Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Hardy Cup: Day Two - Walker and Robertson Duel

Phil Robertson (NZL) chases Yuki Nagahori (JPN) in the pre-start. Image copyright Aline Van Haren.

by Peter Campbell

Australian Evan Walker and New Zealander Phil Robertson are just half a point apart going into the third day of the prestigious Hardy Cup, the ISAF Grade 3 Under-25 match-racing event on Sydney Harbour.

Evan Walker (AUS) in a dial-up with Phil Robertson (NZL). Image copyright Aline Van Haren.

Walker, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and the defending champion, is on 9.5 points while Robertson, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, has scored 9 points.

Evan Walker's team are all smiles after Round Robin 1. Image copyright Aline Van Haren.

Just point behind them, after two days of round-robin races, is Australian women’s match-racing champion Nicole Souter and her crew of women, representing the Australian Sailing Development Squad, on 8 points.

Dial-up between Nikki Souter (AUS) and Adrian Short (NZL). Image copyright Aline Van Haren.

Walker ended the opening round-robin with ten wins in his eleven flights, but has been penalised half a point for causing serious damage in a day one incident.

His only loss so far has been to Robertson, who scored a narrow overall victory over the Sydney sailor in the Warren Jones Regatta in Perth last week.

Robertson’s two losses have been to David Chapman, sailing for the host club, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, and to Nicole Souter. Souter’s three losses have been to RSYS’s Lucinda Whitty, CYCA’s Evan Walker and fellow Australian Development Squad member Amanda Scrivenor.

The 12 teams today have been split into two pools, based on standings after the first round-robin, with the top six going into Pool A and the second six going in to Pool B.

Adrian Short (NZL) tries to catch up with Phil Robertson (NZL), who has a twisted kite. Image copyright Aline Van Haren.

In addition to Walker, Robertson and Souter, the teams to make Pool A include Peter Nicholson from Perth’s Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Adrian Short from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and David Chapman, representing the RSYS,

Chapman made Pool A on a countback after he and fellow Squadron representative Lucinda Whitty and Matthew Steven from New Zealand’s Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club each finished with 5 points.

As each of these three had beaten each other, the countback was decided on which of the three had beaten the highest ranking team in the first round robin, with Chapman getting the cut as he had beaten second-ranked New Zealander Robertson.

There was a similar situation in last year’s Hardy Cup, with the countback favouring the Wellington team over the Squadron team.

Yesterday’s racing started in a light north-easterly breeze that swung to the south early in the afternoon, freshening to 15 knots, gusting to 20 knots in the late afternoon. “It was a great day for match racing,” RSYS regatta officials said after the racing,

Lucinda Whitty (AUS) in a tacking duel with Peter Nicholas (AUS). Image copyright Aline Van Haren.

The 45 young sailors got a bonus after yesterday’s racing when Grant Simmer, CEO of the Alinghi America’s Cup team, gave them a stimulating talk on the Cup and international racing.

Simmer, who was a member of the winning Australia II crew in 1983, was on a brief visit to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

The six teams in Pool B are due to race this morning, with the six teams in Pool A racing this afternoon to decide the top four for tomorrow’s finals which will be watched by Sir James Hardy, the former America’s Cup, Olympic and World Champion yachtsman who donated the Hardy Cup.

Hardy Cup

No comments: