Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Trans-Tasman Battle on Water for Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta

Downwind action from the 2010 Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta. Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

by Jennifer Crooks

Two teams from New Zealand will have a trans-Tasman battle with four Australian teams in the seventh Harken Women’s International Match Racing regatta that commences tomorrow, Wednesday 23 March, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA).

Amanda Scrivenor is the highest ranked Australian skipper (ISAF Ranking 49) and will represent the host club, the CYCA. Scrivenor is sailing with a relatively new crew of Shahzrad Vahebzadeh and Angelique Kear who have been training with her in the CYCA’s Women’s Squad over the summer months. Breanna Hoppe from the Advanced Squad will also join this crew.

Scrivenor recently placed third in the Marinassess Women’s Match Racing regatta and in this regatta last year, Scrivenor finished third sailing with her teammates from the Australian Women’s Match Racing team. She was also part of the gold medal winning crew in the 2009 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Sweden, with the team (lead by Nicky Souter) also jointly named as Female Sailor of the Year in the 2010 Australian Yachting Awards.

Katie Abbott will also represent the CYCA with her crew of Tara McCall, Angela Farrell and Sophie Lahey. Lahey has joined this team for the regatta, travelling from Brisbane. She is usually the skipper of a young team in a developing match racing program from Royal Queensland Yacht Club and has come to this regatta for some experience to take home to her team.

Abbott, who originally hails from Sarnia Yacht Club in Canada, has been with the CYCA training as part of the Women’s Squad and coaching for six months. She is currently ranked 116 on the ISAF Women’s Match Racing Rankings and recently placed fourth in the Marinassess Women’s Match Racing regatta conducted earlier this month by the CYCA.

Kat Stroinovsky and her crew of Antonia Watson, Kate Brown and Anne Vervoort will represent the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. Stroinovsky was also part of the gold medal winning crew at the 2009 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Sweden.

Stephanie Doyle is the fourth Australian skipper who will sail this regatta under the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club burgee with her crew of Ashlie Lane, Georgina Johnstone and Jenna Walters. Doyle has recently competed in New Zealand and Australia where she gained valuable international match racing experience.

Last year’s winner Lucinda Whitty will not be defending her title as she is preparing to go to Europe, training with the Australian Women’s Match Racing team.

Danielle Bowater leads the New Zealand charge being the second highest ranked skipper (ISAF ranking 68) in this event. Bowater will represent the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron with her crew of Bianca Cook, Hannah Osborne and Katie de Lange. Bowater recently competed in the Colin Mullins Youth Match Racing regatta hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club which enabled her team to gain valuable match racing experience in large boats.

Anita Trudgen returns to this regatta hoping to improve on her results from last year. She will sail under the burgee of Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, New Zealand with her crew of Janey Geodhart, Hannah Scott-Mackie and Heather Trudgen.

“It is Harken’s commitment to assisting the talents of up and coming sailors that led to the association with the CYCA,” said Garry Lock, Managing Director Harken Australia. “With this year being our seventh year as a regatta sponsor, the Harken Women’s International Match Racing Regatta has a tradition of being a great showcase for talent that promises to continue this year with its high calibre of sailors that the regatta attracts.

“Many promising young sailors have gone onto further their sailing careers after competing in this regatta. We are pleased to continue our long standing sponsorship of the CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy in 2011,” concluded Lock.

Rear Commodore and Chairman of the Training and Development Committee Howard Piggott said “It is pleasing to see the calibre of crews entered into this year’s Harken Women’s International Match Racing regatta. I look forward to watching the trans-Tasman battle unfold over the next few days and watching the further development of women’s match racing.”

“The CYCA gratefully acknowledges the ongoing sponsorship from Harken of this regatta, women’s match racing and the Youth Sailing Academy,” concluded Rear Commodore Piggott.

All crews will attend a welcome ceremony this evening at the host club prior to racing commence at 1015hrs tomorrow. Racing will most likely be conducted in the vicinity of Rushcutters Bay, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting north westerly to north easterly winds of 5 to 15 knots. The event will conclude on Friday 25 March when the finals will be conducted. Live results will be available here from the commencement of the round robins.

For a list of competing teams log on here