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7 June 2005, 12:36 pm
BJÖRLING Takes Weather Affected Victory
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BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup 2005
Annapolis, USA

Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) won the ISAF Grade 1 2005 BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup international women's match racing regatta after the weather intervened once again in Annapolis, USA.
In a repeat of last year's ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship held here in Annapolis, USA, the lack of wind cut short the competition at the semi final stage so no finals could take place. A year ago, Sally BARKOW (USA), was the beneficiary, taking victory to become the 2004 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion, a title that this year will be disputed in Hamilton, Bermuda from 15-18 October.

The second round robin ended on Friday with ISAF World Match Race Rankings' number two, BJÖRLING at the top of the leaderboard, thanks in the main to an excellent first round robin, where she won all nine of her matches. Rankings' leader, Claire LEROY (FRA), was the most consistent sailor over the two round robins and finished a point behind her Swedish rival on 14-4. BARKOW could not find her early form in the later stages and dropped to fifth in the leaderboard after six losses in the second round robin.

For Paula LEWIN (BER) and Betsy ALISON (USA) a good result here was vital to secure a top ten spot in the 22 June release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings and therefore an invite to the 2005 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Bermuda. LEWIN, at number twelve in the Rankings, lost only to BJÖRLING and LEROY in the second round robin to finish third overall. After an uninspiring start to the competition, ALISON, came good in the second round robin dropping just a single flight to LEWIN to end the round robin in fourth. This left a semi final line up of BJÖRLING v ALISON, whilst LEROY faced off against LEWIN.

Two semi final matches in each pairing were squeezed in on Friday leaving both ties all square. On Saturday, another two matches in each tie still could not separate the sailors, with both BJÖRLING and ALISON and LEROY and LEWIN level at 2v2. It was decided there would be no time for the final if the last semi final matches were raced so under the SIs the semi finals were terminated and the two finalists selected on the round robin results. Still though the weather would not play ball, and slight and shifty winds spelt the end of racing before any final match could be sailed.

With both semi finals tied, the results were decided by the round robin stands, with BJÖRLING repeating her win of 2002. LEROY claimed second place, although whether or not this will be enough for her to hold on to the top Rankings' spot will not be known until the next release of 22 June. A crucial third for LEWIN could well be a result that secures her an ISAF World Championship invite.

(After 18 flights)

1. Marie BJÖRLING (SWE), 15-3
2. Claire LEROY (FRA), 14-4
3. Paula LEWIN (BER), 13-5
4. Betsy ALISON (USA), 12-6
5. Sally BARKOW (USA), 9-9
6. Jenny AXHEDE (SWE), 9-9
7. Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA), 7-11
8. Liz BAYLIS (USA), 7-11
9. Charlie ARMS (USA), 4-14
10. Linda HÄRSJÖ (SWE), 0-18

NB. Making Waves 248 - Published 6 June 2005 incorrectly stated that Maire BJÖRLING had beaten Betsy ALISON (USA) in their semi final match. As stated above, the semi final match finished 2v2, with the final positions decided by the round robin results.

ISAF. Image, BJÖRLING won out in Annapolis:© Walter Cooper
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