by Jake Fish
2014 US Women's Match Race Championship - Stephanie Roble’s Epic Match Racing Team will add the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy to their extinguished list of accomplishments. Roble defeated Nicole Breault’s team, two - zero, in Sunday’s final series to win the 2014 U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship, hosted by Oakcliff Sailing.
U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship
The win for Roble marks her first U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship title in five attempts. Roble receives an invitation to the 2014 U.S. Match Racing Championship, which will be sailed October 3-5, 2014 at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, Calif. She also receives an invitation to the 2014 Buddy Melges Challenge at Sail Sheboygan (Wis.) on September 23-28, 2014. The U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship Committee will be providing travel grants to the team for both events.
Crewing for Roble’s Epic Racing Team this week was Maggie Shea (Chicago, Ill.), Janel Zarkowsky (Annapolis, Md.), Martha Pitt (Newport, R.I.), Hollister Poole (Falmouth, Maine), Elizabeth Shaw (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada).
An exuberant Roble explained her team’s success this week: 'We expected light air this weekend and we got a wide range of conditions, including heavy breeze today. We did a great job getting in good position for the finals. We had our hands full in the finals with Nicole’s team. They led us along the track, but we were able to get some lead changes. I thought we had great boat handling and Maggie did an amazing job downwind on the kite, which is where we made most of our moves.'
Roble advanced to the Finals with a two - zero series win over Sandy Hayes (Scituate, Mass.) in this morning’s semifinals. Breault also advanced to the finals with a two - zero win over Katie Maxim (Napa, Calif.).
'We learned a lot this week in the Swedish Match 40s,' said Breault. 'At times we felt like we were in control and other times it got hectic. Our hats off to Stephanie’s team. In more breeze they were able to handle their shute better. We are looking forward to our next chance to race at this championship.
In the Petit Finals, Maxim edged Hayes to take third place honors. Local competitor Madeline Gill (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) won the four-team consolation round.
Roble placed third at the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship last June in Cork, Ireland. Roble is the third ranked women’s match racer in the world and number one in the U.S. She also won the 2013 Stena Match Cup Sweden Women’s Trophy. She returned to the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship after placing second last year in Chicago.
On Thursday, Oakcliff Executive Director Dawn Riley – a world-renowned sailor – conducted a match racing clinic for the competing teams. Oakcliff Sailing is one of the premier high-performance training centers in the country and was named a US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider National Training Center in 2013.
• Perpetual Trophies were awarded for first and second place: Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy (winner), Mrs. Charles Francis Adams Memorial Trophy (runner-up)
• US Sailing Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded to the skippers and crews placing first through third, respectively.