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Barkow and crew defend women’s keelboat title

Sally Barkow of Nashotah, Wis., and her crew of Debbie Capozzi of Bayport, N.Y., Carrie Howe of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., and Annie Lush of England repeated as champions of US Sailing’s 2005 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, Sept. 17-23, in Annapolis, Md.

The four women clinched the title at the conclusion of the fourth of five scheduled race days on Chesapeake Bay. With a scoreline totaling 14 points in 10 races, Barkow’s team topped a 42-boat fleet stocked with impressive competitors such as Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year Cory Sertl of Rochester, N.Y., and Jody Swanson of Buffalo, N.Y., who finished in second and third place, respectively. The championship was hosted at the Annapolis Yacht Club.

“It feels fantastic to win for a second time,” said Barkow, who sails with Capozzi and Howe regularly on the international Olympic Yngling circuit, and adds Lush, also a 2008 Olympic Yngling hopeful for her home country, when a competition dictates the need for a fourth crew member.

Barkow and crew, all under the age of 25, had just flown in from France where they dominated 11 top-ranked international teams at the St. Quay International Women’s Match Race.

“We make sure when we’re on the water, we’re on the water and racing hard,” said Barkow.

By the second day of racing, Barkow and her Team 7 crew had established themselves as the team to beat, with straightforward victories in two of three races run. And by the third day, Barkow’s was close to an untouchable score. With eight races completed, Barkow had posted five victories and no finish worse than a third. She claimed two of the victories on Day 3 in 10-14 knot breezes.

The regatta’s fourth day turned out to be the final day for Barkow and crew. Two races were held, and for the first time in the week Barkow struggled. The 15th-place finish turned into the team’s one drop score. With one race to be sailed on the final day, it was declared that Barkow had won the regatta. The scores after Day 4 would stand as the final results.

New Orleans sailor authors feel-good win

At the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Sailing Championship, which wrapped up Sept. 16 off Rye, N.Y., the same champions took home trophies as in 2003, the last time the two events were held concurrently.

Zack Fanberg of New Orleans, who sailed with his wife, Sara, and with Marcus Eagan of Metairie, La., enters the history books of the U.S. Men’s Sailing Championship for being only the second skipper in the event’s 53-year history to win the event three consecutive years.

In the U.S. Women’s Championship, Joni Palmer of Annapolis, Md., won the championship for a second time, still sailing with the same crew that helped her win in 2003: Meredith Dodd of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Carrie Carpenter of Oakland, Md.

Sailed in Flying Scots, the two championships were hosted concurrently by American Yacht Club in Rye, N.Y.

The competition was very tight throughout the 11 races at the U.S. Men’s Championship, and it all came down to the last race. Fanberg was tied in points with Ken Wolfe of Dallas, and the two teams had to battle it out for the title in the final race. The teams were within feet of each other throughout the last race and came very close to hitting each other at the last jibe-mark. In the end, Fanberg came in first and Wolfe — with crew Jake Scott of La Porte, Texas and Jameson Rabbitt of Irving, Texas — a very close second. The final results indicate just how close that was: Wolfe finished just one point behind Fanberg.

For Fanberg, his impressive win was somewhat bittersweet: Fanberg and his wife Sara, who crewed for him at the event, lost their home in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast region. It wasn’t easy for them to decide whether they’d compete in the event, considering everything they and their families were going through.

“It took us a while to decide whether we would go and once we made the decision, we felt guilty, but it was a nice little break.” In the end, it may have been the right decision: they get to take home U.S. Sailing’s Mallory Cup for a third consecutive year, something that only the well-known Buddy Melges has done. He won the championship from 1959 to 1961.

Joni Palmer made her mark at the U.S. Women’s Championship, winning U.S. Sailing’s Adams Trophy for a second time, having last won it in 2003. In 2004 Palmer came very close to winning the championship, finishing second.

This time around Palmer had it all under control, winning four of the 10 races, and, with 22 points total, finishing nine points ahead of Theresa Brooks of Key West, Fla., and her crew of Caroline Grove of Sullivans Islands, S.C., and Jessica Koenig of Charleston, S.C.