Chesapeake Bay threw a few curves at the Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship fleet yesterday, but defending champion Sally Barkow read them to near perfection. For the third straight day she dominated, scoring two wins and a third place in three races.

Her cumulative score after eight races -- five firsts, a second and two thirds -- all but sews up the title for Barkow, 25, a 2002 graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk. With three races to go in the 11-race series and a score of 10. Her nearest competitor, 2001 champion Cory Sertl, is a distant 20 points back.

Yesterday's racing was in shifty, northeast breezes and a ripping ebb tide that flustered some of the 42 skippers. Barkow was third in the first race but won the next two handily, the last by a margin of almost three minutes over Carol Cronin, U.S. representative to the 2004 Olympics in women's keelboat.

Two races are slated today and one tomorrow off Annapolis. If her lead holds up, Barkow will add a second straight Rolex women's title in J-22 sloops to the Yngling World Championship she won in Austria this summer and her 2-1 finish against world champion Claire Leroy of France on the women's world match-racing circuit.

-- Angus Phillips

Skipper Sally Barkow and her crew have the overall lead in the regatta after eight races.