After the fourth day’s racing, the cream is rising to the top as eight more teams were eliminated from the world women’s match racing champs.

After the fourth day’s racing, the cream is rising to the top as eight more teams were eliminated from the world women’s match racing champs. A number of players are beginning to show their form at this tough regatta, being held in St Petersburg, Florida.

With two groups of eight teams competing in the second round robin, Britain’s Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson won her group with six wins out of seven. “We are sailing quite well and haven’t made many mistakes,” said Robertson, who flew out a week early to get to grips with the four-man Sonar in the choppy waters of Tampa Bay. “Speed is crucial out there, and found we were able to tack our way out of trouble today,” she added.

Robertson beat Marie Bjorling of Sweden, who also won six out of seven heats. Bjorling almost wasn’t here at all at this regatta, until another Swedish team dropped out with crew injuries two weeks ago.

In the other group, there was a three-way tie for first between reigning world champion Dorte Jensen of Denmark, Paula Lewin of Bermuda, and Hannah Swett of the USA, crewed by America’s Cup veteran and current Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Dawn Riley.

One of the very last races of the day, in the dying light over Tampa Bay, proved to be one of the most exciting and significant. It was a nail-biter between the second and third seeds, Betsy Alison of the USA and Klaarje Zuiderbaan of the Netherlands. Alison looked to have got the better of the Dutch down the final run to the finish, but then Zuiderbaan started gybing at her rival.

Alison responded aggressively and luffed Zuiderbaan hard, but the move backfired on her as the Dutch stole her wind. Running down to the finish, both skippers looked across to see who would steal the win, and it went to Zuiderbaan by a whisker. Alison, a five-time winner of Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, did not look happy but by the time she reached shore she was philosophical. “We made some mistakes, but we’re happy,” she said. “The two seconds that lost us the last race dropped us from winning the group to coming fourth, but at least we’re through to the next round and that’s all that matters.”

The race committee have been battling to get back on schedule in the teeth of extremely fickle and trying conditions over the past few days. Today, they decided to bypass the third round robin and move straight on to round four. This means that eight more teams have been eliminated today, but will race tomorrow to decide overall positions from 9th to 16th.

After the fourth round-robin, the eight top teams will begin the knock-out stages of the contest – the quarter-finals, semi-finals and eventually the finals themselves which will take place on Saturday December 2.

Results after Day Four

Round Robin 2A

Skipper, Country, Races won Dorte Jensen, Denmark, 6 wins

Paula Lewin, Bermuda, 6 wins

Hannah Swett, USA, 6 wins

Katie Spithill, Australia, 4 wins

Cordelia Eglin, Great Britain, 3 wins

Cristiana Monina, Italy, 2 wins

Dru Slattery, USA, 1 wins

Carolijn Brouwer, Netherlands, 0 wins

Round Robin 2B

Shirley Robertson, Great Britain, 6 wins

Marie Bjorling, Sweden, 6 wins

Klaartje Zuiderbaan, Netherlands, 5 wins

Betsy Alison, USA, 5 wins

Christine Briand, France, 3 wins

Gwen Joulie, France, 1 wins

Malin Milbourn, Sweden, 1 wins

Amy Waring, New Zealand, 1 wins

Eight skippers qualifying for quarterfinal round-robin

Shirley Robertson, Great Britain

Marie Bjorling, Sweden

Klaartje Zuiderbaan, Netherlands

Betsy Alison, USA

Dorte Jensen, Denmark

Paula Lewin, Bermuda

Hannah Swett, USA

Katie Spithill, Australia