Sally Barkow: A Super Star In The Making?
Three World Championships In Four Months

By Thom Burns

Sally Barkow has put together an unbelievable string of victories since graduating from college racing a couple of years ago. The Nashotah, Wisconsin native has stepped it up several rungs this year. The past four months have been nothing short of stellar. In July Barkow and crew, Carrie Howe from Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan and Debbie Capozzi from Bayport, New York, were crowned World Champions in the Olympic Class Yngling keelboat raced on Lake Mondsee, Austria.

Photo Credit Bob Grieser PPL

In September Barkow added Annie Lush from Great Britain to her crew and successfully defended their 2003 upset in the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship.
In October the same team switched gears to match racing and took on the world’s best in Bermuda. Sally and her team recovered from two penalties which are often fatal in match racing to win the finals of the 2005 Virtual Spectator ISAF Women’s World Match Racing Championship in a 3-0 sweep of veteran American sailor, Betsy Alison from Newport, Rhode Island.

New Zealand sailing commentator, Peter Montgomery declared, “Sally Barkow is a star. She came back from behind twice in three matches against Betsy Alison, a world-class sailor in her own right.”

Barkow has earned her stripes with skill, strength and impressive seamanship skills. Carrie Howe fell overboard. Barkow pulled her back aboard half way through a race. Barkow also scooped a crewmate out of the water in the 2003 International Women’s Keelboat Championships.

Barkow was quick to credit her crew, “We had some aggressive racing in the pre-start today and then received two penalties. It is so easy to make a mistake in match racing, but we made very few mistakes in our overall sailing. I have a team with great instincts when it comes to calling the breeze and I think that was critical to our results.”

Who would have thought that a lake sailor from the American Midwest could achieve so much so fast? Barkow and her crew have quickly developed a style of both getting ahead early and showing a consistency to be envied. Some of this racing against world class competition wasn’t that close. In the Olympic Yngling class, Barkow and team took a nine point lead into the final race and covered both the second and third place boats to ensure victory.

In the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, they mathematically secured first place overall with a day to spare. Six first place finishes in ten races in a forty-two boat fleet is a rare feat.

In the Virtual Spectator World’s match racing championships it is unheard of to defeat a team like Betsy Alison 3-0 while incurring two penalties.

The start of race 10 with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the background. Photo: Dan Nerney/Rolex

Sally Barkow is a midwesterner to tell your daughters about while the rest of us watch in awe and support in earnest.

Thom Burns publishes Northern Breezes and Sailing Breezes Internet Magazines.

Yngling Worlds
July 15–23, 2005, Austria

The American team of Sally Barkow, Carrie Howe and Debbie Capozzi have been crowned World Champions after the final race in the ISAF Grade W Yngling World Championship on Lake Mondsee, Austria, yesterday.

Left to right, Sally Barkow on helm, Annie Lush, Debbie Capozzi and Carrie Howe. Photo: Dan Nerney/Rolex

A lack of wind meant the start of race ten was delayed until just before the 1500 hours local time deadline. Barkow, Howe and Capozzi held a nine point lead over Sharon Ferris, Raynor Smeal and Ashley Holtum (NZL), who in turn were defending a two point gap to the third place Russian team of Vlada Ilienko, Ekaterina Kovalenko and Natalia Gaponovich.

The three finished together in the final race, with Barkow, Howe and Capozzi edging out Ferris, Smeal and Holtum to finish one place above them in eleventh, with the Russians following in 13th. Barkow then adds the Yngling World title to the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship title she won in Annapolis last year. The New Zealanders secure second place, whilst Ilienko takes the bronze medal in only her fourth ISAF Graded event in the Yngling, after her move from the 470.

Top Ten Women Results:
1. Sally Barkow / Carrie Howe / Debbie Capozzi, USA, 48; 2. Sharon Ferris / Raynor Smeal / Ashley Holtum, NZL, 58; 3. Vlada Ilienko / Ekaterina Kovalenko / Natalia Gaponovich, RUS, 61; 4. Nicola Bethwaite / Karyn Gojnich / Helen Impey, AUS, 67.6; 5. Anna Basalkina / Galina Loukachova / Vladislava Ukraintseva, RUS, 79; 6. Hannah Swett Laura Schmidt Melissa Purdy, USA, 84; 7. Sarah Ayton Anne Lush Liza Macdonald, GBR, 85; 8. Ulrike Schümann Runa Kappel Ute Höpfner, GER, 86; 9. Monica Azon Graciela Pisonero Sandra Azon, ESP, 87; 10. Ruslana Taran Svetlana Mate

US Sailing’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship
Annapolis, MD
September 17 - 23, 2005

Sally Barkow (Nashotah, WI) and crew mathematically secured first place overall with a day to spare. Barkow and crew claimed six first-place finishes in ten races. Photo: Dan Nerney/Rolex

Olympic Hopefuls Barkow, Capozzi, Howe, Lush Successfully Defend Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship.

Sally Barkow of Nashotah, Wis. and her crew of Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) and Annie Lush (Poole, U.K.) have become repeat champions of one of the world’s most prestigious women’s sailing regattas: US SAILING's 2005 Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC). The four women, sailing as Team 7, 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, Team 7 topped a 42-boat fleet stocked with impressive competitors such as Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year Cory Sertl (Rochester, N.Y.) and Jody Swanson (Buffalo, N.Y.), who finished in second and third-place, respectively. Racing took place on Chesapeake Bay and was hosted at the Annapolis Yacht Club, in Annapolis, Md.

"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. "We’re pretty lucky to win it with one race to spare. We took every race and sailed consistently, and that was the game." 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. "We don’t think about what other people think about us or how we’re supposed to be doing. We’re thinking about what we should be doing on the water, and that’s what we’re focused on. We try to do a good job putting the right things in our head instead of thinking about the things that make us nervous."

Swanson reflected on the week of sailing: "Sally put it all in perspective," she said. "Even though we were close, she set the bar so high. There was Sally, and then there was the rest of us. I’m so happy for her, because she sailed so well. I just wish we could’ve been better competition for her. We had a great week. It’s a great event and it’s always fun sailing because there is a bunch of us who are really close, so it’s always fun to see everyone."
The week’s first race on Monday was delayed until after 3 p.m. when the wind finally materialized. The wait was worth it as the Race Committee held two races in rapid succession to complete the first of five racing days scheduled.

Sertl started off the series with an impressive victory that saw her Team Lucy finish at least five boat lengths ahead of the fleet. About the performance, Sertl explained, "We cleared to the right and had a nice lane. It's easy when you're out in front; you don't have to worry about the other boats." Sertl's theory was seriously tested in the second race, when a so-so start made it necessary for her to tack six times in the first minute to get a clear lane. It was a struggle to finish ninth in that race, and the combined scores for the day left her in third overall, while Barkow moved to the top of the scoreboard, a position she would maintain throughout the series.

Barkow, who had finished third in the first race, took off like a bullet in the second. The span between her boat and the fleet at the finish was many times over what Sertl had accomplished. "Our start was good in the first race, at the boat end, but the boats that got to the right of us made out," she said. "In the second race, we were halfway down the starting line and pulled the trigger at the right time. We had good speed off the line and better wind in that race."

Barkow said she was more relaxed this time around. "That's because we have more confidence in our talent," she said. "That comes with sailing full time as a team. Phenomenal crew work is what it comes down to."

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.

"We might make it look easy, but it's really hard work," said Barkow. "We love the J/22. It's easy for us to jump in it and go." Directly behind Barkow, with 13 points, was Swanson with Sertl following in third with 15 points.

The top foreign team of the regatta, Sharon Ferris of New Zealand, took fourth-place that day and fifth place overall. Ferris represented her country at the 2004 Olympic Sailing Regatta, sailing to seventh in the Yngling class and has announced her intent to win a berth for the 2008 Olympic Games. The team finished second to Barkow's team at the 2005 Yngling Worlds.

2005 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship Final results:

10 races, J/22 class keelboats, 42 teams
Place, Skipper, Hometown, Total points
1. Sally Barkow, Nashotah, Wis. , 14; 2. Cory Sertl, Rochester, N.Y., 38; 3. Jody Swanson, Buffalo, N.Y. , 47; 4. Carol Cronin, Jamestown, R.I., 48; 5. Sharon Ferris, New Zealand, 57; 6. JoAnn Fisher, Arnold, Md., 65; 7. Lorie Stout, Annapolis, Md., 73; 8. Julie Sitzmann, Orr’s Island, Maine, 76; 9. Anna Tunnicliffe, Norfolk, Va., 88; 10. Derby Anderson, Annapolis, Md., 89; 11. Dominique Provoyeur, South Africa, 92; 12. Sandy Adzick, Haverford, Penn., 98; 13. Phebe King, Annapolis, Md., 109; 14. Robin Jackson, Littleton, Colo., 134; 15. Melinda Berge, Annapolis, Md., 144; 16. Sue Mikulski, Annapolis, Md., 156; 17. Bell Carty, Annapolis, Md., 159; 18. Lee Icyda, Stuart, Fla., 164; 19. Sara Morgan Watters, Annapolis, Md., 188; 20. Donna Womble, Monterey, Calif., 189; 21. Kathy Parks, Shady Side, Md., 193; 22. Ann Farmelo, East Amherst, N.Y., 198; 23. Susan Mattis Turnham, Duluth, Minn., 214; 24. Yvonne Urban, Annapolis, Md., 217; 25. Kathy Irwin, Heath, Texas, 217; 26. Cheryl Jersey, Annapolis, Md., 218; 27. Lisa Downey, North Easton, Mass., 222; 28. Betsy Lefler, Annapolis, Md., 226; 29. Gwen Gibson, Annapolis, Md., 227; 30. Jane Moon, Cayman Islands, 235; 31. Julie Goetschius, Seabrook, Texas, 255; 32. Elizabeth Barker, Lakewood, Ohio, 257; 33. Mimi Shea, Annapolis, Md., 264; 34. Skeeter Chilton, Sand Springs, Okla., 264; 35. Jamie Matuszak, Toledo, Ohio, 269; 36. Mia Anderson, Annapolis, Md., 284; 37. Danielle Gallo, New York, N.Y., 296; 38. Teresa L. Decker, Charlotte, N.C., 297; 39. Stephanie McMahon, Rochester, N.Y., 316; 40. Jenny Child, Minneapolis, Minn., 326; 41. Jan Rupert, St. Paul, Minn., 336; 42. Linda Bays, Edmond, Okla., 336.

Sally Barkow leads Nina Braestrup, Denmark to win semi-final match 2-0. Photo: Bob Grieser/PPL

Americans Dominate Match Race World Championship

October 15-18, 2005

By Laurie Fullerton

On the final day of racing on Hamilton harbour, Sally Barkow, the defending ISAF world champion showed Bermudians and the world what a lake sailor from the American Midwest can do when she and her team recovered from two penalties to win the 2005 Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Worlds Match Racing Championship. She defeated veteran American sailor Betsy Alison from Newport, Rhode Island 3-0.

Betsy Alison forced Claire Leroy to collide and lose her semi-final match to Alison. Photo: Bob Grieser/PPL

"Sally Barkow is a star," said world-renowned commentator Peter J. Montgomery. "She came back from behind twice in three matches against Betsy Alison, a world-class sailor in her own right."

Barkow took on both the world's best sailors and Bermuda's flukiest breezes to power up the race course in near flawless sailing today. With teammates Debbie Capozzi, Carrie Howe and Annie Lush, the young Americans earned their stripes on the water with skill and strength. To get to these finals they used impressive seamanship abilities as well as their teammate Carrie Howe fell overboard and Barkow had to pull her back on board mid-way through a race.

"We had some aggressive racing in the pre-start today and then received two penalties," Barkow said. "It is so easy to make a mistake in match racing, but we made very few mistakes in our overall sailing. I have a team with great instincts when it comes to calling the breeze and I think that was critical to our results."

While Barkow won the first race, light airs delayed further racing until late afternoon. She then incurred a penalty during the next pre-start, but erased it at the top mark and took the lead. It set the tone for the final race where Barkow took the lead at the top mark with a spectacular spinnaker set and went on to take the winning gun.

"When we came to the top mark in the last race I got a left shift and opened up the lead. I looked back and said, 'Did Betsy drop an anchor?'"

"We sailed a really good regatta and we are proud of what Sally did and that we had two Americans in the finals as it shows that in match racing we can really step up to the plate," Alison said. "This whole field has expanded and it is great to see so many good women sailors out there. Everyone here had the talent to win and we are not disappointed with our second place finish."