Team Breault Wins U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship

USWMRC15 Final Race_400Newport Beach, Calif. (August 16, 2015 ) – Newport Beach offered another spectacular backdrop for match racing once again this weekend, as the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship came to a climactic finish on Sunday. Janel Zarkowsky and Nicole Breault clashed in a winner-take-all final series after Sunday’s semifinal knock-out round and two round robin stages completed by the seven teams Friday and Saturday.

In the end, it was Breault (San Francisco, Calif.) and crew Molly Carapiet (San Francisco, Calif.), Karen Loutzenheiser (Santa Cruz, Calif.), and Emily Hill (Miami, Fla.) who earned the right to hoist the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy in Southern California on Sunday. The win for Breault was extra special after placing second last year to Stephanie Roble.

“A lot of the challenges with the racing had to do with getting used to the boats and light air,” said Breault. “We were trying to learn enough to be confident in our pre-starts and our speed. When we were doing the pre-start in the first finals race I got a good feeling. We talked a lot about possibly shifting to more fleet racing tactics and decisions. We made tactical decisions to lay the mark, get air on them, sail high to give them shadow, and keep extending boat lengths.”

The win for Breault earned her a bid to race at the 2015 Buddy Melges Challenge on September 17-20 at Sail Sheboygan (Wis.) and the 2015 U.S. Match Racing Championship on October 10-12 at Oakcliff Sailing (N.Y.).

They defeated a very talented and experienced match racing team comprised of Zarkowsky (Annapolis, Md.) and crew Rebecca Dellenbaugh (Easton, Conn.), Amanda Callahan (Portsmouth, R.I.), and Isabelle Luzuriaga (Charleston, S.C.). Zarkowsky crewed for Roble last year and Callahan crewed for Sally Barkow’s 2011 championship team. Zarkowsky, Dellenbaugh, and Callahan crewed for Dave Dellenbaugh’s 2013 U.S. Match Racing Championship team.

“This was only my second match racing event as the driver,” said Zarkowsky. “I’m still learning a lot. Stephanie couldn’t accept the invite this year, but she wanted someone from our team to represent us. We were not intimidated going into the finals because we beat them twice. We misjudged time and distance in the pre-starts, and it was lumpy and light, so we made some critical errors in those first two races. The third race was close but they got the cross on us at the second windward mark, and she was on layline and we went a little further past and she was gone.”

Zarkowsky and Breault each advanced to the finals after sweeping their semifinal opponents, 3-0. Breault defeated Morgan Wilson (Port Washington, N.Y.), while Zarkowsky beat Sandy Hayes (Scituate, Mass.).

Zarkowsky won the two round robin match-ups against Breault. Zarkowsky was the number one seed entering the semifinals with an 11-1 record. Breault was the number two seed with a 10-2 mark. Zarkowsky’s only loss came against Wilson.

By placing runner-up, Zarkowsky’s team earned the Mrs. Charles Francis Adams Memorial Trophy.

The 2015 edition of the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship was hosted by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Seven talented teams of four raced Governor’s Cup 21 sailboats over three days after two days of clinics and practice. This weekend’s racing took place in the Pacific Ocean offshore of the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach.

For an outstanding play-by-play account of today’s finals and semifinals, including photos, visit the Tweeter feed at #WomensMatch15.

For results, standings, list of teams, and more information on the 2015 U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship, please visit the event website. This championship is sponsored by Gill North America, Old Pulteney, and Switlik Survival Products.

Social Media Highlights:

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