by Zoe Hawkins
Competitors wait their turn at the BSport ISAF Womens Match Racing Worlds, Auckland
Josie Gibson of Britain is struggling in the Semi finals after going two down to Claire Leroy of France before racing finished for the day. Earlier Gibson had beaten Silke Hahlbrock of Germany by 1m.12s in race one and 30s in race two in the quarter finals.
Claire Leroy of France, Silja Lehtinen of Finland, Liz Baylis of the USA and Gibson each secured two wins from two races in the Quarter Finals, knocking their opponents out of top four contention in the BSport ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championships.
Before racing concluded for the day Leroy went on to secure two wins over Gibson in the first Flights of the Semi Finals, with Baylis and Lehtinen squared at one-all.
Conditions on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour have been the lightest yet, presenting 10-14 knots from the North-East, with flat seas and strong tides.
The final two flights in the Repecharge were completed this morning, with Baylis joining Australian Katie Spithill as the two last-chance contenders for the remaining Quarter Final spots.
The Quarter Finals themselves commenced at lunchtime and were complete by 2.30pm, as only two flights were required. Josie Gibson enjoyed the greatest margin in the two matches, beating Silke Hahlbrok of Germany by 1m 12s in race one and 30s in race two.
Leroy conquered Spithill by 15s and 20s, and Baylis beat Souter by 41s and 38s respectively. New Zealander Jess Smyth put up a more convincing fight, only trailing Lehtinen by 5s in race one, and by 30s – largely owed to a penalty for contact with Lehtinen’s rudder when sailing in from clear astern – in race two.
Defending champion Claire Leroy of France says that her team started the day against Australian Katie Spithill feeling a little stressed. 'But we did well and now we have to think about the end of the semi finals. It’s not finished yet… now we have everything to win.'
'The race course was pretty challenging today,' comments Liz Baylis, who seemed to benefit from the lighter conditions and was enjoying the feeling of today’s success. 'The team is doing a great job of staying focused and finding the pressure that’s out there on the course.'
Racing will conclude Sunday 6 April.
Semi Finals - to be completed Sunday
Hahlbrock beat Smyth by 48s
Spithill beat Souter by 26s
Leroy beat Gibson by 33s
Lehtinen beat Baylis by 8s
Spithill beat Hahlbrock by 47s
Souter beat Smyth by 42s
Leroy beat Gibson by 41s
Baylis beat Lehtinen by 29s
Confirmed overall results for places 5 to 14 only
The BSPORT ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championships are hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and sponsored by BSPORT, Giltrap City Toyota and Auckland City Council.