After three hard-fought days of match race sailing, US Olympic hopeful Anna Tunnicliffe and her crew of Debbie Capozzi and Molly Vandemoer won the Miami Grade 2 Invitational, held at Coconut Grove Sailing Club.
The 2-0 victory over Kiwi Ruben Corbett in the Finals earns the team valuable Open Grade 2 match racing points to further solidify their position as the world's top-ranked team in Women's match race sailing.
The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year started the day tied on one point each against Quarter Final rival Don Wilson, but they came out strong to defeat Wilson in the next two matches in the first-to-three point series. The two other tied-up Quarter-Final winners - Sally Barkow from the US and Mandy Mulder from the Netherlands - did the same, while Mulder's coach Corbett won the one match he needed against Stephanie Roble to advance.
In the Semi-Finals, Tunnicliffe chose to race Mulder, leaving Barkow, a fellow US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member and Olympic aspirant, to spar against Corbett. In the first-to-two point series, it was both Corbett and Tunnicliffe winning 2-0, setting the stage for the Final to be an exciting battle of the sexes.
But in this first-to-two point series, once again Tunnicliffe's strength of training for three years in the Elliott 6M's showed, as they dispensed with Corbett quickly in a 2-0 result. Mulder fared better than her coach, winning the Petit Final against Barkow, also on a 2-0 score.
Tunnicliffe said, "We are very excited to come away with the win and there was great competition here and it was very fun to sail against the boys because have different moves. We would like to thank CMRC and Sail Sheboygan for putting on a great event."
This was the first of several international match racing events to be organized this season by Chicago Match Race Centre, with the next being the CMRC Spring Invitational held over 19-20 May in Belmont Harbor in Chicago. This Grade 3 event sailing in TOM 28's will also serve as a qualifier for the LMSRF Richardson Cup and the US Sailing Area E/K qualifier for the Prince of Wales Bowl, the US Sailing National Match Race Championship.
The five women's teams participating all have their sites set on Olympic Gold in London this summer. The four American teams will meet again in Weymouth in May to determine which team will represent the US, while Mulder has already been selected as the Netherlands representative.