Italy's Giulia Conti and her crew won seven round-robin match races to capture the 2008 Rolex Osprey Cup last month in the waters off the Pier in downtown St. Petersburg.
Conti and teammates Nina Alessandra Marenzi, Alessandra Angelini, Giovanna Micol defeated American Debbie Capozzi's team in the final match format.
The women sailors, who came from all over the world, sailed a total of 78 match races Oct. 22-25 in four-person Sonar class keelboats.
Conti and crew member Micol represented Italy in the 470 class at the Beijing Olympics. In the semifinals, the Italians knocked out the highly ranked team led by the United Kingdom's Lucy Macgregor, the 2008 European champion.
In the other semifinal match, Capozzi, the U.S. Olympic Yingling class representative, knocked out France's Claire Leroy, the reigning Women's Match Racing World champion, to advance to the final.
With LeRoy finishing third and Macgregor fourth, the New Zealand team led by Samantha Osborne came in fifth, followed by American Katy Lovell in sixth, France's Anne-Claire Le Berre in seventh, JoAnn Fisher of Annapolis, Md., in eighth, St. Petersburg's Rachael Silverstein in ninth and Sandy Hayes of Scituate, Mass., in 10th.
America's Cup update: Eleven challengers entered in the 33rd America's Cup met with Swiss Defender, Alinghi in Geneva, Switzerland, last month to discuss how the next "Super Bowl of Sailing" will be played out in 2010. The teams are considering measures that may include moving toward a more cost-effective one-boat campaign.
The teams so far include: Alinghi, Switzerland; Desafío Español, Spain; Shosholoza, South Africa; Royal Thames Yacht Club, United Kingdom; Emirates Team New Zealand, New Zealand; United Internet Team Germany, Germany; Green Comm, Italy; Ayre, Spain; Victory Challenge, Sweden; Argo Challenge, Italy; French Spirit, France and Carbon Challenge, Belgium.
Colleges: The SAISA (South Atlantic) Conference Women's Singlehanded Championship event at USF-St. Petersburg in mid October drew some of the best young sailors in the region.
Kim Witkowski, a senior at USF, won that event and advanced to the Singlehanded National Championship at Cornell University, where she finished 11th in Laser Radials. Fellow USF sailor Zach Marks competed in Full Rigs at the Cornell event also and finished ninth.
Crosstown rival Eckerd College also hosted the Women's Dinghy Championships and the three teams from this event advanced to the Atlantic Coast Championships, which will be held Nov. 15-16.
The USF team finished third overall and will join winner College of Charleston and runnerup Eckerd at the Atlantic Coast Conference regatta hosted by Georgetown.
High Schools: USF also hosted 20 of the region's top high school teams at the Great Oaks qualifying regatta Oct. 11-12 with three Tampa Bay area teams finishing in the top 10.
St. Petersburg Catholic's John Wallace, Casey Bowles-Jenner and Donna Andricki finished fifth; Tampa's Jesuit's Paul Perry, Marcos Darcy and David McCann finished sixth and Seminole High's Mallory Willett, Mary Hall, Zoe Mitchell and Amanda Baver finished seventh.
Youth: The St. Petersburg Yacht Club Junior Opti team traveled to Chattanooga, Tenn., to compete in the U.S. Optimist Dinghy Association Southeastern Championships. The yacht club's Liam McCarthy sailed a strong regatta, placing third out of 90 overall and second in the blue fleet.
Cornell University hosted the Interscholastic Sailing Association Singlehanded Championships. The top 18 sailors from seven districts across the U.S. competed, with Lakewood High's Mateo Vargas finishing seventh overall.
Vargas and his teammates at Lakewood have started the year strong with a second-place finish in Sarasota at the South Point's Regatta of the Year. Vargas and skipper Kyle Sowers have sailed consistently in breezy conditions and are considered by many to be one of the top teams in the South.
The yacht club's Chris Gardiner traveled to Fort Walton Beach for the Fall Showdown Windsurfing Regatta. Sailing in the Formula Class, Gardiner finished fifth overall against some of the area's top professional windsurfers. Coached by Britt Viehman, Gardiner hopes to represent the United States at the International Sailing Federation Youth Worlds in Brazil next summer.
Dunedin Cup: The 2008 winners included David Morrow's Kokomo in the True Cruisng Class, Charles Joswig's Cat O Hullic in the Multihull class, Ben Skinner’s Mexicana in the non-Spinnaker class and Scott Herman's Running Bare in the Spinnaker class.
Fractional Sailing: Want to learn how to sail, but can't afford a boat. WindPath Fractional Sailing, an affordable alternative to sailboat ownership, has opened operations at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort-Marina Cove, 6800 Sunshine Skyway Lane, St. Petersburg. For information, go to www.windpath.com.