ISAF Grade 3 Miami Invitational day 1 and after a long but near-perfect day of twelve flights of match race sailing, Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award winner Anna Tunnicliffe and her Team Tunnicliffe are leading the event, organized by the Chicago Match Race Center (CMRC) and Sail Sheboygan. On a record of 9-3, she and runner-up Silja Lehtinen and her Team Finland on a record of 8-2 are ahead of the pack of nine crews that include both Women's and Open teams racing in Elliott 6M class keelboats.
Besides having prowess in match race positioning, those teams that have experience in boat handling these small keelboats have performed well in today's results. With over a year of training in the Elliott 6M's in aspiration for the 2012 Olympic Games, its no wonder that Tunnicliffe, Lehtinen, and Genny Tulloch and her GetSailing team have dominated the top four positions, while the Open teams have been climbing a learning curve to understand the nuances of these three-person keelboats.
And among the Open teams, those who have had recent exposure to small-boat racing have done the best: third-placed Taylor Canfield, for example, is a reigning Intercollegiate champion from Boston College, but has also won match race events at CMRC and elsewhere in North America. And while the Women's teams have been dominating many of their matches with better boathandling, the Open teams that are closer to their total weight targets have shown a slight advantage in upwind speed, and are improving with every flight to close the gaps.
So for tomorrow the teams will be offered another promising forecast for perfect match race sailing: easterly winds of 9-15 knots should allow completion of the double Round Robin, followed by a second stage of three flights among the top four teams in the Gold Fleet and Silver fleet.
Results after 12 flights completed:
1. Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) 9-3
2. Silja Lehtinen (USA) 8-2
3. Taylor Canfield (ISV) 8-3
4. Genny Tulloch (USA) 7-3
5. Steve Hunt (USA) 6-5
6. Sally Barkow (USA) 5-5
7. Andrew Campbell (USA) 4-7
8. Don Wilson (USA) 1-10
9. Leo Vasiliev (USA) 0-11
CMRC website www.chicagomatchracecenter.com