Saturday, 13 March 2010

Osborne and Eastwell hand Whitty her first defeats of the Harken Women’s International Youth Match Racing Regatta

Samantha Osborne in action at Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta. Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

by Jennifer Crooks

Samantha Osborne, representing Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, had a clear goal in her match against Lucinda Whitty – to ruin Whitty’s perfect scorecard in the Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta. Their match in the final flight of round robin two was a duel with Osborne taking the win by half a boat length.

With the sun drenching Sydney Harbour and a moderate sou’easterly breeze, the Race Committee was able to get through the remaining flights of round robin two, conduct the sail-off for the minor placing and complete the first flight of the semi finals. The course was again set in Rushcutters Bay.

It was another challenging day for skippers with the shifts in the breeze, but Osborne was happy as she was able to pick them better than the previous day.

“I knew everyone would be watching our match today as it was the two highest ranked skippers going head to head. It was good to get the win in such a close match,” Osborne said.

Whitty started the day well, defeating Stephanie Hazard from RNZYS, in her first match. It was her second match of the day where she suffered her first defeat at the hands of Osborne.

Having finished the round robin on top of the leaderboard, Whitty was able to choose her opponent for the semi final and elected to sail against fellow Australian Women’s Match Racing team member Jessica Eastwell (also representing RPAYC), leaving Osborne to sail off against Olivia Price (CYCA/AWMRT).

Eastwell vs. Whitty semi-final. Image copyright CYCA staff.

In the Whitty vs. Eastwell semi-final, Eastwell knew that a good start was essential. This was not to be as Eastwell received a pre-start penalty for a port/starboard infringement.

“I knew we had to win the start to get ahead of Whitty. After receiving the penalty in the pre-start, we were able to use the shifts up the course to give ourselves enough of a lead to wipe off the penalty,” said Eastwell.

“We were then able to maintain this lead throughout the match, beating Whitty by 24 seconds. I am very happy with today’s racing and our crew work is getting better each day – so I am looking forward to what tomorrow has in store,” Eastwell added.

Whitty is now even more determined to win the next two flights of her semi-final match up against Eastwell, to move into the Grand Final of the regatta.

For Keats Thomson, the youngest skipper of the regatta, aged 15 years, it has been a learning experience against tough competition.

“I am really happy we didn’t finish in last place. As we sailed the regatta 3-up we were a little light for the conditions,” said Thomson

Having sailed in the CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy Advanced Squad last year, this is only Thomson’s second regatta as a skipper, returning to the Elliott 6.0m and match racing after a successful summer campaign on her Laser 4.7.

Racing commences at 1115hrs tomorrow Saturday 13 March with the completion of the semi finals and the Petit & Grand finals. The Bureau of Meteorology predicting a similar light air day with sou’easterly winds of 10 to 15 knots. Follow the action with live results on the CYCA website

Note from SailRaceWin: In the first match of the other semi-final Sam Osborne (RNZYS) defeated Olivia Price by 2 seconds in a very close match.

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia

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