In a dramatic and nail biting finish to US SAILING's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship on Lake Ontario yesterday, it was Cory Sertl who went away with her third Championship victory.
A final day of racing produced a mixed bag of results for the top five, an ever changing top three and a disqualification in the final race to give Cory Sertl (USA) and her team of Amy Seymour Moran, Annemarie Cook and Jane Mastrandrea the title just five point ahead of the former Champion Anna Tunnicliffe.
When the 36 teams of all-women sailors, from 16 U.S. states, Canada, Great Britain and The Netherlands, left Rochester Yacht Club yesterday morning, there were eight races on the scoreboard and a very tight point spread among the top-three in the standings. First overall was skipper Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), the defending champion, followed by Sally Barkow (USA), equal on points at 24. Just five points back was local favorite Sertl, while Carol Cronin (USA) and JoAnn Fisher (USA) rounded out the top-five tied on 38 points.
The first race got started in roughly eight knots of breeze and Sertl was in the lead by the weather mark; going on to win the race. She was followed across the line by Kirsten Lane (USA), Meghan Jordan ((USA) and Barkow, with Tunnicliffe in eighth. Barkow's fourth put her back on top of the standings with 28 points, while Sertl was second with 30 and Tunnicliffe was third with 32 points.
Racing was postponed after storms in the area sucked away the breeze, and two general recalls took place before the Race Committee was able to start race 10 in roughly eight knots of breeze. Lane won the race, followed across the line by Katie Coleman Nicoll (CAN) and Cronin. Katja Sertl (USA) was fourth, Fisher fifth and Cory Sertl sixth. Barkow was eighth, and Tunnicliffe, who had a bad start and went to the wrong side of the course, picked up an 18th place finish, that became her drop score. The recalculated overall standings saw Sertl take over the lead ahead of Barkow, although they were tied with 36 points. Tunnicliffe remained third overall with 42 points.
With only 30 minutes left before the 3:00 p.m. deadline after which no race could be started, the 11th and final race of the day began in 10-11 knots of breeze from the east. Sertl led for much of the race, but Barkow edged past her to cross the line first followed by Sertl's daughter, 17-year-old Katja Sertl, and Tunnicliffe, before Cory Sertl heard the horn for her own third-place finish. Barkow's subsequent disqualification for an incident at the start not only added 37 points to her scoreline but also thwarted her from winning the championship. She finished third with 54 points, behind Anna Tunnicliffe with 44 points, and Cory Sertl with 39.
"It's pretty exciting," said Sertl of her third win of this championship title. "To do this with all four of us from Rochester Yacht Club, and especially since our focus this summer has been on taking our kids to events and not so much on our own personal sailing. To be able to relax and pull together our experiences - sailing together, sailing here and sailing the J/22 - is just really satisfying."
For recaps, results, photos, videso and more, visit the event website at http://riwkc.ussailing.org/RIWKC_Home.htm