competitors in first Olympic trial race

COURTESY FILE PHOTO | Amanda Clark at the tiller of a 470.

In the first two of several races that will continue through December 17, Shelter Island’s 2008 sailing Olympian Amanda Clark and her crew Sarah Lihan placed fifth Monday in trials off Perth, Australia.

What’s important for them is their American competitors in the quest to represent the U.S. in next summer’s Olympic games, Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar, placed 27th.

Ms. Maxwell later commented, “Our races today were pretty awful but you know the great thing about sail boat racing is that tomorrow is another day,” Maxwell said.

The winner of the US Olympic team spot in the women’s 470 category will be either Clark-Lihan or Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar: whichever team has the lowest combined overall placement determined by the races being sailed in Perth and previous Olympic trials held in June in Weymouth, England.

Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan placed 11th overall in that event while Ms. Maxwell and Ms. Kinsolving Farrar finished eighth. In case of a tie this coming week, the boat with the better finish in Australia will take the spot.

Prior to today’s race, Ms. Clark expressed confidence about the Perth showdown, saying that she and Ms. Lihan had beaten their nationally number-one ranked competitors in all three races in which they had sailed against them since June. Ms. Lihan was new this year as Ms. Clark’s crew; the Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar team has been together for years.

Their progress in this week’s trials can be tracked at