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3 June 2007, 09:44 am
Third Day Shuffles The Leaders
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BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup 2007
Annapolis, USA

The third and final round robin series leading up to the final four race-off at the ISAF Grade 1 Boat U.S. Santa Maria Cup again had near perfect weather for the teams. World #1 Claire LEROY (FRA) finally ended Sally BARKOW's (USA) unbeaten run, with Liz BAYLIS (USA) and Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA) joining this pair in the semi-finals.
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With a course set even further out in the Bay, and again with light early morning breezes building out of the south combined with a strong ebbing currents made starts, lay lines and mark roundings critical for all competitors.

With 18 total flights in the round robins run in the Boat U.S. Santa Maria Cup, there were some significant changes among the top-ranked women competitors on the leaderboard for the four finals slots. BARKOW, who is still leading after another near perfect day, finally lost a match against LEROY in the last flight of the day after beating BAYLIS in their previous match, moving LEROY into second and dropping BAYLIS down to third after losing four and winning five of her final races. PHILIPPE completed the top four and these skippers are now paired for the finals that started at the end of the day before the wind started to drop and will conclude on Saturday for first and second place and petit-final for the third and fourth place finishers.

Top Two Face Off

BARKOW dominated all the races again, but unlike Thursday when she beat LEROY by almost a minute, the French skipper and crew had all bullets for the day and a spectacular final race against BARKOW. LEROY got the start, but drew a penalty she would have to make up before the finish. She showed strong will and talent to hold off BARKOW until the last few boatlengths under spinnaker, when the team executed a perfect jibe to her 360 penalty turn and reset her chute to finish a boatlength ahead for the win. BARKOW still managed only one loss for the entire match.

Defending champion Katie SPITHILL (AUS), Nicky SOUTER (AUS), Lorenza MARIANI (ITA) and Liz HJORTH (USA) all put on a magnificent competition, but will have to sit out the finals and head home at the end of the day.

The racing conditions were lighter than day two and spectators and competitors alike enjoyed a great day of racing before the finals. Among the spectator fleet were several of the large offshore yachts that were about to start the Annapolis to Newport race after cheering on their favourite women's match racing teams. With one more day of competition among the top four on Saturday, the weather is expected to continue to offer excellent conditions with more winds out of the southwest and possibly building with a chance of thundershowers.

For a complete list of all the news about the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup CLICK HERE.

Leo Mehalic (As Amended By ISAF). Image, It was a good day for Claire LEROY:© Dan Ljunsvik
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