After six races in the Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship, Betsy ALISON (USA) still leads with Sally BARKOW (USA) in second. The two now have a five-point spread between their overall standings.
Annapolis skipper Lorie STOUT won today's single light-air race - her second victory in six races so far -- to move her team up to fifth place. Alison and Barkow finished fourth and ninth, respectively. Mary BRIGDEN (USA) finished today's race in second and improved her overall position from sixth to third.
Stout did not believe local knowledge helped her, since she regularly sails in the Severn River just off Annapolis and the fleet sailed in the middle of Chesapeake Bay five miles south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
"Sailing out there is a lot different than sailing next to the Severn Sailing Association,"
said Stout, who nailed the start but fouled someone shortly afterward. "It was a little tap, and we did our circles and got started again. We got rocking then."
Fighting an ebb tide and lightening breeze, Stout managed to round the top mark in eighth position. "We went up the middle when the rest of the fleet was split to either side, and the middle worked for us. There was a lot of shifting of weight and shifting gears. We did a great job of that."
By the second windward mark on the twice-around windward-leeward course, Stout was leading the fleet, with Brigden and Alison following.
"Downwind we only had to jibe and led the whole way to the finish. There was excellent pressure for us. There was a lot of easing and trimming the whole time to the finish."
Trimming for Stout is Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Susan TAYLOR of Annapolis.
Another local team skippered by Nancy HABERLAND nipped at Alison's heels and caught her on the final downwind run to the finish. Haberland's third place would have served her well except that she had started prematurely and incurred a 20% penalty after restarting. The mathematics of it all added 16 points to her score instead of three, and she sits in seventh overall, losing two positions on the scoreboard since yesterday. Haberland, a sailing coach for the U.S. Naval Academy and a 2004 Olympic hopeful in the Yngling class, is sailing against other Olympic hopefuls, including both Alison and Barkow, this week out on Chesapeake Bay.
A total of 17 Maryland teams, comprised of four women each, are competing among the 66 international teams in town. The regatta, the world's largest of its kind for women, has been held every other year since 1985, and this is the second time it has been held in Annapolis, after having been moved here from Newport, R.I.
A second race was started but abandoned when it was clear that the fleet would not finish the race within the two-hour time limit. The Race Committee will attempt to re-sail the race tomorrow along with two other scheduled races.
"It was definitely the hardest day we have sailed out there,"
said Kylie JAMESON, skipper aboard one of three New Zealand entries. "This morning's race had the first few boats crossing the finish line whilst most of the fleet were still more than a leg behind. The second race saw the first boats go around the first leeward mark in reasonable wind and then the breeze just turned off. The Race Committee did the right thing by not keeping us out there."
The five-day, 10-race series will conclude on Friday and be followed by a gala Rolex Awards Ceremony at Annapolis Yacht Club, host to the regatta, where the winning team will receive a Rolex timepiece