Mooloolaba Women's Series delivers great racing spectacle

MYC Women Series 2013 close racing throughout the weekend
Tracey Johnstone
Mooloolaba Yacht Club’s new Women’s Series delivered great racing and a push for much more of the same.

In previous years the club has conducted its Women’s Series using a mixed fleet of multihull and monohull boats on an offshore course. This year the women got to compete on a level playing field, on two Elliott 6m yachts.

Racing on Mooloolaba harbour in front of The Wharf Mooloolaba in front of a large number of spectators, four teams of three crew completed three round robins before contesting the semi-final and final races.

The teams were Lauren Calder, Casey Sutherland and Gaye Hoole (purple); Kerrie Glenn, Sharee McBlane and Razz Smith (orange); Suzanne Arms, Hailey Gardiner-Lea and Bev McGregor (red); Jen Tooth, Angela Hadwen and Susie Rasmussen (aqua).

Coach Rob Lea of the Academy of Sailing was on site throughout the two-day event working with the teams after each race to assist them to understand their mistakes and to give them guidance on how to prepare for their next race.

The races were short courses, each lasting about five minutes putting a lot of pressure on crew work. The outcome of these round robins decided the starting line-up for the semi-finals. It was a tough format as the top placed team had to race the fourth place team in a single sudden-death format.

Calder’s team won all their round robin races. They then faced Arms’s team in the first Semi Final. Race Officer Warren Myles challenged the girls to step up the pace on their racing for day two and they delivered.

The Semi Final was one lap with aggressive sailing by both teams. A top mark incident led to the protest room and an hour delay in racing. Calder came out of the protest the victor.

In the other Semi Final it was Glenn and Tooth fighting it out. Tooth’s team also stepped up a notch to push their way through to victory and into the final.

Dented, but not broken by the protest hearing, Arms’s team returned to the water for the Petit Final racing against Glenn. Victory and third place overall went to Arms with Glenn graciously accepting the defeat.

A very dark southerly front threatened as the women went for it in the three race final. Tooth took out race one, Calder then won race two, so race three was the decider. It was another aggressive race with the boats in sight of each other from the start in over the two laps. Calder’s determined team came out victors, but only just.

The event results were not really reflective of the level of competition. Each team kept moving up their performance and then the pressure on their rivals.

Calder’s team came together late in the day and had little time to practice. Hoole was down with bronchitis the week before and Sutherland was in the throes of finishing her nine-year slog to a Master’s degree.

'By the finals I was very impressed about how well they had performed in all the heats leading up to it because we had done so much racing and we weren’t make the boat handling errors that I thought we would with the lack of experience and the lack of practice that we had as a team.

'By that stage I was very confident and that affected the tactics and strategy that I used because I felt I could throw the boat around and push it a bit harder knowing that my crew would come through and do what they needed to do.

'I think the event was a great success. I am looking forward to the next one although I feel that I have a target on my back and all the girls will be trying their best to beat me.

'I loved the level of competitiveness that the ladies can have out on the water and then just come in and have a laugh about it and be the best of mates,' Calder said.
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