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8 December 2009, 09:25 am
Leroy Wins Women's Finals Of Carlos Aguilar Match Race, Holmberg Takes Open Title
Katy Pilley-Lovell to windward of Claire Leroy during the semi final in St Thomas
Katy Pilley-Lovell to windward of Claire Leroy during the semi final in St Thomas

Carlos Aguilar Match Race 2009
St Thomas, US Virgin Islands

World #1 Claire Leroy of France defeated US champion Genny Tulloch to win the second edition of the ISAF Grade 1 Carlos Aguilar Match Race in St Thomas, whilst in an all US Virgin Islands final Peter Holmberg defeated Taylor Canfield to take the open title.
The #1 Women's Match Racing team in the world, Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand, Claire Pruvot and Marie Riou (FRA) defeated the US Women's Match Racing Champion and the defending Carlos Aguilar Match Race Champion, Genny Tulloch and her team, which included Sally Barkow, Alana O'Reilly and Amanda Callahan in two matches in the first to two wins final of the second Annual Carlos Aguilar Match Race, held in St Thomas, the US Virgin Islands.

Leroy was enthusiastic about the experience her team gained during the past three week of practice and racing in the US Virgin Islands. "Peter Holmberg gave us some time and we practiced against him. The quality of the sailing and competition was excellent. We look forward to returning for next year's event," said Leroy.

Leroy's singular goal for the next two years is to be the French representative at the 2012 London Games, where women's match racing will make its debut at the Olympic Games. She has taken time off from her job as CFO of a family business to focus her pursuit. Once it was confirmed that Women's Match Racing would not be an event at Sail Melbourne, first event of the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup series, she arranged for Julie Bossard's (FRA) and her own team to practice and participate in the second Annual Carlos Aguilar Match Race.

Leroy and Tulloch dispatched their semi-final opponents by winning three straight against Katy Lovell (USA) and Bossard, respectively.

Holmberg Wins Open Title

Peter Holmberg, Maurice Kurg, Morgan Avery and Ben Beer (ISV) resorted to decades of experience to defeat Taylor Canfield, Max Nickbarg, Tyler Rice and Chris Rosenberg (ISV) in an all US Virgin Islands final for the ISAF Grade 3 open title. Holmberg took Canfield down with two straight wins in the best of two finals in which junior sailors and locals went head to head against America's Cup skippers and sailors who have reached the top of the match race standings in their careers.

As he stepped ashore in front of the grandstand on Waterfront Street in downtown Charlotte Amalie, Holmberg admitted that "age and wisdom" enabled his team to defeat youth and exuberance. Holmberg, who headed up the VI Challenge years ago and welcomed other America's Cup skippers to match race in Charlotte Amalie Harbour in the Little America's Cup was, "Happy to see this event take hold. It started a little smaller, but has a great future. We have great sailors here in the islands and these international sailors will tell you that we have the best sailing venue in the world for this kind of event."

The match-racing bug bit Holmberg so hard that he inspired many Caribbean sailors to follow him on his way to America's Cup competition. Many of the volunteers who have sacrificed untold hours to make the Carlos Aguilar Match Race happen were also involved in Holmberg's efforts to have an America's Cup challenger originate from the Virgin Islands. The VI Challenge may not have come to fruition but a match-racing foothold did take root.

Holmberg, Kurg, Avery and Beer, a team that he has been sailing with for 20 years, found themselves pitted against a younger generation during the finals. Holmberg and his team don't feel old; they're gratified that match racing is so strong in this chain of islands. They are also happy that Virgin Islands Sailing Association (VISA) and all of their friends, sponsors and partners have gone to such great lengths to host such a highly competitive international match-racing event.

Canfield was not only the defending champion at the second Annual Carlos Aguilar Match Race he was the youngest Open Division skipper. Two Antilles High School seniors, Max Nickbarg and Tyler Rice are crewing for him. Nickbarg and Rice were on Canfield's team last year. Joining their team at last minute and bringing up the average age was Chris Rosenberg, who has sailed against Holmberg for over three decades in everything from Sunfish to keelboats.

The young team put it all together during this regatta dominating their matches throughout the double round robins and the semi-finals.

Canfield had never taken the helm against Holmberg in a championship final before although they had practiced match-racing starts against one another. "I'm not sure who wants to win more, me or Chris [Rosenberg]," said Canfield before heading out for the exciting finals matches in which Holmberg was in a controlling position throughout both of the races.

Results and photos at www.worldregattas.com
Lynn Fitzpatrick of World Regattas (As Amended By ISAF)
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