Today’s third and final round robbin series leading up to the final four race-off again had near perfect weather for the teams with a course set even further out in the Bay today, and again with light early morning breezes building out of the South combined with a strong ebbing currents made starts, lay lines and mark roundings critical for all competitors.
With 18 total flights in the round robbins run in the Boat U.S. Santa Maria Cup, there were some significant changes among the top-ranked women competitors on the leader board for the four finals slots. Sally Barkow (USA), who is still leading after another near perfect day, finally lost a match against Claire Leroy (FR) in the last flight of the day after beating Liz Baylis (USA) in their previous match moving Leroy into second and dropping Baylis down to third after loosing four and winning five of her final races. In fourth place is Christlle Philippe (FR). These four are paired for the finals that started at the end of the day before the wind started to drop and will conclude on Saturday for first and second place and petit finals for the third and fourth place finishers.
Barkow dominated all races again today, but unlike yesterday when she beat Leroy by almost a minute, the French skipper and crew had all bullets for the day and a spectacular final race against Barkow. Leroy got the start, but drew a penalty she would have to make up before the finish. She showed strong will and talent to hold off Barkow until the last few boat lengths under spinnaker, when the team executed a perfect jibe to her 360 penalty turn and reset her chute to finish a boat length ahead for the win. Bark ow still managed only one loss for the entire match.
The final results for the top four in the round robbin was Sally Barkow 17 wins and only 1 loss; Claire Leroy with 15 wins to 3 losses; Liz Baylis had 13 wins to 5 losses and Christelle Philippe had 11 wins against 7 losses.
Katie Spithill and Nicky Souter from Australia, Lorenza Mariani from Italy, and Liz Hjorth of the U.S. all put on a magnificent competition, but will have to sit out the finals and head home at the end of the day.
The racing conditions were lighter than day two and spectators and competitors alike enjoyed a great final day of racing before the finals. Among the spectator fleet were several of the large offshore yachts that were about to start the Annapolis to Newport race after cheering on their favorite women’s match teams. With one more day of competition among the top four on Saturday, the weather is expected to continue to offer excellent conditions with more winds out of the Southwest and possibly building with a chance of thundershowers.
A recap of the final results of the round robbins and the finals, plus photos and commentary can be found on the Boat U.S. Santa Maria Cup web site at http://www.santamariacup.org/.
Spectators will be able to view the competition on the Chesapeake Bay or tune their VHF radios to channel 78 for live commentary on the final races as they happen.