“It was my 50th birthday on Friday, so it was a great way to celebrate,” said Hayes, who also won the 2006 and 2004 editions of Rolex Women’s Match. “Our tactician was Nancy Haberland Heffernan, who is absolutely fantastic and unbelievable to sail with. I haven’t skippered since the Rolex Osprey Cup (last October); I’ve been spending more time working than anything else, and so it was great to get back out on the water. I was totally relaxed; whatever was going to happen happened.”
According to regatta co-chair Tom Farquhar, the outcome of the regatta was determined in the final match. After running 89 matches over four days, the St. Petersburg Yacht Club race committee set the final match on Sunday afternoon, with Hayes and Lovell the final pair. “If Sandy won the final match, she would have had 17 points and won on the event. If Katy won, they would have been tied with 16 points each, and Katy would have won the tiebreaker.”
True to match racing form, whoever controlled the pre-start would have the advantage in the match. Hayes explained, “Since we were the last match of the pairings, by the time it was our turn it had been about three minutes since the RC started. They set the (starting) line and then there was a big shift. We came in on port and crossed her (Lovell) on port. We were the last ones in (to the starting area) and the line was still set for the original course. We got the change of course and knew that the pin was favoured.
“As we entered, we crossed each other and circled,” continued Hayes. “She went to jibe and I gybed inside of her and since we were going for the pin, she tacked away. The race started and it was over, really. We had the lead.”
Hayes will take the confidence of this victory with here to Brazil where she competes later this week in the Brazil Women’s Cup.
For the women who are new to match racing, such Corey Hall, the learning experience was notable. Hall sailed with a team of friends from her high school - Kelley Simpson, Mary Kate Hall and Mallory Willet - and finished eighth. “They were thrilled,.” said regatta co-chair Pat Seidenspinner. “The other (older) teams all offered them encouragement but didn’t cut them any slack.”
Rachael Silverstein, a college sailor and frequent Rolex Women’s Match competitor, sailed very consistently, winning seven matches in each round robin. “She lost twice to Sandy and once each to Katy and Rosanna (Ramos), the three highest ranked teams in the event,” commented Farquhar. “Corey won four matches, including her last two, sailing in her first match racing event.”
At the dinner Thursday evening at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, with all of the competitors, race committee, umpires and other invited guests present, event co-chairman Pat Seidenspinner paid tribute to Nucci Novi Ceppellini, an ISAF Vice President who passed away earlier this year. Seidenspinner reminded the group of the contributions Ceppellini had made to women’s racing and to match racing in particular, while serving as an officer of ISAF. ISAF recently awarded its Beppe Croce Trophy posthumously to Ceppellini in recognition of her many contributions to the sport of sailing.
Final results – 2008 Rolex Women’s Match
Finish, Skipper, Hometown, Crew
1. Sandy Hayes, Scituate, MA, Nancy Heffernan, Cindy Olsen, Verian Aguilar
2. Katy Lovell, New Orleans, LA, Alice Manard, Ann Graham, Kim Logan Gotchberg
3. Rachael Silverstein, St. Petersburg, FL, Jee Lee, Kristen Herman, Abby Ethington
4. Rossana Ramos, Brasilia, Brazil, Raquel Aymone, Sandra Branchine, Mariana Lacerda
5. JoAnn Fisher, Annapolis, MD, Lynda Hiller, Nicole Breault, Meaghan Ruhlman
6. Liz Hjorth, Marina del Rey, CA, Karyn Jones, Marylyn Hoenemeyer, Shala Lawrence
7. Louise Bienvenu, Metarie, LA, Lisa Luongo, Jen Millar, Ann David
8. Corey Hall, St. Petersburg, FL, Kelley Simpson, Mary Kate Hall, Mallory Willet
9. Sue McDowell, Bay Village, OH, Sue Michos, Bev Keeler, Debbie Gibbs
10. Lauren Knoles, East Lansing, MI, Sandy Svoboda, Laurie Muma, Krista Paxton