Nine athletes set to sail for Canada

TORONTO — The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Sail Canada named the nine athletes nominated to represent Team Canada in sailing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games from Aug. 5 to 21.

Oakville’s Lee Parkhill is setting sail for Rio. (Photo: Canadian Olympic Committee)

Oakville’s Lee Parkhill is setting sail for Rio. (Photo: Canadian Olympic Committee)

The nine include: Brenda Bowskill, Danielle Boyd, Nikola Girke, Lee Parkhill (Oakville, ON), Erin Rafuse, Luke Ramsay, Tom Ramshaw, as well as brothers Graeme Saunders and Jacob Saunders. The athletes earned their Rio spots at various World Cup and world championship events, highlighted by top-10 performances for Canadian sailors across several disciplines.

Parkhill, 27, has wanted to represent Canada since he competed at his first national championships in 2006. He achieved a career highlight in qualifying for TORONTO 2015, a true home Games for the sailor who trains out of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. It got even better when he won the Laser bronze medal at those Pan Am Games, which he followed up with a fifth place finish at the Rio 2016 test event.

This past June, Parkhill finished fourth at the World Cup event in Weymouth and Portland after posting second place finishes in the last two races. Parkhill previously had one of the best events of his career in November 2011 when he finished fifth at the Sail Melbourne International Regatta. But just a month later he had one of his worst events, which happened to be the ISAF World Championships and the first half of the Canadian trials for the 2012 Olympic team. Parkhill ended up ranked third of the Canadians in the field, making it all but impossible for him to earn the Olympic berth. He rebounded in 2012 by matching his best-ever world championship result, placing 16th.

Olympic sailing consists of an opening series of races that use a low-point scoring system. This includes 10-12 races that are scheduled across the different events. Athletes complete the predetermined courses around marker buoys with the goal of crossing the finish line ahead of their competitors. The final consists of one race, where the top-10 sailors in each event compete in a double-point medal race. The athlete or team with the lowest points at the end of the series wins the overall event.

The sailing competition will be based out the Marina da Gloria, with sailing courses situated in the waters of Guanabara Bay from Aug. 8-18. Canadians will compete in six events: men’s Laser, women’s Laser Radial, men’s Finn, men’s 470, women’s 49er FX and mixed Nacra 17.

At Rio 2016, Canada will field a team of more than 315 athletes.

Sail Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Yachting Association) is the national governing body for the sport of sailing. The Association promotes sailing in all its forms through collaboration with our partners, the Provincial Sailing Associations, member clubs, schools, and many individual stakeholders.

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