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ROLEX OSPREY CUP SET FOR OCTOBER 18-21
Scheduled for October 18-21, the regatta will feature 10 international teams, including the world's #3 ranked Team Acuity, skippered by Katie Spithill (Pittwater, Australia). Spithill, the runner-up at the 2007 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, will compete against nine other top skippers including #4 ranked Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), a two-time world champion and Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, and Liz Baylis (San Rafael, Calif.), also a past Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and the current U.S. Women's Match Racing champion. Racing takes place daily on Tampa Bay in Sonar class keelboats, within viewing range of the St. Petersburg Municipal Pier.
"We expect to improve on a few parts of the race course that are a little unpolished for us," said Barkow, who recently won the ISAF Grade 1 Trentino Women's Match Race, in Italy, and the 2007 Boat U.S./Santa Maria Cup. In addition to her team's success in match racing, Team 7 is working toward a berth at the 2008 Olympic Games, in the Yngling.
Another Olympic hopeful competing is Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), who this week is competing in Newport, R.I. at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the Laser Radial. Tunnicliffe finished in second place in the 2006 Rolex Osprey Cup to Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.) and again in 2005 to Giulia Conti (Toscolano Maderno, Italy).
Conti, like Tunnicliffe, has been concentrating on Olympic-level sailing and has done little match racing, since winning the 2005 Rolex Osprey Cup. "It's been a long time since we have match-raced, more than one year," said Conti, who along with her bow crew Giovanna Micol are ranked #1 in the world in the Olympic 470 class and will represent Italy at the Games in China. "This regatta is a good way to test our skills and see if we can still sail among the top world's match racers."
One skipper who has spent her time concentrating on things other than sailing is Caroline Béjar, who recently graduated from medical school. Béjar, from Brazil, is competing in the Rolex Osprey Cup for the first time. Although relatively new to match racing, she recently won the Match Race Brazil, an open event, which contributed to her rise to #56 in the world rankings. Her crew includes Andrea Grael, a Yngling sailor married to well-known Olympic medalist Torben Grael; and Isabel Ficker and Lara Zanni, former world champions in the 420 class.
Two competitors received invitations to this event based on their performance at the Rolex Women's Match, a grade 3 event held this past April at the SPYC: winner Liz Baylis and runner-up Rachel Silverstein (St. Petersburg), an up-and-coming match racer who is ranked #63.
The schedule includes a practice race on Wednesday, October 17. Daily racing - beginning at 9:30am on Thurs., Oct. 18 and 9:00am on Friday through Sun., Oct. 21 - takes place near the St. Petersburg Municipal Pier, making spectating easy and enjoyable from shore. The format consists of a double round robin, with knockout (first to win 3 points) semi-final and final rounds scheduled at the end of the round robins.
The 10 competing teams, listed by skipper (current world ranking), in alphabetical order:
1. Sally Barkow (#4, Nashotah, Wis.) with crew Debbie Capozzi, Annie Lush and Lindsay Bartel.
2. Liz Baylis (#13, San Rafael, Calif.) with crew Lee Icyda, Suzy Leech and Karina Shelton
3. Caroline Béjar (#56, Brazil) with crew Andrea Grael, Isabel Ficker and Laura Zanni
4. Giulia Conti (#52, Toscolano Maderno, Italy) with crew Alessandra Marenzi, Giulia Mazzoti and Giovanna Micol
5. Sabrina Gurioli (#11, Forli, Italy) with crew Elena Orioli, Marta Reynes Nicolau and Lisa Lardani
6. Sandy Hayes (#18, Scituate, Mass.) with crew Cindy Olsen, Kathryn Zainea and Phyllis Karlberg
7. Katy Lovell (#20, New Orleans, Louisiana) with crew Alice Manard, Ann Graham and Carla Schiefer
8. Rachael Silverstein (#63, St. Petersburg, Fla.) with crew Jee Lee, Becca Thomas and Kristen Herman
9. Katie Spithill (#3, Pittwater, Australia) with crew Nina Curtis, Jessica Eastwell and Kristen Short
10. Anna Tunnicliffe (#35, Plantation, Fla.) with crew Liz Bower, Ali Sharpe and Molly Vandermoer
For more information about the Rolex Osprey Cup, including results, go to www.rolexwomensmatch.org or contact Pat Seidenspinner at 727-522-0723 or email email@example.com.
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photos by Tim Mavers-Chance