Shoreacres, Texas – Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.) and her Team 7 crew took the gun in all three races today to solidify her total score of an impressive 14 points at US SAILING’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship. She and her crew – Debbie Capozzi, Annie Lush and Amanda Callahan – are a full 15 points ahead of second-placed Derby Anderson (Annapolis, Md.). Despite the shifty and tricky conditions on Galveston Bay, the top six boats maintained their leads established yesterday. With two races planned by Houston Yacht Club’s race committee for the 39-boat fleet tomorrow, it is looking like Barkow may add another champion’s title to her already impressive resume.
Close in third place is Cory Sertl (Rochester, N.Y.), who earned a second and a pair of eights in today’s races for a total 36 points. Further back are three skippers separated by a handful of points: Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Nicole Breault (Old Lyme, Conn.) and Dominique Provoyeur (Capetown, RSA).
For Provoyeur, sailing as Team Devonvale with Penny Alison, Kim Rew and Lara Dugas, today’s racing – scoring a 3-2-4 – was redemption for yesterday’s disappointing performance. “Yesterday’s racing didn’t go as well as we planned,” she said. “I had the worst start of my life,” said Provoyeur. “We were a minute late for the gun. It was really embarrassing. In the second race, we blew the tack off the jib and lost 10 places. Luckily the jibs in South Africa come with a cunningham eye so we used that as a sail tack.”
Getting the right combination of factors helped the team maintain its overall spot. “In today’s first race, it was a little bit tricky for us, a little switchy,” said Provoyeur. “We managed to position ourselves in the fleet and play the shifts particularly well. We hung in there in the last race and tried to stay in touch with the fleet. We had good boat speed and got a jump on the fleet early on. We just covered, actually on the second beats of both races we stayed in touch with the boats in front of us.”
The Devonvale team brought sails from South Africa to use as their charter boat fee. “We get to use them, and then they stay on the boat when we leave,” she said. “So it works for us too. The owners are happy they get to try a new suit of sails form South Africa. Often they use Quantum sails and not North, so they get a variety and get to try them.”
Going into tomorrow, the Olympic hopeful has a plan. “In the first race, we’ll sail as we have been and get our best results,” she said. “After the first race, we’ll see how it goes. We’ll do a quick tally of the points and if we can cover someone in the fleet we will.”
Although she makes it look easy staying at the top of the fleet, Provoyeur has spent the past two years seriously training for an Olympic berth in the Yngling and sees this regatta as a perfect compliment. “It is more racing really,” she said. “Two crew are part of Yngling crew, and Sally (Barkow) is here and Sarah (Bury). The competition is still high here and it’s really good racing for us. It’s a fantastic event; I love coming here. The wind we’ve had has been fantastic and the hospitality is amazing. It gets better and better every time.”
“I’m just looking forward to tomorrow,” said Provoyeur. “I think Sally has taken it away and well done to her.”
For Sarah Bury (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), another Olympic hopeful, today saw a move up from 11th to 10th overall. “I’m pleased how it went overall,” she said. “It obviously started off well, coming fourth. We had good start and got in good pressure, and ended up at the windward mark first. We made a few bad choices and ended up fourth.”
In the second race Bury, racing with Martha Henderson, Katie Abbott and Jennifer Provan, wasn’t as fortunate, finishing 24th, which becomes her throwout, or discard, race. “We got a little impatient off the start,” she said. “We saw an opportunity to tack and we tacked, and then fell back into a lot of traffic. Once we started ducking boats and tacking, the next thing you know we’re on the right side of the course. Then, the left side comes in a bit and the whole fleet rounded in front of us. We tried to gain some boats back and really didn’t.”
The last race somewhat split the difference of the two previous. “We didn’t have a great start,” said Bury. “We learned from previous race, although we took a bad lane, but stuck it out a bit and got ourselves a decent race. Nothing stellar; kept it in there. The pressure was up and down and not sailing the J/22s a lot we’re definitely more comfortable in the light pressure. We’re still figuring out how trim and keep the boat going, especially in the waves.”
Does Bury draw from her Yngling experience? “It is tough competition here, just like at our Yngling events,” she said. “You can be up there and you make one little mistake and not only two or three boats pass you, but you have five or more nipping at your heels.”
Rounding out the top 10 places are Jo Ann Fisher (Annapolis, Md.) in seventh; Chelsea Bethancourt (Shoreacres, Texas) in eighth and maintaining her top local boat position; and Kathy Parks (Annapolis, Md.) in ninth place.
Tonight the competitors have a free night, socially, and many will most likely enjoy the Kemah Boardwalk, a famous Texas landmark featuring amusements, shopping and restaurants. Under a tent on the lawn of the Houston Yacht Club, daily first awards were handed out by PRO Jim Tichenor along with the Kaenon Award, awarded to the team with the lowest score of the day. Racing concludes tomorrow.
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