08/06/12 10:00am

COURTESY PHOTO | Shelter Island’s own Amanda Clark, background, is now through six of 10 races in the 2012 Olympics.

Despite a disappointing day in the Women’s 470 Olympic competition Sunday, Shelter Islander Amanda Clark and her crew, Sarah Lihan, want fans to know they’re still in the game and optimistic about making the medal race on Friday.

The sailing duo, which goes by the name Team Go Sail, dropped from fourth place overall to eighth place based on their 19th and 20th place finishes in races five and six Sunday. After a day off today, they will resume their quest to reach the medal race with two more races Tuesday.

“[Team Go Sail] had a rough day yesterday but we are taking the lay day to get our heads straight to fight through til the end,” they wrote on their Facebook page Monday. “Four more races and a medal race, we are very much still in this. Game on.”

In an interview with Dana Paxton, a spokesperson for the U.S. Sailing Team, the pair said there was “dying breeze” on the North Course that created very difficult conditions and forced the sailing committee to change the length of the course.

“It wasn’t conditions that suit their powerful sailing,” Ms. Paxton said.

Ms. Lihan elaborated further.

“The first race was in decent pressure, but it was dying the whole way through,” Ms. Lihan told Ms. Paxton. “We had a game plan to go left. There was a big cloud on the right side that we thought was going to kill the breeze. We got a persistent righty with more pressure than we had on the left side. We executed our game plan, but unfortunately it was incorrect. That put us back. It was difficult to gain places back the rest of the race because as the breeze died, there weren’t any lanes to pass. It wasn’t a speed issue, there just weren’t any lanes and not tactical gain to get around. And they shortened the course.”

Ms. Clark told Ms. Paxton that the day off Monday should help the sailors regroup.

“We are lucky to have some time to decompress,” Ms. Clark said. “We are going to have more of these days with four-lap races and on the Harbour Course, we have to change gears and get back on track. I believe we are capable of doing it and I don’t see today as foreshadowing of how the rest of the event will go.”

The 10-race series concludes with races 9 and 10 on Wednesday.

The team must be in the top 10 of the event standings after Race 10 Wednesday to qualify for the medal race on Friday.

Team Go Sail is nine points ahead of 11th place Japan, currently the top team out of the medal race. The Americans are now 20 points behind third place the Netherlands for the bronze position.

In Olympic sailing, points are awarded based on how you finish. Finish first, you’re awarded one point. Come in second, you score two points, etc. Each team’s worse race is thrown out before the medal round. The team with the lowest point total at the end of the medal race, when points double, is the winner.

Races can be viewed live at www.nbcolympics.com and results will be posted as soon as they’re available at www.sireporter.com.

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08/03/12 10:10am

FACEBOOK PHOTO | Amanda Clark (right) and Sarah Lihan in Olympic waters Friday.

Shelter Islander Amanda Clark and her racing partner Sarah Lihan are in a fourth-place tie following their first two Olympic Women’s 470 sailing races this morning off the coast of Weymouth, England.

The U.S. sailors are tied with the Netherlands, one point behind Israel and New Zealand, who are tied for second place. Host nation Great Britain leads the way.

Team Go Sail was 3 minutes, 20 seconds behind first-place the Netherlands, which was followed by New Zealand and Israel in the first race.

Team Go Sail then placed third in the second race.

They were 1 minute, 6 seconds behind the first-place team from Great Britain. A German team was in second place.

The women are slated to sail twice a day today, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then the top 10 teams will compete in the medal race next Friday morning.

You can watch the races at www.nbcolympics.com

Visit the Shelter Island website at sireporter.com for results throughout the week.

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07/28/12 9:00am

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Islanders gathered at the Chequit Friday night to watch the Opening Ceremony of the the London Olympics.

With about a week still to go before Shelter Island’s own Amanda Clark begins her Olympics competition in London, some of her family remains on the Island.

That gave Islanders the rare thrill of having the opportunity to watch the Opening Ceremony with the husband and sister of an Olympian, as dozens of Island folk headed to the Chequit Friday night to watch the festivities.

Amanda’s husband, Greg Nissen, is fourth from left of the green pillar in the photo above. He’s standing to the right of his sister-in-law, Rebecca Clark, Amanda’s sister. They will both travel to London for the Olympics later this week.

Amanda’s parents watched the Opening Ceremony live from Olympic Stadium in London. Her mother, Ellen Clark, tweeted Thursday that she met NBC “Today” host Matt Lauer, who mentioned that he was already aware of Amanda since he owns a home nearby.

Check out that tweet and a compilation of other recent social media posts about Amanda below:

[View the story “Social media posts on Island Olympian Amanda Clark” on Storify]
07/27/12 7:30pm

PHOTO VIA FACEBOOK | Amanda Clark, left, and crew Sarah Lihan at the Olympic Opening Ceremony in London.

Although it now appears unlikely that a news crew from WNBC will be at the Chequit Inn tonight to watch Shelter Islanders cheer on Olympic sailor Amanda Clark, many Islanders, including Ms. Clark’s husband Greg Nissen are expected at the Chequit.

WNBC had originally inquired about reporting from the Chequit on the hometown crowd tonight, but a high level spokesman told the Reporter that now seems very unlikely. For those not at the Chequit who want to tune in tonight, Channel 4 will carry the opening ceremony beginning at 7:30 p.m. The ceremony, which began at 4 p.m. EST, is airing on tape delay.

Islanders have been actively following qualifying races in the past several months that not only put Ms. Clark and her sailing partner Sarah Lihan on the U.S. Sailing Team, but gave every indication that they could well earn Team Go Sail a place on the podium at the 2012 London Olympics in the Women’s 470 races. Just last month, the women took home a silver medal in the Skandia Sail for Gold World Cup regatta off the coast of Weymouth, England, the same venue where their Olympic competition takes place next week. In that competition, Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan actually took first place in the final-day medal race to put themselves in second place in the overall competition. Many of those competing in Weymouth in June will be the same competitors they’ll face in the Olympics.

The sailing competition begins for the pair on Friday, Aug. 3 and continues through Friday, Aug. 10, when the medal race is scheduled for those top sailing teams that have emerged from the pack during the previous week.

[Click here for an NBC profile of Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan]

Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan have been in Weymouth preparing for their races, but were to travel to London today for the opening ceremonies before continuing their preparation for next week’s races.

Greg Nissen, Ms. Clark’s husband, won’t be able to join her until Aug. 6 because his duties as director of Camp Quinipet require his presence here through Aug. 5, he said. But he’s looking forward to joining friends and neighbors at the Chequit.

“The opening ceremonies will be a beautiful and big thing, one of those incredible patriotic moments, to see Amanda fulfilling her dream,” he said in a telephone interview this morning.

He plans to be in England for several days that would include the medal ceremony on Aug. 10. While he said he’s not superstitious, in deference to his wife — “sailors are terribly superstitious,” he said — he hesitates to predict that Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan will be on that podium.

“I don’t want to jinx anything,” Mr. Nissen said.

While this will be Ms. Clark’s final run as an Olympic sailor, Mr. Nissen said he’s sure she will continue to be involved with the U.S. Sailing Team in the future, helping others to do fundraising and sharing her expertise that comes from two Olympic experiences. Ms. Clark competed with her previous crew, Sarah Chin, at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 where the team placed 12th.

While it’s somewhat melancholy to know this is Ms. Clark’s final Olympic run, Mr. Nissen admitted he won’t miss the fundraising.

It costs about $400,000 to mount an Olympic campaign, including travel and equipment for all the races that lead up to the final races.

A lot of that funding has come from a very generous community that has supported Team Go Sail, Mr. Nissen said. But when there’s a shortfall, he reverts to his own credit card.

“I won’t miss that,” he said. “We’re happy at living very modestly,” but not having the financial pressures will be a welcome relief, he said.

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03/17/12 2:00pm

Supporters will gather in Greenport Saturday to meet Olympians Amanda Clark of Shelter Island and her sailing partner Sarah Lihan of Florida, who will be competing in the women’s 470 boat races in the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

The fundraiser at Hanff’s Boatyard at 190 Sterling Street will feature a video of the sailors in competition. Both women will be on hand to talk about their experiences and answer questions.

For Ms. Clark, this will be her second Olympic competition. She competed with partner Sarah Chin in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, where the pair placed 12th. In 2004, she was an Olympic sailing team alternate.

This year, Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan are ranked sixth in the world by the International Sailing Federation.

Saturday’s event will feature food prepared by Chef Dan Mannix and beer and wine provided by Greenport Harbor Brewery, Macari, Pindar and Old Fields vineyards and Clovis Point and Peconic Bay wineries.

Three East End sailing charters will be auctioned to benefit the Clark-Lihan pair known as “Team GoSail.”

Organizers of the event are Ms. Clark’s parents, Ellen and Dennis Clark; Chef Mannix; Pat Mundus; Costello Marine; Nancy Morrow; and Wooden Boatworks.

Tax deductible contributions of $100 can be made at the door on Saturday. The event is slated from 3 to 6 p.m.

Supporters unable to attend who wish to make a contribution should call Ms. Clark’s husband, Greg Nissen, at 749-5444.