Monday, 1 February 2010

Rolex Miami OCR: Anna Tunnicliffe Recounts Her Win in the Women's Match Racing

Close Call. Image copyright Walter Cooper, January 2010.

by Anna Tunnicliffe

It came down to the last leg of the five race series, but we pulled it off and won the 2010 Rolex Miami OCR. We are so happy with how we sailed and are delighted that we came out on top. It was a great series against Lucy MacGregor and team, from Great Britain.

The conditions were perfect for match racing this morning as the first warning gun went off at 9am. Our first race didn't start too well for us. We were awarded a penalty at 20 seconds to go. We came back during the race, and got slightly ahead of them into the finish, but were awarded another penalty just before the finish so we lost that race. The next race, we got behind, and just couldn't quite catch back up. But we didn't let it affect us going into the third race; there was no pressure on us now. We either had to win the race to continue racing, or go home. We were able to draw two penalties on Team MacGregor by the leeward mark, which advanced us enough that they weren't going to be able to come back.

Then again, in the fourth race, there was still no pressure on us. We had great boat speed and sailed a smart race to take the win. We also got some Aussie encouragement; they gave us a cheer before the fourth race, and then again before the fifth race!

Keeping An Eye On The Competition. Image copyright Dave Hein, January 2010.

Going into the fifth race, we were excited that we had evened up the score, and it was now all on the line, but we still managed to keep the pressure off us. We didn't have a great start, and were getting a bit behind up the first beat. But at the top, Team MacGregor hit some waves and slowed, which put us right back behind them. We had pulled them in some more by the bottom mark, and just had to keep the race close back up to the top so we could try and do something downwind. On the downwind leg, they gybed early, and we extended on port. We gybed shortly after and got some nice waves, which we used to surf down inside of them. From that point on, all we had to do was defend the starboard layline to the boat-end of the finish line, which we did.

We are extremely happy with our result. We learned tons this week, and are looking forward to reviewing it all in the upcoming days, organizing all of our little notes from the event. It is a great way to start our season, but know we have an enormous amount still to learn. We have a couple of weeks off before we start training again for our next regatta.

Anna Tunnicliffe
Rolex Miami OCR

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