- The Team
- Amanda Clark
- Sarah Lihan
Team GO SAIL
Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, NY) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, FL) teamed up in February of 2011. They are the Olympic representatives for the United States of America in the Two Person Women 470 Class. Currently, they are ranked third in the world and are the 2012 World Cup Circuit champions. The 2012 Olympic Games will be Amanda's second Olympics and Sarah's first. Amanda and Sarah are focused on winning the Gold Medal. Racing will take place August 3rd to 10th in England.
Amanda and Sarah sail the International 470 (see diagram below.) They travel with their own boat and equipment which is shipped in fourty foot containers. The majority of the racing circuit takes place in Europe during the spring. They compete in eight to ten regattas a year. The team is on the road aproximatly two hundred and fifty days a year. A typical day includes weight lifting, boat preparation, campaign planning, followed by sailing and a debrief after practice.
|The International 470|
|Optimum Crew Weight:||110-145 kg|
|Designer:||André Cornu (FRA)|
|Length of waterline:||4.4m|
|Total Sail Area:||12.7m2|
|Spinnaker:||13m2||Source: Int. 470 Class Web Site|
Was born in 1982 and grew up on Shelter Island, NY. She started sailing at the Shelter Island Yacht Club at age 5 sailing in the Optimist Dinghy and joined the junior program at age 7. When she aged out of the Optimist class at age 15 Amanda immediately started racing in Olympic Class sailboats. With the help of her community and the Shelter Island Y.C. Amanda and her family began to raise the funds necessary to help her compete on the Olympic level. She chose to start her Olympic quest for 2000 in the single handed event, the Europe Dinghy. Amanda immediately made her mark in history by becoming the youngest female to qualify for the US Sailing Team at age 15. She learned valuable skills during this first Olympic Campaign and finished a respectable 3rd place at the Olympic Trials.
Still excited to learn more and to achieve her first goal of being an Olympian Amanda set out on her next Olympic Campaign, this time in the two person boat, the International 470. In 2002 Amanda joined forces with friend and standout athlete, Sarah Mergenthaler Chin. Together, they finished 2nd at the 2004 Olympic Trials, just barely missing out on the spot for the Olympic Team.
Amanda seized the opportunity after the 2004 campaign to finish her studies at Connecticut College. During her time at Conn. College Amanda also competed in college sailing, earning All American status. She graduated class ‘05 with a degree in Studio Art. Amanda was now truly ready to focus on her passion for sailing. Together with Sarah Chin, Amanda went on to lead the rankings in the US 470 class from 2005-2008. They brought their world ranking from 47th in 2005 to 5th in 2007. Primed for the 2007 Olympic Trials with 10 years of Olympic campaign under her belt, Amanda and Sarah went on to win the US Olympic Trials with a race to spare. Competing in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games was a truly memorable experience for Amanda. With a 12th place finish she had achieved a lifelong goal of competing in the Games but still had more fight to attain her ultimate goal of Olympic Champion.
In 2010 after a year away from Olympic Campaigning Amanda and Sarah Chin reunited to begin working on their goal of medaling in 2012. In an exciting year of sailing, which included wining the North Americans and Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta, Sarah’s passion for the Olympics was fading. Sarah made one of the hardest decisions of her life to step away from the team. Amanda, held fast to her personal commitment to the Olympics and pushed onward joining forces with Sarah Lihan of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. a gifted singlehanded sailor, ambitious for her own Olympic début.
Amanda and Sarah Lihan made a quick match and Lihan excelled in her new role as crew and tactician. The challenge for the team was to learn to sail together and be ready for the first Olympic Trials event in just 3 months - a challenge that quite possibly could have ended their hopes of making the 2012 team. Defying the odds Amanda and Sarah place just three places behind their US competition, putting themselves in a strong position for the next 6 months of training. The 2011 Olympic trails concluded at the World Championship in Perth, Australia. Amanda and Sarah Lihan upset the favored US team and on a tiebreaker won the US Olympic Trials giving them the spot on the 2012 Team. For Amanda this was one of the most meaningful victories in her career as a professional athlete, showing her maturity as a veteran Olympic campaigner.
Amanda is married and lives on Shelter Island. Her husband Greg Nissen runs a camp and retreat center on the island.
Born in 1988, Sarah Lihan grew up in sunny Fort Lauderdale, FL., where Sarah's parents enrolled her in Lauderdale Yacht Club's summer sailing program. There, she learned to right her Opti in the club swimming pool and discovered what would rapidly became her life's passion. After the Optimist, Sarah progressed to Lasers, a more suitable boat for her growth spurt, which topped out at 6'1". A successful junior and high school sailing resume combined with excellent grades brought her attentions to the Ivy League. Drawn by the steep traditions of the University and the legendary waters off the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club, Sarah applied early action to Yale in the fall of '05 and soon became a Bulldog. While completing her studies in Environmental Policy, Sarah helped her team win several national titles and she personally took home All American recognition her senior year.
Her Olympic ambitions began as a high school sophomore, when Sarah competed in the 2004 Olympic Trials, held in Ft. Lauderdale. In 2006 and 2007 she competed in the Olympic Pre-Trials and Trials. Both held in Newport, RI, these were pivotal moments in her path towards the Games. Sarah began to take her sailing to the next level– to not just race internationally, but to sail to win. Placing third at both events, she saw both how close she could be and just how much work and learning lay ahead. With her studies behind her for now, Sarah has devoted herself full-time to the pursuit of big waves, big breeze, and Olympic Gold in 2012.