In the end, P. Railey showed her veteran mettle by finishing 14th at the ILCA Women’s Laser Radial World Championships on Friday in Melbourne, Australia. The competition was tight among the U.S. teams, and the conditions were challenging due to the proximity of Port Phillip Bay.
As a result of that and her 12th-place performance at last year’s world championships, she qualified to compete in the Olympic Games for the third time in a row in the one-person dinghy category of Laser Radial.
P. Railey Olympic Career
Clearwater, Florida native P. Railey, 32, was one of three Americans vying for the Olympic berth heading into this week’s competition. The top rated sailors were determined by averaging their results from the 2019 and 2020 world championships; the lowest combined score qualified them for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
A year after finishing ninth, Charlotte Rose entered Australia as the favourite, ahead of P. Railey (12th) and Erika Reineke (21st). During the three days of fleet sailing in Melbourne, the rivalry was fiercer than ever, with Reineke and P. Railey at one point tied for first and Rose in second.
P. Railey, on the other hand, was able to pull ahead and secure the Olympic berth with a steady effort on the final day of competition, finishing in 14th place, while Reineke placed 26th and Rose came in 36th.
At the Tokyo Games, Railey will Achieve Yet Another First in a Long List of Firsts throughout her Career.
To follow in the footsteps of her older brother Zach, who won two Olympic medals and a silver medal in Finn in 2008, P. Railey became a household name in 2005 when she won a world title at the age of just sixteen.
Even though she was almost edged out of a spot in the Beijing Olympics by the eventual victor, P. Railey made her Olympic debut four years later in London and finished eighth. P. Railey placed second at the 2016 World Championships after recovering from a devastating training accident in 2014. She placed tenth at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
She has now returned in a new and effective manner. After taking some time off after the Rio Games to become an insurance agent, P. Railey returned in 2018 to place sixth at the world championships.
It was her eighth top-10 finish in a global championship. She also took home bronze in the global championships in France that year and silver at the 2019 World Cup in Miami.
While P. Railey was the most decorated sailor in the class at the world championships after winning silver in 2016, the Netherlands’ Marit Bouwmeester, who won Friday, has since surpassed her.