France wins women's match racing
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.
Leroy def. Swett, 3-2
Cronin def. Briand, 2-1
Swett def. Cronin, 3-0
Leroy def. Briand, 3-0
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)