by Dana Paxton
The U.S. Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta is set to take place in Weymouth, England from May 4-9. The event is organized by US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport and the Olympic Sailing Committee. The USA’s top Olympic hopefuls in Women’s Match Racing prepare for this final event that will decide which sailors will make up the Women’s Match Racing Olympic Team.
Match Racing: Tunnicliffe and Roca on day four of the Semaine Olympique Francaise 2012
The four teams competing advanced to this event – the second, and final, selection event for the 2012 Olympic Team – by finishing in the top four at the U.S. Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta, part one, October 26-30 at Key Biscayne Yacht Club, in Miami, Fla.
Competing teams in order of ISAF ranking (April 18) with skipper (skipper hometown), crew, crew:
Number one - Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, FL) with Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.)
Number six - Sally Barkow (Nashotah, WI), with Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham (Miami, Fla.) and Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.)
Number ten - Genny Tulloch (Sausalito, CA) with Alice Manard Leonard (East Haven, Conn.) and Jenn Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.)
Number twenty-eight - Stephanie Roble (East Troy, WI) with Maggie Shea (Chicago, Ill.) and Darby Smith (Chicago, Ill.)
The teams headed by Tunnicliffe, Barkow and Tulloch are members of US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider.
The event format will consist of two stages. Stage 1 – Semifinal Knockout Series, in which the winner of each semifinal series will be the first boat to score six points. As the top-ranked skipper, Anna Tunnicliffe selected Stephanie Roble as her opponent in this stage. Sally Barkow and Genny Tulloch will compete in the other Semifinal Series match.
The winner of each of the two Semifinal Knockout Series matches will advance to Stage 2 – the Final Knockout Series, which is also a 'first to win six matches' round. The winner will represent USA at the 2012 Olympic Games. The Olympic Sailing Regatta will be held July 27 – August 12, 2012, in Weymouth and Portland, located on the southern coast of England, approximately 120 miles southwest of London.
Sally Barkow leads after five races - Rolex International Women's Keelboat 2011
'Very soon we will have a complete 2012 US Olympic Sailing Team,' said Dean Brenner (Wallingford, Conn.), Chairman of the Olympic Sailing Committee. 'It is always a long road to the Olympic Games for the athletes, and the Women’s Match Racing selection is almost complete. Each of the four teams competing this week has put in a tremendous effort preparing for the Trials. We’re proud of each and every sailor, and their hard work and dedication to the Olympic dream.'
The OSC representative for the event is Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.), 2004 Olympian in women’s keelboat (Yngling); principal race officer is Tom Duggan (Hyannis, Mass.); women’s match racing consultant is Liz Baylis (San Rafael, Calif.), executive director of Women’s International Match Racing Association (WIMRA); and chief umpire is Tom Rinda (Home).
US Sailing selected the 13 athletes in the nine fleet racing Olympic events based on two previous events: 2011 Sail for Gold and 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships. The USA qualified in each of the 10 events selected for the 2012 Olympic Games with a maximum team size of 16.
The 10 sailing events selected for the 2012 Olympic Games are: Finn (Heavyweight Dinghy); Laser Radial (Women’s One Person Dinghy); Laser (Men’s One Person Dinghy); 470 Men (Men’s Two Person Dinghy); 470 Women (Women’s Two Person Dinghy); 49er (Men’s Two Person Dinghy High Performance); RS:X (Men’s Windsurfer); RS:X (Women’s Windsurfer); Star (Men’s Keelboat); and Elliott 6m (Women’s Match Racing).
All selection procedures have been reviewed and approved by the USOC Team Selection Working Group.
US Sailing Team Olympic Selection Procedures
US Sailing Team website