U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship down to a thrilling finish

Team Tulloch - U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship
© Cindy Cady
The U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship 2011 was hosted by Southern Yacht Club. The event came down to a thrilling finish in Sunday’s final series.

In a rematch of last year’s Championship round, skipper Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.) defeated defending two-time Champion Genny Tulloch (Sausalito, Calif./Houston, Texas) in the fifth and final race for a 3-2 win and her third Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy, second as a skipper. Teams raced in J/22 boats this week on Lake Pontchartrain.

Tulloch had a lead at the start of the decisive fifth match. However, they incorrectly rounded the first upwind windward mark and never recovered. Tulloch came from behind in the final series twice after trailing 1-0 and 2-1.

'We had a great final series with Genny in tough conditions and really shifty winds,' said Barkow. 'We like having great matches with her team. Unfortunately, she didn’t see the change of course at the entry.'

Barkow and Tulloch finished off their semifinals opponents to advance to the finals. Barkow defeated Kaitlin Storck (New Orleans, La.), 2-0, and Tulloch beat Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.), 3-0. Storck finished third by defeating Roble, 2-1, in the Petite finals.

Barkow’s crew included Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham (Miami Beach, Fla.), Alana O'Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) and Amanda Callahan (Portsmouth, R.I.). Crewing for Tulloch was Alice Manard Leonard (New Orleans, La./East Haven, Conn.), Jennifer Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.) and Elizabeth Hall (Cary, N.C.). Roble sailed with Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.), Darby Smith (Wilmette, Ill.) and Jennifer Wilson (Chicago, Ill.).

Barkow, the #3 ISAF ranked women’s match racer in the world, was 19-3 overall this week. Tulloch, ranked #11 by ISAF, was 16-6. They each had successful outings at the 2011 US Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta last October at the Key Biscayne Yacht Club (Fla.). Tulloch finished second and Barkow was third. Barkow, Kratzig-Burnham, O’Reilly, Tulloch, Manard Leonard and Chamberlin are all members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.

Breezes ranged from 12 to 18 knots.

For a breakdown of all the action in New Orleans, visit the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship resulets page

For more information about the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship, sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A., Gill North America and Old Pulteney Single Malt Whiskey, visit the event website for final standings, daily recaps, photos and more.

www.ussailing.org