Monday, 12 May 2014

Susannah Pyatt Retains NZ Women's National Match Racing Title in 2014

Claudia Pierce leads Susannah Pyatt in the sole race loss by the 2014 National Champion. Image copyright RNZYS.

by Melanie Benton

Susannah Pyatt will have her name engraved on the Leith Mossman Memorial Trophy for the second time after winning the 2014 NZ Women’s Match Racing Championships for the second consecutive year.

The team won nine of ten races in the regatta which has today been marked by firstly no wind then at 3pm on Sunday afternoon, 11th May, a breeze that went the full circle of the compass in an hour. It appeared every time a course was set and the Postponement flag dropped the wind gods laughed and said “not yet!”

Susannah, Carla, Jenna and Raynor had a nearly perfect score however in the final race today were beaten by 7 seconds by Claudia Pierce and crew. Said Susannah “The RNZYS Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme has such great members! We (Jenna and Susannah) coached Courtney Reynolds-Smith in the Opti Nationals in Manly at Easter so for her to be in the crew that beat us today, that was awesome!”

For Pierce, who had a major crew change due to injury days before the regatta, it was a long wait for wind, knowing that if there was no finals series, Pyatt had won the regatta already. Pierce won both her races today and had a very close match with Pyatt in the final match. “We had lots of luffing matches and the finish was so close!” said Pierce. “We will be back.” Said the YTP Graduate.

Claudia Pierce won the race between the two Youth Training Programme teams by 14 seconds. Image copyright RNZYS.

Returning after a long absence and placed third was Kylie Jameson (nee Hogg) with crew Jenny Egnot, Sara Tucker and Miranda Powrie. These ladies showed it really is like riding a bike! “We are so happy to be back!” said Kylie. “The girls are so happy to be out sailing, and this is a great result for us! Coming third is awesome!” Kylie, Sara with Kristen Dagg competed in this regatta in 2002, coming 5th.

Emmanuelle Merlo and the crew from New Caledonia and Tait had quite the tussle at the final downwind leg. There was a lot of gybing and tactical manoeuvring as both teams vied for 4th and 5th Place. For Merlo and the crew from New Caledonia it was a long day knowing they weren’t going to get as much racing as hoped for, however the final match was so good the ladies had such big smiles and said it was worth it, in French of course! They had a good battle with Tait and two wins today meant they secured 4th place. They are looking forward to the CNC Match Race in July and Groupama, the world’s longest windward leeward race, in October this year.

Emanuelle Merlo (New Caledonia) vs. Michelle Tait. Image copyright RNZYS.

The Final Flight for the regatta seemed to be the one that stood out for a number of the crews with Michelle Tait (also RNZYS Lion Foundation YTP members) naming that race the best of her regatta. Tait and crew have only been together a week and although they had good close racing during the regatta, it didn’t quite go as planned. “The best race of the regatta was the last one. The final downwind leg, it was so close! The crew did so well. It was such good, close racing. The competition was so good.” said Tait.

Melinda Henshaw and her St Cuthbert’s crew recorded only one win for the regatta and placed sixth. However Henshaw, in true school sports manager style, said “I wish more girls would take up these opportunities. It is so great to be able to go sailing, such good fun! We will be back.” We certainly hope so!

Pre-start between Kylie Jameson and Susannah Pyatt. Image copyright RNZYS.

All in all, although the regatta had to be shortened to the two round robins, a fair result was gained, a lot of fun was had and some old girls came back, some new girls joined in and the Leith Mossman Memorial Trophy was awarded to a great crew who are great supporters of Women’s Match Racing. Congratulations to Susannah Pyatt, Carla Holgate, Jenna Hansen and Raynor Haagh and to all the great women’s crews who competed this weekend.

Claudia Pierce douses Susannah Pyatt in champagne dock-side. Image copyright RNZYS.

Results for the 2014 NZ Women’s Match Racing Championships

Susannah Pyatt          9W/1L
Claudia Pierce            7/3
Kylie Jameson            5/5
Manu Merlo                 4/6
Michelle Tait               4/6
Melinda Henshaw        1/9