Friday, 24 September 2010

Women's Match Racers set up all-Australian Quarterfinal at World Championship

Gybing. Image copyright Fried Elliott/

by Craig Heydon

The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team has set up an all-Australian quarterfinal following seeding in the Gold fleet at the 2010 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Newport, USA.

Day three of racing had the top six teams compete in a round robin to determine the seedings for Friday’s quarterfinals with the Australian crew of Nicky Souter, Nina Curtis, Olivia Price and Laura Baldwin finishing the day third while Katie Spithill, Jessica Eastwell, Angela Farrell and Stacey Jackson were sixth.

The results mean that the two Australian crews will line up against each other in the quarterfinals, ensuring that an Australian will be in the top four yet again at the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship.

“Racing against Nicky and crew in the quarters isn’t our first choice but it was decided by the results, is out of our control and we’ll deal with it,” said Spithill. “On the bright side it means we’ll have one Australian crew in the semi finals.”

Souter was also positive about taking on her compatriots in the knockout stage of the competition.

“With all of the regattas we’ve competed in and all the World Cup rounds this year we haven’t come up against each other in the quarterfinals yet,” said defending World Champion Souter. “It’s been on the cards a few times but hasn’t panned out so we’re actually all looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.”

Souter, Curtis, Price and Baldwin finished the day with three wins from their five races, in a four way tie for first position, with the Australian seeded third on a count back.

“While today wasn’t as stressful a day on the water as it wasn’t sudden death there was still plenty of close races,” said Souter. “At the end of the round robin there was only two points between first and six so there was no standout team, almost every race went right down to the wire.”

While Spithill, Eastwell, Farrell and Jackson were sixth in the group the skipper said that they still took plenty out of the day.

“We had a mixed day today,” said Spithill. “We made some mistakes but at the same time learnt some lessons to take through to tomorrow.”

“We had some really close races, against Nicky and crew it was a photo finish, even after crossing the line we weren’t entirely sure who had won, both crews had the spinnaker out as far as it would go,” she said.

When asked if there would be any gamesmanship going on before the all-Australian quarterfinal Spithill was quick to point out that it would all come down to the action on the water tomorrow.

“Let’s put it this way, we all went out to dinner together tonight and now I’m hanging out with Nicky in her room,” she said. “We’re just looking forward to going racing again tomorrow.”

Australian Sailing Team
Women's World Match Racing Championships