Women's winning machine

Jesse Falsone talks to leading US Yngling sailor and match race champion Sally Barkow
In sport, there are breakout years, and then there are breakaway years. For American sailor, Sally Barkow, and her sailing team, if 2004 was their breakout year, 2005 was surely their breakaway year. In 2005, Barkow’s Team Seven repeated their victory in the Women’s Match Race World Championship, and also notched a world title in the Yngling. As if this weren’t enough, Team Seven in 2005 alone claimed victories at the US Women’s Match Race Championship, the Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta, Hyeres, and the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, completely dominating the competition in the latter. At the tender age of 25, Barkow is perhaps not as philosophical as many older competitors might be after spending decades of trying and failing to achieve even a fraction of this success. Instead, one gets the feeling that Barkow is just doing what comes naturally to her - just going out and sailing hard with a fierce desire to achieve team goals. She developed her skills sailing on the inland lakes of the MidWest United States, where pastures are far more expansive than navigable waters. But, nonetheless, the Midwest has produced some incredible sailors, including the Melges family. Inland lake sailing is dominated by ever-changing conditions that hone the tactical mind. It’s not uncommon to see multiple 40 degree wind shifts on a 1 kilometre leg, and while this type of sailing does less for building boat speed skills, it does teach patience - a trait that must be invaluable in the tactically-dominated Yngling class. But, youth and pedigree can sometimes only take you so far, especially in a sport so reliant on teamwork and experience. In capturing these many victories, Barkow, and her team, comprised of Debbie Capozzi and Carrie Howe, have obviously showed maturity beyond their years. Building a successful team takes time,