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25 February 2008, 01:35 pm
LEROY Seals Third Women's Winter Challenge Crown
Claire LEROY at the 2006 Preem Lysekil Women's Match
Claire LEROY dominated the competition to win her third Winter Challenge in four years

RYA Women's Winter Challenge 2008
Staines, London, Great Britain

World #1 Claire LEROY lived up to her billing as she produced a faultless display to regain the ISAF Grade 2 RYA Women's Winter Challenge Match Racing Championship crown.
Claire LEROY, who was named the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year in November following her World and European match racing titles in 2007, made light work of a world class field at Queen Mary Sailing Club to tie up her third championship victory without losing a race over the three days.

The Frenchwoman won her first Women's Winter Challenge Championship in 2005 and successfully defended her crown the following year before relinquishing the title last year as Finland's Silja LEHTINEN pulled off a superb finals win.

But this time it was LEHTINEN, one of six of the top ten ranked females in the ISAF World Match Rankings battling it out at Queen Mary, who was forced to settle for second spot as LEROY's immaculate series left the rest of the field in her wake.

A tough opening day saw several of the sailors finding themselves swimming in the icy waters of Queen Mary as huge gusts from a range of directions made conditions difficult.

But the quality of the field shone through in the end as world #9 Linda RAHM (SWE) secured third spot.

Meanwhile, fourth place for Skandia Team GBR's Lucy MACGREGOR ensured she finished the top placed Brit at Queen Mary qualifying her to represent Great Britain in the ISAF Nations Cup later this year.

LEROY's victory has now qualified her for the RYA Winter Challenge Match Racing Series Grand Final at Queen Mary from 7-9 March, where the winners and runners-up from all the Series qualifiers over this winter are scheduled to battle it out for the overall title.

Results - click here

Karenza Morton
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