After a great week of sailing (and enjoying!) St. Thomas, and some very, very close racing, our team of Genny Tulloch, Jenn Chamberlin, Alice Manard, and Liz Hall took the Championship for the Carlos Aguilar Match Race, Women’s division! We truly ‘got our money’s worth’, as after two round robins our racing went to all 5 races with Sally Barkow in the semis, and all 3 against Lucy Macgregor in the finals. Happily for us, we came away winning both! Having gotten an early lead against Sally’s team 2-0 on Saturday, we fell to being slightly early leading back to the start on the first two races on Sunday, giving them the favored pin end as we had to tack away to not be over the start line. We regrouped for the do-or-die last race, had a better start and were able to maintain a close lead from the top weather mark all the way to the finish.
Then it was all on with Lucy Macgregor and her team from Great Britain–who just won the World Championships in September, and are ranked 2nd in the world. We had a hard fought first upwind and downwind in the first race, rounding the leeward mark overlapped, and were just able to get enough separation inside that we could hold them to the wall and then leebow when they were forced to tack at the wall (right in front of the spectator bleachers!). We sent them back to the wall a couple times, gaining a few boatlengths before the top mark to give an easier downwind to lead to the finish. The second race Lucy’s team lead around the course, which lead to another do-or-die final race, this time for the title! We drew a penalty against Lucy in the prestart, but then got pinned out to the right side of the course and they were able to pick the layline to the top mark. Then unfortunately we fouled at the weather mark when we thought they were tacking and we tried to go in on starboard, then a big right shift meant we were actually just taking room that we didnt have! We got a red flag penalty, which meant we had to do our turn immediately while she set and sailed downwind (but her penalty was still in place). She gybed and sailed into a hole, we set straight but also didnt have much breeze, and when both sides filled we rounded the leeward mark overlapped again. We were just able to get bow out enough in the tack to lead to the right shift and get ahead, gaining some distance on the next couple tacks and leading to the finish, with a penalty still on their team. Thrilling finish to the regatta and the year!
We had a wonderful week in St. Thomas, and would like to especially thank Verian Aguilar, Bill Canfield and all of the rest of the organizers and volunteers who make this such an incredible, and incredibly fun event. With sponsors like Ulysse Nardin and Trident Jewels the trophies are really wonderful, and with Patron and Heineken also on board the parties are even better, especially if you were to not have to race the next morning. We’d also really like to thank the Peter and Denise Holmberg for opening their home and their fridge to our team, coaching us, and to Denise for making the shore-side commentary and everything else run so smoothly. Also thanks to Kelly and Ryan Uszkenski for taking all the sailors out for a swimming session in Christmas Cove at the end of the racing–best way to end the weekend and start to think about the holidays! We’d also like to thank the US Sailing Team Alphagraphics and its sponsors.
Genny, Jenn, Alice, and Liz
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