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Tunnicliffe and Tulloch Lead Day 1

Media Alert: Racing at U.S. Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta

Racing Summary (May 4, 20120): Racing in the U.S. Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta got underway in Weymouth/Portland, UK, with a significant portion of the Semi-final Round completed. Although the day started out with grey skies and light wind, the conditions improved to allow the Race Committee to complete four races in Flight A and five in Flight B.

In the “first-to-six wins” round, there are two pairings. The first, Flight A, completed four races. Anna Tunnicliffe’s “Team Maclaren” with Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi leads Stephanie Roble’s team of Maggie Shea and Darby Smith with four wins, zero losses.

Tunnicliffe and Roble headed off the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy docks for the first races held in 5-7 knots. In the opening match up, Roble’s nerves may have gotten the best of her as she crossed the starting line early, and incurring a penalty to give Tunnicliffe an early lead and a relatively simple first win.

The second race was the most exciting of the series with Roble leading Tunnicliffe off the line and around the first windward mark. She extended her lead on the first downwind run to round ahead by almost one minute. But then, the wind shifted and went light, giving Tunnicliffe a chance to get into a more favorable wind, at almost halfway behind on the course. She gained speed and passed Roble, who was still waiting for the wind to find her. The second, third and fourth race wins went to Tunnicliffe. 

In Flight B, five races were held. Genny Tulloch, Alice Manard Leonard and Jenn Chamberlin lead Sally Barkow’s team of Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham and Alana O’Reilly with three wins to Barkow’s two losses. The afternoon match up of the two teams was held in slightly stronger wind, 7-10 knots and building over the rest of the day to 15.

Racing in the Semifinal round continues on Saturday, May 5. The winner of each of the two Semifinal Knockout Series matches will advance to Stage 2 – the Final Knockout Series, which is also a “first to win six matches” round. Tulloch handily won the first two matches, and then the wind built making the third match even more exciting. Barkow and Tulloch got into a heavy tacking duel in the first upwind leg, with Barkow round the top mark with a slight three boat-length advantage. Tulloch tried hard to pass from behind downwind, but Barkow covered well to round the mark ahead. She held the advantage to cross the finish line by less than one boat length for the win.

With Tulloch up 2-1, she went into the fourth race looking for another win. She had a strong start and held the lead around the course. While Barkow fought hard to catch and tried many times to get into a position to pass, it wasn’t mean to be. Tulloch up with three wins, to Barkow’s one.

The fifth race – the last one of day 1 – was held as the sky was getting dark. Barkow got off the starting line with good speed and conveyed that into a controlling lead on the course. She continued to lead Tulloch to take another win. The series stands at three wins for Tulloch, two wins for Barkow.

Racing in the Semi-final round continues Saturday, May 5. The winner of each of the two Semifinal Knockout Series matches will advance to Stage 2 – the Final Knockout Series, which is also a “first to win six matches” round. The winner will represent USA at the 2012 Olympic Games. The Olympic Sailing Regatta will be held July 27 – August 12, 2012, in Weymouth and Portland, located on the southern coast of England, approximately 120 miles southwest of London.

Daily racing recaps, results and photos will be on the event site: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/Events/2012/WMRTrials.htm

About the event: The USA’s top Olympic hopefuls in Women’s Match Racing will begin competition in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta, in Weymouth, England. Organized by US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport and the Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC), the event is scheduled for May 4-9 at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, site of the 2012 Olympic Sailing Regatta. The event will determine the three women’s match racing representatives for the 2012 Olympic Team. The four teams competing advanced to this event – the second, and final, selection event for the 2012 Olympic Team – by finishing in the top four at the U.S. Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta, part 1, October 26-30 at Key Biscayne Yacht Club, in Miami, Fla.

Competing teams:
Sally Barkow (Nashotah, WI), with Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham (Miami, Fla.) and Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.)
Stephanie Roble (East Troy, WI) with Maggie Shea (Chicago, Ill.) and Darby Smith (Chicago, Ill.)
Genny Tulloch (Sausalito, CA) with Alice Manard Leonard (East Haven, Conn.) and Jenn Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.)
Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, FL) with Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport,
N.Y.)

The teams skippered by Barkow, Tulloch and Tunnicliffe are members of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider.

About US Sailing
The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.

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Contact: Dana Paxton, US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, danapaxton@ussailing.org, mobile: 401-369-0490 (in the U.K.)