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USA's Genny Tulloch called Doctor at Perth 2011 Women’s Match Racing

by Shauna McGee Kinney on 14 Dec 2011
Genevieve Tulloch, Alice Manard Leonard and Jenn Chamberlin, Womens Match Racing December 9, 2011 off Fremantle, Australia. Richard Langdon /Ocean Images © http://www.oceanimages.co.uk
Genny Tulloch, skipper of the second USA Women’s Match Racing team called for the ‘Fremantle Doctor’, but the doctor was not doing house calls.

The repecharge leaders Macgregor (GBR) 13 wins two losses, Price (AUS) 11 wins four losses, Souter (AUS) 11 wins four losses, and Kjellberg (SWE) nine wins six losses tied with Hazard (NZL) nine wins six losses. joining Claire Leroy (FRA), Anne Tunnicliffe (USA) , Ekaterina Skudina and Mandy Mulder (NED-1) in the quarter finals.

The USA’s Genny Tulloch, Alice Mayard and Jenn Chamberlin ‘Team GETSailing’ finished out the World title quarter finals, with seven wins, eight losses and placing 11th overall.

All the teams in their group were hoping for breeze this week. Genny explains,

‘We were really excited to come to Perth to get experience in breezy conditions. But, the Doctor hasn’t come in. Even when it comes in, it doesn’t make it all the way into the inner harbour. Instead have a very shifty race underneath the container ships, the museum and inside of this working port.’

Genny’s talent and charisma comes from her variety of sailing experiences. Skipper Genny Tulloch is originally from Houston – Texas and started as a child in an Opti. Her competitive nature drew her to sail at Harvard University near Boston – Massachusetts. Her history includes being one of the top 470 skippers for the US Sailing Team.

In 2007, Genny expanded into offshore sailing and sailing media. She was the only female to make the 11 person ‘Morning Light’ race team that was featured in the Disney documentary released in 2008 by the same name. The film featured Morning Light’s journey over 10 days in the 2007 Transpac Race from Long Beach - California to Hawaii. Now as a skipper instead of a crew, Genny accepted the challenge of short laps,

If you are new to the match racing format, here’s a little background on this event. The Perth 2011 Women’s Match Racing started with 29 teams divided into two groups, A and B. Within each group, two boats at a time race against each other and the winners move up through a bracketed system. Each day, the teams with close scores are grouped so that pairs of boats with similar scores compete in the flights (races). The wins and losses determine the team’s overall placement in the event.

On Tuesday 13 December, Genny Tulloch’s USA Team was amongst 16 teams sailing in the four-day repechage round for the quarterfinal spots. The repechage is a bracket of boats that didn’t win the first round to make it into the initial Gold Seeding Group. In this repechage round, pairs of boats raced against each other to determine the quarter finalists.

It’s been easy for fans to watch the Women’s Match Racing progress. The Perth 2011 ISAF World Championships organizers designed the venue to allow spectators to watch the events. The trade off was, by moving the sailing closer to the spectators and near the shore, the race organizers and teams now had to adjust to fit the local geography.



The long, narrow area of the Fremantle Port’s inner harbour, where the Women’s Match Racing was being held, caused problems when storms rolled through and breezes blew over the short width of the channel. Genny describes how the sailors had to adapt,

‘All day yesterday and all day today we ended up doing four lap races -- which is very different from match racing. These were short courses. With the breeze conditions we’ve had we were racing side-to-side on the river. If the sea breeze was here, then we would race up and down the river.’

‘The downwinds don’t end up legitimate downwinds. They often end up one gybe downwind, or a one tack upwind. The race committee tries to change the marks, but if they are a [wind] shift behind on the marks, then they end up changing to the right mark and now the wind is at the left mark. It becomes one tack upwind and one gybe downwind again, because of the change of course instead of the breeze. When the breeze is across the river, it’s really tough sailing.’



Genny’s name (and voice) may sound familiar to sailing enthusiasts. She’s been a live commentator for the America’s Cup video coverage and supports making sailing a spectator sport. She contrasts her media experience with yesterday’s sailing,

‘This [format] is great for the spectators. I think a lot more people have been watching the match racing, because there is easy access. [The course] makes for really interesting match racing when the conditions are this shifty. The leads can change in a heartbeat. Out on the ocean we’d be further away and we’d have different sailing. While that would be less interesting for the spectators and easier on the sailors –it’s just a different race out there.’

The Women’s Match Racing continues through Friday 16 December. Even if we haven’t heard from ‘The Doctor’, this isn’t the last that we will hear from Genny Tulloch. Be sure to watch and listen, as Genny may be adding live commentary in the video feed for the remaining Perth 2011 events.

With Anna Tunnicliffe having qualified the USA in the Women's Match Racing the U.S. Olympic selection with be in Weymouth May 4-10th 2012 and Genny Tulloch and her team will have their last chance to make the London 2012 team then.




Websites:



Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships [http://www.perth2011.com/]

Women’s Match Racing [http://www.wimra.org/Regatta.asp ]

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