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Talented Fleet Prepares for 2009 U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship

Eight elite teams will gather in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to compete for the 2009 U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship (USWMRC) on Nov. 12-15, an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Grade 3 event. This year’s championship, hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club and sailed in IC 24s, features the return of several top performers from previous USWMRC events including 2008 Champion and US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) Member Anna Tunnicliffe.

Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist in the Laser Radial, has been increasingly active in women’s match racing over the past couple years. She returns to this year’s national championship with intentions of defending her crown with crew Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.), Liz Bower (Rochester, N.Y.), and new teammate, Alice Manard (Charleston, S.C.). Manard and Vandemoer are both members of USSTAG. In March, Tunnicliffe’s team finished third at the ISAF Nations Cup in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Tunnicliffe is currently ranked 13th by ISAF in women’s match racing. They have qualified for the U.S. Match Racing Championship in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Nov. 18-22. Tunnicliffe is US SAILING’s 2008 Yachtswoman of the Year and is also a finalist for the 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year.

USSTAG’s Genny Tulloch (San Francisco, Calif.), returns after losing in the finals to Tunnicliffe last year. Tulloch is joined by crew Chafee Emory (Newport, R.I.), Elizabeth Hall (Chevy Chase, Md.) and Elizabeth Kratzig (Miami Beach, Fla.). She is ranked 21st by ISAF in women’s match racing.

Another USSTAG member, Katy Lovell (New Orleans, La.), is a regular at the USWMRC and hopes to get over the hump this year. Lovell’s team lost in the quarterfinals last year to Tunnicliffe, and finished second in 2007, 2006 and 2005. She is joined by crew Kaitlin Storck (Huntington, N.Y.), Lyndsey Gibbons-Neff (Rosemont, Pa.) and USSTAG Member Dana Riley (San Rafael, Calif.).

Evan Brown (New York, N.Y.), a former three-time ISCA All-American skipper from Stanford and runner-up for the 2008 Quantum Female Sailor of the Year award, will try her hand in this national championship along with teammates, Margaret Lumkes (River Forest, Ill.), Jennifer Chamberlain (Annapolis, Md.) and Adrienne Patterson (Annapolis, Md.).

In addition to the many notable competitors in St. Thomas this week is US SAILING Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Dawn Riley (St. Clair Shores, Mich.), who is crewing for Jennifer Wilson (Chicago, Ill.).

The 2009 U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship for the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy, is sponsored locally by St. Thomas Radiology Associates, which is also sponsoring the 4th Annual St. Thomas Radiology Women’s Regatta & Tennis Tournament which takes place at the same time, and by Rolex Watch U.S.A., Dry Creek Vineyard, Predict Wind and Sail Proud, is part of US SAILING’s National Championship series. The first U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship was held at the Southern Yacht Club in November of 2001.

Complete results, daily recaps, and photos from the event will be posted on the event website at http://championships.ussailing.org/Adult/USWMRC.htm.

For more on the US SAILING National Championships, please visit http://championships.ussailing.org/.  

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