by Craig Heydon
ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final in Sheboygan, Wisconsin- Australian sailors have won Bronze on the final day.
Olivia Price and crew racing at the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final - Photo Chris Gribble
The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team trio of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty defeated the Dutch crew, skippered by Mandy Mulder, two wins to one in the Bronze medal match.
Price and crew put their disappointment at missing out on a shot at the Gold medal behind them and sailed exceptionally well in the steady breeze and large swell that had the boats surfing down the waves.
The Australians won the opening race before Mulder fought back in the next one, taking it to a third and deciding race on Lake Michigan.
Price, Curtis and Whitty prevailed, giving them their first medal as a team in their last competitive hit-out before the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships this December.
'Conditions were challenging today with a huge swell and a solid 18 knots of breeze,' said Curtis. 'We won the first race quite convincingly, forcing a penalty on the Dutch trailing into the start with a windward leeward incident and then led around the track to the finish.
'In the second race we led into the start but were penalised for a windward leeward incident, this put us on the back foot for the start,' she said. 'We clawed back around the course however never had space to do our penalty and lost the race.
'By the third race the swell had picked up even further and we were really enjoying the waves, especially launching down waves on the downwind,' said Curtis. 'The Dutch lost control of their boat in the dial up and hit us on port giving them a penalty. We led around the course until the last upwind when they completed their penalty but we took the lead in the process and held the lead on some big waves through to the finish.'
The Australians now head home to Sydney for training before heading across the country for this December’s World Championships and a chance to qualify Australia for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
'We’re really pleased with our progress through this regatta, we achieved many of our goals heading into Perth,' said Curtis. 'We’re also very excited to be heading home after a long American and European tour.
'But we’ll be getting straight into training in Sydney and completing our preparations for Perth 2011,' she said.