France’s Claire Leroy, the top-rated women’s match racer in the world for the past five years, captured the 2009 BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup on Saturday. Leroy had set winning this event as a personal goal having been unsuccessful in 3 previous attempts. Leroy noted that she was proud of her team which faced stiff competition from Genny Tulloch and Liz Baylis of the USA and Australia’s Katie Spithill.
Four days of light winds produced challenging conditions for the racers and forced Eastport Yacht Club’s race committee to revise the regatta plan by eliminating a second set of round-robin races. This placed a premium on each of the 9 races conducted over the event. Final positions were not determined until Saturday morning when the last flight of the round robin series was concluded. Leroy dominated the event with 8 wins out of nine races in the round robin series. Second, third and fourth places were not settled until Spithill defeated Italy’s Lorenza Mariani and Tulloch outfought Baylis to put her in second position.
After several attempts by the race committee to set a fair course for a semi-final series that matched Leroy vs. Baylis and Spithill vs. Tulloch, the Leroy/Baylis race saw two postponements after they has entered the starting area and were battling for a winning start. On the third attempt a race got underway, but wind shifts of 180 degrees made the match a test of the team’s sailing skills with the lead changing hands four times. Leroy ultimately won that race. The Spithill/Tulloch race was not started due to the wind conditions.
Ultimately, the Organizing Authority for the race was faced with a time deadline and moved into a final series of races. Leroy and Tulloch were matched for the top two spots, with the first to have two wins earning the championship. Leroy swept the first two races to win the crown. In their second race, Tulloch drew two penalties. She later joked that she was trying for a record number for a single match race.
Spithill/Baylis faced a single elimination race for the 3rd spot, with Spithill taking the race by 5 boat lengths.
Despite the challenging, and sometimes frustrating conditions, participants expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the race committee. Champion Leroy has vowed to return next year to defend her title.
BoatU.S. – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 600,000 members with government representation, programs and money saving services. For membership information visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.
About Eastport Yacht Club
Located on the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland, Eastport Yacht Club is a small 600 member club dedicated to boating and racing. The club has gained a strong international reputation for conducting sailing regattas. More information is available at Eastportyc.org.
For more information, please contact Clare Vanderbeek at 410.507.5025