Huntington sailor Erik Storck's Olympic hopes are as fickle as the tide -- nearly quashed after a disastrous two races Thursday, and then reborn following Team USA's strong finish in the first day's race in the men's 49er class Friday in Weymouth, England.
Storck, along with crew member Trevor Moore, rebounded after finishes of 20th and 18th Thursday to come in second, 17th and fifth of 20 teams in their three races on Day 6 of the tournament. The Americans jumped from 12th overall to 10th, with the top 10 teams advancing to the medal round Wednesday.
Since points are cumulative, Storck and Moore can't afford just to maintain their spot in the final four matches of the 15-series regatta, but rather, must exceed expectations to have any substantial chance at earning a medal.
They did just that in Race 9 Friday, which they led after the first two marks before losing ground to Finland, which eventually earned the top spot, coming in at 31:10, 10 seconds ahead of the Americans. Race 10 was marked by the same unevenness that has plagued Team USA from the beginning -- a slow start, followed by a steady drop that put them 2:05 behind first-place Germany (33:10).
Storck and Moore came in at 32:52 in Race 11, with New Zealand taking first in 31:53. Australia still leads overall, with 42 points, trailed by New Zealand with 51. The Americans have 95.
Shelter Island's Amanda Clark had a strong start in the first race of the women's 470 two-person dinghy. She and partner Sarah Lihan are fourth overall after finishing seventh and third in the first two races of the 10-race series, which concludes with a medal round next Friday.
"It was definitely still," Lihan said of the conditions, adding that the team had to battle winds as low as 10 knots. "The chop was really, really brutal out there. We were focusing a lot of our energies on keeping the boat moving fast."
Added Clark: "It's great to start out in the top and we'll work hard to stay there."
Team USA came in at 65:21 in Race 1, 3:20 behind first-place Netherlands, but finished Race 2 in 61:56. Great Britain won that race in 60:50 and leads the overall standings with seven points. Team USA has 10.