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Denmark's New World Champion

by Dana Paxton on 3 Dec 2000

St. Petersburg, Fla. (December 2, 2000) - Dorte Jensen of Denmark won the
Rolex 2000 ISAF Women's World Match Racing Championship today, topping off
a week of flawless teamwork and tactical excellence that led her to the top
of every round she sailed. After a lack of wind in the afternoon forced
the cancellation of the finals, the results were based on the semifinal
round and Jensen was declared the winner. In addition an ISAF gold medal,
Jensen received a Stainless Steel Lady Datejust Rolex timepiece presented
by Bill Sandberg, Manager of Advertising and Promotion, Rolex Watch, U.S.A.

'It would have been better to settle the championship on the water,' said
Jensen, who sailed with Annette Strom, Rachel Kiel and Helle Jespersen (all
DEN). 'But this afternoon was a very nervous time for me. Now that I've
won, it feels fantastic. Just as good as when we won last year.'

To take advantage of the early morning wind on Tampa Bay, the St.
Petersburg Yacht Club Race Committee set off at dawn, and decreed that the
semis would be a best-of-three series, instead of the originally planned
best-of-five. The strategy worked for a short time, as five knots of wind
appeared to complete one race in the semifinal round.

Jensen dominated Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson (GBR) off the
line and advanced to the finals.

Then it was Marie Bjorling's (SWE) turn to win the pre-start against Betsy
Alison (Newport, R.I., USA) and stretch her lead to the finish and into the
final round. Bjorling, sailing with Anna Holmdahl, Elisabeth Nilsson,
Annika Carlunger (all SWE), was a last-minute replacement in this regatta,
and found that her three years of sailing with the same team had come
together this week. 'We had great teamwork and good speed,' she said. 'I
had a few tricks up my sleeve for the pre-start if the wind had been
stronger, but I'm really pleased with our result this week.'

By mid-morning the same pattern of dying breeze that competitors had come
to dread all week reappeared, leaving a fleet of Sonars to float under the
hot winter sun.

At noon everyone returned to the docks to cool off and wait for the wind,
which never materialized. As the cut-off time for starting a race was 4:00
p.m., the regatta was called and Jensen became the first two-time ISAF
Women's World Match Racing Champion.

The 1998 winner of this event, Betsy Alison, was looking forward to more
racing in an event she has become synonymous with. She and her regular
crew of Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.), Nancy Haberland (Annapolis, Md.)
and Dini Hall (Providence, R.I.) had come to this regatta with the
intention of winning, but were satisfied with third place.

Robertson was disappointed to not be able to race against Alison in the
petit-final for third and fourth place. 'Considering our lack of match
racing this year, we sailed really well,' she said. 'I think we could have
beaten Betsy if we had been given the chance.' Robertson's team this week
included Jo Grindley, Sam Davies and Inga Leask (all GBR).

In the consolation round for 5th and 6th place Klaartje Zuiderbaan (NED)
beat Hannah Swett (Jamestown, R.I.), while Katie Spithill (AUS) defeated
Paula Lewin (BER) for 7th and 8th place, respectively.

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