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20 September 2005, 09:51 am
First Day Chase After Patient Wait
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Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship 2005
Annapolis, USA

It started as a waiting game, but the 42 teams at the Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship were prepared for it. The planned 11:00 start got postponed until after 15:00 due to a light northerly that took four hours to switch to the south and strengthen. For the sailors who had waited patiently on Chesapeake Bay in the unseasonably warm weather, two races were then held in rapid succession to complete the first of five racing days scheduled.
'We were prepared that we were going to sit until after 2 p.m.,' said Cory SERTL (Rochester, N.Y.), who started off her series with an impressive victory that saw her Team Lucy finish at least five boat lengths ahead of the fleet. About the performance, SERTL explained, 'We cleared to the right and had a nice lane. It's easy when you're out in front; you don't have to worry about the other boats.'

SERTL'S theory was seriously tested in the second race, when a so-so start made it necessary for her to tack six times in the first minute to get a clear lane. It was a struggle to finish ninth in that race, and the combined scores for the day left her in third overall, while Sally BARKOW (Nashotah, Wis.), sailing Team Seven, moved to the top of the scoreboard.

BARKOW, who had finished third in the first race, took off like a bullet in the second. The span between her boat and the fleet at the finish was many times over what SERTL had accomplished. 'Our start was good in the first race, at the boat end, but the boats that got to the right of us made out. In the second race, we were halfway down the starting line and pulled the trigger at the right time. We had good speed off the line and better wind in that race.'

BARKOW, who is defending champion here with the same crew that sailed with her in 2003, said she is more relaxed this time around. 'That's because we have more confidence in our talent. That comes with sailing full time as a team since then. Phenomenal crew work is what it comes down to.' BARKOW and crew are aiming to be at the Olympic sailing event in Beijing in 2008 and just flew in from France where they dominated 11 top-ranked international teams at the St. Quay International Women's Match Race.

Experiencing the most consistent day was Jody SWANSON (Buffalo, N.Y.), who posted a 2-2 for second overall. 'We'll take two seconds any day,' said SWANSON. 'In both races there was someone who punched out for a good lead; then there was a group behind, and we were just ahead of that group both times.'

According to SERTL, 'everyone's going to love tomorrow.' The weather forecast is saying that it might be the windiest day of the regatta, with a chance of thunderstorms late in the day. 'We were here last week for the J/22 East Coast Championships and it was a lot like it was today.'

Top Ten After Two Race

Pos Nation Helm Race 1 Race 2 Points
1 USA Sally BARKOW 3 1 4
2 USA Jody SWANSON 2 2 4
3 USA Cory SERTL 1 9 10
4 USA Lorie STOUT 5 7 12
5 USA Carol CRONIN 6 6 12
6 USA Phebe KING 10 4 14
7 RSA Dominique PROVOYEUR 4 13 17
8 NZL Sharon FERRIS 7 11 18
9 USA Sandy ADZICK 8 10 18
10 USA Julie SITZMANN 16 3 19
Barby MacGowan (As Amended by ISAF), Image: Jody SWANSON had a consistent first day © Dan Nerney/Rolex
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