Carlos Aguilar Match Race - Sally Barkow victorious in St. Thomas

Barkow (far right on the tiller) and Perry battle it out for first in the Finals. - Carlos Aguilar Match Race
Dean Barnes
The USA’s Sally Barkow played the ‘comeback kid’ by defeating the USA’s Dave Perry 3-0 in the Finals at the fifth Carlos Aguilar Match Race (CAMR), presented by Ulysse Nardin/Trident Jewels and Time. Barkow, who has raced this regatta four times, took second last year after a narrow defeat by Finland’s Staphan Lindberg. The sorrow of that defeat made this year’s win for Barkow and her crew – Annie Lush, Alana O’Reilly, Erik Champaign and Maggie Shea – all the sweeter.

'We worked hard as a team in these last few days and it paid off,' says Barkow, who is ranked sixth in the Women’s and 31st in the Open match race ranking’s divisions as of December 5, 2012. Barkow was awarded a distinctive Ulysse Nardin precision timepiece for her win.

A rain squall blowing across the Charlotte Amalie harbor just minutes before the start of the Finals left light and shifty conditions in its wake. This didn’t deter Barkow who handily won the first two matches against Perry.

In what proved the final match of the Finals, Barkow lead at the start and stretched her advantage to eight boat lengths by the windward mark. She lengthened her frontrunner position into a commanding 10 to 12 boat lengths by the finish even though her team battled through a kink in the spinnaker that cost them a few seconds in boat speed in the last downwind run.

'It was so shifty,' says Barkow. 'It was easy to get it either so right or so wrong.'

The winning team. L to R: Alana O'Reilly, Maggie Shea, Sally Barkow, Erik Shampaign and Annie Lush. - Carlos Aguilar Match Race
Dean Barnes

This match-up of teams in the Finals was an interesting one as Perry, who is the author of Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012, has served as Barkow’s match racing coach.

'For me it was a win-win,' says Perry of his team’s second place finish and his student’s first. 'Sally’s team is really good and they have evolved their game well. I was impatient. I had some advantages and gave them away. This either put me behind or put me further behind and Sally took advantage of that.'

L to R Sally Barkow and regatta director Verian Aguilar Tuttle at the prize-giving. - Carlos Aguilar Match Race
Dean Barnes
Two past America’s Cup skippers went head-to-head in the Petite Finals. Ultimately, the USVI’s Peter Holmberg won 2-1 over the USA’s Dave Dellenbaugh. Thus, Holmberg finished third and Dellenbaugh fourth in the final standings. Holmberg won this event in 2009.

In other team scores, Brazil’s Henrique Haddad finished fifth, the USA’s Christopher Poole sixth, the USA’s Stephanie Roble seventh, the USVI’s Tyler Rice eighth, Denmark’s Lotte Meldgaard Peterson ninth, Brazil’s Renata Decnop 10th and Germany’s Sven-Eric Horsch 11th.

This four-day Grade 2 match race was sailed in Inter-Club (IC)-24s. Forty-nine flights or 135 races were sailed in total.

The St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) and the Virgin Islands Sailing Association (VISA) are organizing authorities for the CAMR, namesake for the late Carlos Aguilar, who was an avid sailor and match racer.


Final Results:

1. Sally Barkow, USA
2. Dave Perry, USA
3. Peter Holmberg, ISV
4. Dave Dellenbaugh, USA
5. Henrique Haddad, BRA
6. Christopher Poole, USA
7. Stephanie Robles, USA
8. Tyler Rice, ISV
9. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN
10. Renata Decnop, BRA
11. Sven-Eric Horsch, GER

Carlos Aguilar Match Race website