France wins women's match racing

Final report from the Rolex Osprey Cup in St Petersburg, Florida

Monday November 3rd 2003, Author: Barby MacGowan, Location: United States
Claire Leroy of St. Quay, France has won the Rolex 2003 Osprey Cup, an ISAF Grade 1 women's match-racing event that finished today in St. Petersburg, Florida. Hosted by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, the event was sailed for four days in Sonars on Tampa Bay. Crewing for Leroy were fellow countrywomen Julie Gerecht, Julie Bossard (both of Brest) and Ingrid Cerrato (St. Quay).

Leroy defeated American Hannah Swett in an exciting final round that required the maximum number of races possible to determine the 'first to three wins' victor.

Swett won the first two matches today, taking a 2-1 lead over Leroy, who won the final-round opener on Saturday. When Leroy won the fourth match, tying the series 2-2, an exciting last race was all but assured.

In the final match, Swett won the start and led until she was within a quarter-leg to the finish, when Leroy took the lead. As the two teams approached the downwind finish, each protested, and the umpires penalized Swett. Immediately after, Swett was penalised again and received a black flag, which lost her the match.

Leroy, who finished fourth as a crew for Marie Faure in last year's Rolex Osprey Cup, was ecstatic that her victory was a notable one for the international women's match racing circuit. "As far as world rankings, this puts me among the top ten skippers and makes me the top French sailor," said Leroy, who was ranked 13th going into the regatta." As the top-ranked skipper for her country, Leroy is assured an invitation to the 2004 World Women's Match Racing Championship.

In the petit-finals, held simultaneously with the finals, American Carol Cronin upset France's Christine Briand by winning two races to Briand's one. "Cronin just kept getting better and better throughout the regatta," said Race Chair Tom Farquhar, noting that she, like Swett and several of the other competitors are 2004 Olympic hopefuls in the Yngling class. Winning the petit-finals earned Cronin a third-place finish for the regatta.

Results

Final Round
Leroy def. Swett, 3-2

Petit-Final Round
Cronin def. Briand, 2-1

Semi-Final Round
Swett def. Cronin, 3-0
Leroy def. Briand, 3-0

Final Standings
1. Claire Leroy (St. Quay, FRA)
2. Hannah Swett (New York, N.Y./Jamestown, R.I., USA)
3. Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I., USA)
4. Christine Briand (La Rochelle, FRA)
5. Giulia Conti (Toscolano Maderno, ITA)
6. Sally Barkow (Nashota, Wis., USA)
7. Elizabeth Kratzig (Houston, Texas/Miami, Fla., USA)
8. Deborah Willits (La Porte, Texas, USA)
9. Rachel Silverstein (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA)

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