by Craig Heydon
The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty has qualified for the quarter-finals at the 2011 Open European Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
Price and crew racing at the European Championships in Helsinki - Photo Patrick Forsblom
The Australian trio headed into day two of racing fifth overall after four wins and four losses from the opening eight races.
'We finished the round robin strongly with wins against Wang of China and Pomerants of Estonia which left us with six wins and five losses,' said Price. 'This placed us sixth overall, ahead of the highly ranked, and local favourites, the Finish team skippered by Silja Lehtinen.
'The format for the quarter finals is slightly different for this regatta as the higher placed boats choose their opposition,' she said. 'Dutch sailor Mandy Mulder placed third in the round robin and chose to sail against us, even though we had won against her the day before.
'We got through two races of the quarter-finals today, which were both full of action,' said Price. 'We received a penalty in the pre-start in the first race, but managed to win the start and maintain the lead until the last run. We tried to wash off our penalty but got caught out in a slow-boat port starboard incident, resulting in another penalty for us.'
At the end of day two the Australians trail the Dutch two-nil in the best of five quarter-finals with racing set to begin again on Saturday morning.
Price, Curtis and Whitty’s progression through the regatta is impressive given this is their first international regatta together, having only teamed up a couple of days before the regatta started.
'Our development as a crew is still rapidly progressing, allowing us to compete against such high quality competition,' said Price. 'We’ve only been a combination for four sailing days so lessons are being learned on the run.
'Over this regatta we’re hoping to polish our communication as a combination, and identify areas to work on during our training time in Weymouth. By the time the London 2012 Olympic Games test event comes around, we’ll be ready to show the rest of the world the full potential of our relatively new but exciting combination.'
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit www.australiansailingteam.com.au and follow the team on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AusSailingTeam.
Full results are available at www.openeuropeans2011.com.