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RYA Womens Winter Challenge Match Racing Championship

by Karenza Morton, RYA on 25 Feb 2008 22-24 February 2008

Leroy seals third Women’s Winter Challenge crown

World number one Claire Leroy lived up to her billing as the clear event favourite as she produced a faultless display to regain the RYA Women’s Winter Challenge Match Racing Championship crown this weekend (22-24 February).

Leroy, who was named the ISAF World Sailor of the Year in November following her World and European match racing titles in 2007, made light work of a world class field at Queen Mary Sailing Club to tie up her third Championship victory without losing a race over the three days.

The Frenchwoman won her first Women’s Winter Challenge Championship in 2005 and successfully defended her crown the following year before relinquishing the title last year as Finland’s Silja Lehtinen pulled off a superb Finals win.

But this time it was Lehtinen, one of six of the top 10 ranked females in world match racing battling it out at Queen Mary, who was forced to settle for second spot as Leroy’s immaculate series left the rest of the field in her wake.

A tough opening day saw several of the sailors finding themselves swimming in the icy waters of Queen Mary as huge gusts from a range of directions made conditions difficult.

But the quality of the field shone through in the end as World number nine Linda Rahm (SWE) secured third spot.

Meanwhile, fourth place for Skandia Team GBR’s Lucy Macgregor ensured she finished the top placed Brit at Queen Mary qualifying her to represent Great Britain in the ISAF Nations Cup later this year.

Leroy’s victory has now qualified her for the RYA Winter Challenge Match Racing Series Grand Final at Queen Mary from Friday 7 – Sunday 9 March where the winners and runners-up from all the Series qualifiers over this winter are scheduled to battle it out for the overall title.

RYA Women’s Winter Challenge Match Racing Championship final results:

  1. Claire Leroy (FRA), Morgane Gautier, Claire Peuvot, Elodie Bertrand, Marcie Riou
  2. Silja Lehtinen (FIN), Erica Backstrom, Maria Kiemetz, Vivi Fleming-Lehtinen, Livia Varesmaa
  3. Linda Rahm (SWE), Helena Barne, Marie O’berg, Lotta Harrysson, Annika Olsson
  4. Lucy Macgregor (GBR), Annie Lush, Mary Rook, Sue Monson, Sophie Esson
  5. Jenny Axhede (SWE), Nina Bake, Johanna Sarnia, Malin Svedmyr, Annika Carlunger
  6. Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN), Christel Jappe Teglers, Nathalia Nyeland, Signe Fabricius Eggenksen, Joan Vestergaard Hansen
  7. Silke Hahlbrock (GER), Maren Hahlbrock, Marian Rammed, Kerstin Schult, Jody Slater
  8. Gemma Farrell (GBR), Lucy Burn, Imogen Wellington, Charlotte Laurence, Lauren Martel
  9. Josie Gibson (GBR), Jo Ryley, Bex Marriot, Barbara Watson, Rachel Larman
  10. Lotte Meldgaard Pederson (DEN), Christina Refu, Inge Ebbensgoard, Kristina Stenstrom, Mia Nielson

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