42nd Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia - Semis today, Petit Finals tomorrow

Team Tunnicliffe - 42nd Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia
42nd Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia - It was a difficult end to a great day of racing today for Team Tunnicliffe here in Palma as we lost the semi finals by a couple feet in the fifth and final match of the series. We will be fighting for the bronze medal tomorrow against France's Claire Leroy in the petit-finals while the finals will take place between our USSTAG teammates Sally Barkow and team and Finland's Silja Lehtinen and team.

The day started with the end of the quarterfinals against New Zealand's Stephanie Hazard. We dropped the first match of the day after losing the start to them, but rallied back to take the series 3-1 and advance to the semi's against Sally.

Most of the matches in the semi's were very close. The first race went to us after we got a penalty in the pre-start, countered it at the second windward mark and after an intense luffing and gybing match on the downwind leg, they got a penalty on the finish line which gave us the first race of the series. Race two wasn't quite as exciting as our mainsheet broke and limited us with how much it would go out, but we made a big push at the end of the race and got to within a length or two as we crossed the line. Race three again was uneventful. We took the lead off the line and extended it on the downwind leg, to take the race by a couple of lengths.

But races four and five were when it got very interesting. In the pre-start of race four, we ended up with a penalty. Around the first lap, Sally had the lead, but we had a better leeward mark rounding and took the lead from her up the second beat. Towards the top of the beat as we were setting up to spin our first penalty, there was an incident that resulted in us getting a second penalty, meaning that we had to spin it immediately. We spun it, came out to leeward of her but still overlapped, and pinned her upwind passed the windward mark.

When we were in position, we spun our remaining penalty and came out with half a length lead going down to the finish. She was to leeward of our line on starboard tack and we were not making the finish line. We caught a wave and I thought we could gybe through her and get to the other side, but just as we tried to, she caught a wave and surfed right up to us. As I gybed back, it was a little too late and we got another penalty giving her the race.

In race five, we had a clean start. She was a length ahead at the top mark, but we closed the distance on the downwind leg and again had a better rounding and took the lead. At one point up the beat we tried to leebow her, but hit some bad waves that allowed her to roll us and put us back behind her. But we stayed close and at the top mark we were one and a half lengths behind.

Downwind we worked very hard to catch up and closed right up to her in the last quarter of the leg. We were able to sit on her breeze and just as we got to the finish line, it was a matter of who would catch the next wave and surf it into the line. As it turned out, her wave was a little ahead of ours and she crossed the line to take the series 3-2 and advance to the finals, leaving us in the petit-finals.

We are quite sad with the result. We feel we have sailed exceptionally well all week long, and still sailed well today, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be this time. We learned some good lessons today and we are glad that we have. We are looking forward to sailing Claire tomorrow as we always have great races with her. You can follow the results online at the regatta website.

We would like to thank our gold level sponsor 11th Hour Racing, and our bronze level sponsors Carmeuse, Trinity Yachts, and Chicago Match Race Center for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and its sponsors for their continued support. Also, thank you to our private donors. Please remember that any and all donations/contributions to our campaign should be made payable directly to either The Sailing Foundation of New York (tax deductible) memo'd Anna Tunnicliffe, or to Anna Tunnicliffe.

Sail Hard.

www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/