Thursday, 23 September 2010

Women's Match Racing Worlds Day Two: Top Seeds Determined

Nicky Souter (AUS), left, and crew Nina Curtis. The defending champion is through to the Gold Round Robin. Image copyright Fried Elliott/

by Michael Levitt

It was not the spectacular sun lit day with a smoldering southerly that highlighted the second day of the ISAF Women’s Match Race World Championship. Nor was it the multiples of surfing photo finishes. Instead, today the sailors illustrated the term they use to describe the pinnacle of match race maneuvering: surgical execution.

For the top seeded sailors after the nine flights of Stage 1, today was a day of comebacks and last minute passes. The precision with which Claire Le Roy used to up end a confident Ekaterina Skudina in broaching whitewater luff was inspiring as the two boats sailed within feet of each other in 17 knots of breeze and three-foot waves. All starts, roundings and finishes were within inches and penalties pushed the umpires to the limit.

Some of the competitors used today to settle into a winning routine. “It wasn’t just one thing,” said Finnish skipper Silja Lehtenin, “it was more like 20 things.” Lehtenin won most of her races this morning and said that her new team was finally clicking.

Though often sailing with a new team, American Sally Barkow is leading the blue group with a tie-breaker over Le Roy at eight wins. Nicky Souter is close behind with seven wins and Ekaterina Skudina and Anna Tunnicliffe both have six wins.

Tomorrow competitors are split into a gold fleet and repechage. The top two competitors from the repechage will meet the gold fleet of six for a quarter finals.

Another sunny day is forecast and as teams like the Finnish begin to hone their sailing on Narragansett Bay, the stakes will be getting higher.

Gold Fleet for 9/23/10

(From Red Group with seed)

1 Lucy MacGregor GBR
2 Katie Spithill AUS
3 Genny Tulloch USA

(From Blue Group with seed)
1 Sally Barkow USA
2 Claire Leroy FRA
3 Nicky Souter AUS

Red Group RR results

MacGregor (GBR) 9-0
Spithill (AUS) 6-3
Tulloch (USA) 6-3
Osborne (NZL) 5-4
Le Berre (FRA) 5-4
Lehtinen (FIN) 4-5
Bekatorou (GRE) 3-6
Meldgaard (DEN) 3-6
Roca (ESP) 1-8

Blue Group RR results

Barkow (USA) 8-1
Leroy (FRA) 8-1
Souter (AUS) 7-2
Tunnicliffe (USA) 6-3
Skudina (RUS) 6-3
Groeneveld (NED) 4-5
Ulrikkeholm (DEN) 3-6
Senfft (BRA) 1-8
Kliba (CRO) 1-8
Goncalves (POR) 1-8

Women's Match Racing Worlds