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25 October 2005, 03:48 pm
World Number One And Defending Champion LEROY Returns
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Rolex Osprey Cup 2005
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Though St. Petersburg, Florida, USA has had to deal with the effects of the Hurricane Wilma, organizers of the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Osprey Cup confirmed today that the regatta will go on as scheduled from 27-30 October. The St. Petersburg Yacht Club (SPYC) has not sustained damage to its clubhouse or sailing centre, where the club's fleet of Sonar class keelboats are located, so number one in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings Claire LEROY (FRA) can be sure of the chance of defending her title.
No ALT tag specified'After reviewing and reviewing, and further reviewing the many forecasts and computer models for Hurricane Wilma's track during several days in advance of the event, we decided to proceed with it,' said Pat SEIDENSPINNER, regatta co-chair with Tom FARQUHAR. 'There is some risk of higher than normal winds early in the week and, as is always the case with hurricanes, there was some risk that Wilma would do something unpredictable. We considered those risks to be manageable. We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of everyone connected with the event.'

The skippers roster shows an interesting mix of international talent. Returning champion, leader of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings and recently third at the Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, LEROY will have her work cut out for her as she will face nine outstanding sailors from five different countries, including 2003 World Champion and winner this year of the ISAF Grade 1 Swedish Match Cup Malin MILLBOURN (SWE).

Two competitors received invitations to this event based on their performance at the ISAF Grade 4 Rolex Women's Match back in April at the SPYC. Elizabeth KRATZIG (USA) will have 2004 Olympic silver medallist in the Europe Lenka SMIDOVA (CZE) amongst her crew members along with Amanda CALLAHAN and Alix MANLEY, whilst the other qualifier Rachael SILVERSTEIN (USA) will be sailing with Jee LEE, Kristin HERMAN and Becca THOMAS.

Completing the American contingent sailing on their home waters are Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) and Sandy HAYES (USA). TUNNICLIFFE is a more familiar sight in the Laser Radial where she is in the top 20 of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and was named 2005 Quantum College Sailor of the Year. HAYES is a more experienced campaigner who won the Rolex Women's Match in St. Petersburg last year and went on to finish seventh in the Osprey Cup.

Another three Europeans complete the line up. Giulia CONTI (ITA) was one of the youngest sailors at the Olympic Games in Athens last year, when at 18 years old she competed in the Yngling. She finished a successful year by collecting the bronze medal at the Osprey Cup, and this year has focussed on team racing in which she was recently part of the Italian team named 'most improved' at the Grey Goose ISAF Team Racing World Championship in the USA. The top 100 ranked Arabella DENVIR of Ireland and Linda HÄRSJÖ of Sweden complete the ten strong line up.

Rolex Osprey Cup Entrants
( - ISAF World Match Race Ranking)

  • Claire LEROY (FRA) - 1
  • Sandy HAYES (USA) - 13
  • Elizabeth KRATZIG (USA) - 17
  • Malin MILLBOURN (SWE) - 21
  • Giulia CONTI (ITA) - 30
  • Rachael SILVERSTEIN (USA) - 54
  • Linda HÄRSJÖ (SWE) - 61
  • Katy LOVELL (USA) - 67
  • Arabella DENVIR (IRL) - 69
  • Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) - Not Ranked

For all the news on the Rolex Osprey Cup CLICK HERE.

Dana Paxton (As Amended By ISAF). Image, World number one Claire LEROY is set to defend her title at the Osprey Cup:© Bob Grieser/PPL
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