Friday, 12 March 2010

Trans-Tasman battle at the top of Harken Women’s International Match Racing Regatta at end of Day One

Teams competing in the Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta at the welcoming ceremony. Image copyright CYCA staff.

by Jennifer Crooks and Pam Scrivenor

Lucinda Whitty and Samantha Osborne are locked in a trans-Tasman battle at the top of the leader board at the end of round robin one in the Harken Women’s International Match Racing Regatta, being hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

Osborne and Whitty were tied for first place with eight wins to their scorecards until the final flight of the day when the skippers faced each other. Whitty triumphed taking the win in tight match racing conditions to take an unbeaten record of nine straight wins into day two.

Commenting on today’s racing Whitty said “I felt that we handled the shifty and hard conditions well. There was some very tight racing in our matches today especially with the New Zealand teams and our fellow Australian Women’s Match Racing team members.”

Second placed Osborne's only loss of the day was to Whitty, and Osborne is keen to attain for this loss on day two. “The last match of the day was really tight between us. It was only our boat handling skills that let us down on the last leg,” said Osborne.

“The competition has been really tough today and I have noticed improvements in the teams from last week (in the New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Championships) to this week. There were definitely no easy races out there today!”

“It was great to get a full round robin in today, so I thank the Race Committee for their efficient management of the regatta thus far,” concluded Osborne.

The trans-Tasman rivalry was evident at this morning’s briefing with the Aussies quick to blame the Kiwis for bringing the rain with them. Under cloudy skies, the wind filled in from the south at 15-20 knots as predicted and hung in all day. The shifty and puffy conditions meant that teams were crossing over between match racing and sailing the wind shifts.

Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson was pleased to have got through a full round robin with good breezes and no breakages. “I am very impressed with the level of match racing skills that were on display today. The women were able to handle the boats tremendously well especially on the downwind spinnaker runs in the puffy conditions.”

Whitty’s fellow Australian Women’s Match Racing team members Olivia Price (also representing the CYCA) and Jessica Eastwell (RPAYC) are currently tied for third, with 6 wins and 3 losses each.

There were lots of tacking duels across the race course said Price. “We did a lot of zig-zagging across the course today in these conditions but we were also able to get some good rides with the wind. In the conditions you couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.”

“Our toughest matches were against Osborne and Whitty and we threw everything we had at them,” concluded Price.

Stephanie Hazard and Danielle Bowater sailed extremely well and have finished round robin one with five wins each. Both representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Hazard and Bowater cannot be ruled out for podium positions given the expected conditions tomorrow.

Racing continues tomorrow Thursday 11 March at 1015hrs, in the vicinity of Rushcutters Bay, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting S/SE winds of 15 to 20 knots. The event will conclude on Saturday 13 March when the finals will be conducted.

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia

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