Friday, 6 February 2009
2009 Hardy Cup winners from New Zealand: Adrian Short, Harry Thurston and Michael Edmonds. Image copyright Aline Van Haren.
by Peter Campbell
Nineteen-year-old New Zealander Adrian Short outsailed favourites Evan Walker and Nicky Souter on Sydney Harbour today to score an upset victory in the prestigious Hardy Cup ISAF Grade 3 under 25 match-racing regatta.
Short and his crew of mainsheet hand Harry Thurston (19) and bowman Michael Edmonds (20) won the Cup with a 2-0 defeat of defending Hardy Cup champion Walker in the semi-finals, then Souter, the Australian women’s match-racing champion, in a 3-1 final encounter.
Adrian Short (NZL) leads Nikki Souter (AUS) in the last race of the finals. Image copyright Aline Van Haren.
It was the first time in the history of the Hardy Cup that an all-women crew has reached the final, and they went down fighting in an aggressive tacking duel with the New Zealanders.
The women’s performance augers well for Australia’s prospects for the London 2010 Olympic Games where the Elliott 6 used in the Hardy Cup will be the class for the women’s keelboat match-racing.
Nikki Souter (AUS) stays on the tail of Evan Walker (NZL) during the finals, matching gybe for gybe. Image copyright Aline Van Haren.
“We had an all-the-way win in the first flight after Nicky received a starting line infringement,” Short said after the final. “In the final race we won the start, only to be rolled by the girls. However, they incurred two penalties in a fierce tacking duel and that gave us the race and the Cup.”
The crew from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland will now represent New Zealand at the Nation’s Cup in Brazil, where they may meet Nicky and her crew of Rayshele Martin, Kylie McKillop and Libby Taylor who were sailing for the Australian Sailing Development Squad.
Nikki Souter and crew from the Australian Sailing Development Squad. Image copyright Aline Van Haren.
Yachting Australia will choose the team for the Nation’s Cup next week.
Short was overwhelmed by his win. “We only just made the cut to go into the Pool A mini round-robin to decide the finalists and even then we were at the bottom of the rankings going into the finals,” he said after his final victory.
“It was a really tough series and Nicky and her crew were formidable opponents in the final as we had to fight back after losing the first flight,” he added.
“It’s really exciting doing so well against the men,” Souter said. “It got pretty windy this afternoon, with the nor’easter gusting to 20 knots. As soon as the wind kicked in we knew they were from Auckland.”
A nor'easter favours the Auckland team of Adrian Short. Image copyright Aline Van Haren.
“However, two penalties cost us the penultimate race. With two penalties, we had to exonerate ourselves immediately and that was the end,” Souter added.
In the Petit Final, Evan Walker, representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, beat Phil Robertson, from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, 2-0.
The Hardy Cup has given young New Zealand sailors two major match-racing victories in Australian waters, with Phil Robertson winning the Warren Jones Youth Regatta in Perth last week and Adrian Short now winning the Hardy Cup in Sydney.
1 Adrian Short, RNZYS
2 Nicole Souter, ASDS
3 Evan Walker, CYCA
4 Phil Robertson, RNZYS
5 David Chapman, RSYS
6 Peter Nicholas, RFBYC
7 Matthew Steven, RPNYC
8 Silja Lehtinen, NJK
9 Tom Spithill, RPAYC
10 Lucinda Whitty, RSYS
11 Amanda Scrivenor, ASDS
12 Yuki Nagahori, HMYC