Close racing in hot, shifty conditions through today’s final contests of the semi-final and five-match final rounds in the 20th annual BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup international women’s match-racing regatta produced a similar result to last year, with the French team skippered by Claire Leroy topping San Franciscan Genny Tulloch and her team 3-2 to retain Leroy’s title as champion for another year.

The regatta, which began Wednesday with the start of a double round-robin before the semi-final and final rounds, was sailed on the Chesapeake Bay out of Eastport Yacht Club by 10 of the world’s top-ranked female match racers in J/22s.

In the semi-final pairings, which were all tied up at the end of Friday’s racing, Tulloch and her crew, including Molly Carapiet, Katie Pettibone, and Jen Chamberlin, outfought Sally Barkow and her crew this morning, going on to win the series 3-2, while Leroy made short work of Floridian Anna Tunnicliffe and her team in just two more races to earn the spot to race Tulloch and defend her title.

The final series was a nail-biter, with Tulloch coming from behind in the second race to beat Leroy, and solidly in the lead throughout to win the fourth race, but Leroy and her team, including Elodie Bertrand, Marie Riou, and Claire Pruvot, were able to hold the challengers off for a second straight year and win the other three.

“We had a good regatta,” Leroy said. “We lost four in the round-robin, but they were very close so we knew we could win. And then in the semi-final we were against Anna Tunnicliffe, as always.”

Familiarity with her competition from racing here, in Europe, and in the Virgin Islands, helped boost Leroy’s confidence throughout the regatta as she faced off against women she has met – and defeated – in the past. 

“In the final, we were against Tulloch, as always,” Leroy said. “She did a really good job. She was very aggressive and it was a really tough day to beat her.”

Meantime, Tunnicliffe won the petit-final over Barkow 2-0 to take third place overall.

“Things were very challenging today,” said Principal Race Officer Sharon Hadsell. “It was light and shifty and they had a lot of tough decisions to make, but ultimately they all had to make the same decisions. It was very tactical with lots of shifts. All in all, it was a great regatta.”

The field of sailing talent at this year’s regatta was stellar, with seven of the world’s top-twenty ranked skippers – including five of the top ten – and top-notch crews in the fleet, including present and past Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year, Olympians, and world champions. Three of the semi-finalists are among the top contenders to represent the U.S. in the new women’s match-racing discipline at the 2012 Olympics, while defending champion Leroy, from Nantes, France, held the number-one international ranking spot for an unprecedented run of nearly five years before slipping to the number two spot in April.

On the bow for Leroy to again earn the Eleanor Ruth Wilcox Memorial Trophy was Claire Pruvot, while Tunnicliffe earned the Gay Lynn Memorial Trophy for the best performance by a first-time Santa Maria Cup competitor.

More information is available on the event website, 

BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup

Final Results
Claire Leroy (3-2) vs. Genny Tulloch (2-3)

Petit-Final Results
Anna Tunnicliffe (2-0) vs. Sally Barkow (0-2)

Semi-Final Results
Sally Barkow (2-3) vs. Genny Tulloch (3-2)
Anna Tunnicliffe (1-3) vs. Claire Leroy (3-1)

Double Round Robin Results

  1. Sally Barkow, USA (10), 16-2
  2. Anna Tunnicliffe, USA (6), 16-2
  3. Claire Leroy, FRA (2), 15-4
  4. Genny Tulloch, USA (11), 13-5
  5. Julie Bossard, FRA (8), 9-9
  6. Anne-Claire LeBerre, FRA (7), 9-9
  7. Juliana Senfft, BRA (19), 6-12
  8. Maegan Ruhlman, USA (48), 3-15
  9. Sarah Bury, CAN (67), 2-16
  10. Raquelhora Aimone, BRA (66), 0-18