Rook seals RYA National Women's Match Racing crown

Team Rook are the new RYA National Women’s Match Racing champions for 2008.

After finishing second to Lucy Macgregor at the 2007 Championships, skipper Mary Rook turned the tables as she and her four-strong team of Sue Parkin, Nicky Bethwaite, Sophie Ainsworth, Vicky Lenz sailed consistently well over the three days’ of racing at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy last weekend (30 August – 1 September) to produce a reverse outcome this year.

Eight all-women teams from across the UK, Germany and the Netherlands took part in this year’s Championships with Rook laying down the gauntlet to the other crews from the off, posting six out of seven race wins on day one with Macgregor and Josie Gibson hot on Rook’s heels picking up five wins apiece.

However, Macgregor wrestled back the advantage on day two, winning every one of her races in the double round robin putting her team at the top of the leaderboard going into the semi-finals.

Macgregor made light work of booking her place in the final, dispatching of Charlotte Lawrence 2-0 in their semi, while Rook needed three races to ensure a repeat of last year’s final; her semi against Josie Gibson going to the final race decider. In the 5th/6th play-off Margot Rooda got the edge over Lizzie Vickers snatching deciding race victory in dramatic fashion whilst broaching over the line!

Macgregor took a psychological advantage into the final having beaten Rook in both matches during the double round robin but with the gusty conditions of 25 plus knots causing havoc in the opening match, Macgregor lost two crew overboard downwind handing Rook the first win.

With Rook gaining a penalty in the race two pre-start, Macgregor led from start to finish to level the overall scores.

With race three becoming a sudden death showdown for the title, Rook led off the start line but was overtaken up the first beat. However in a dramatic leeward mark rounding, Macgregor’s team dropped the kite over the bow gifting Rook the lead which she held on to to clinch final race victory and the Championship title.

An ecstatic Rook said: 'It was a really great event, all the girls did really well in testing conditions and it was great to compete against some international teams.'

Event Director, John Burgoine, added: 'Both myself and the umpire team were very impressed by the standard of the girls sailing. They coped with conditions well and we look forward to seeing some of them back at future match racing events.'

Both Rook and Macgregor will now be invited to compete at the 2008 RYA National Match Racing Series Grand Final at WPNSA on 10-12 October.

Meanwhile entries are still being welcomed for the fourth and final Grand Final qualifier at Weymouth and Portland on 4-5 October. Qualifier Three takes place this coming weekend with a full and complete entry list. To discuss entry for Qualifier Four contact Jess Mapplebeck on

2008 RYA Women’s Match Racing National Championship final results:

1) Mary Rook, Sue Parkin, Nicky Bethwaite, Sophie Ainsworth, Vicky Lenz
2) Lucy Macgregor, Nicola Macgregor, Jody Slater, Bethan Carden, Ally Martin
3) Charlotte Lawrence, Georgie Blavermann, Jo Brigg, Katie Mackenzie, Lavinnia Patenoster
4) Josie Gibson, Rachel Larman, Fleur Oswald, Bex Marriott, Jo Ryley
5) Margot Rooda, Mijke Lievens, Chantal Hakkel, Lieske Wierenga, Rosanne Malschaert
6) Lizzie Vickers, Nicole Johnson, Kate Whorton, Andrea Brewster, Ali Sutherland
7) Hester Robertson, Becci Scott, Becci Sands, Rachel Scarfe, Claire Nichols, Maia Walsh
8) Wibke Wriggers, Marit Jordan, Tomke Rappold, Rike Israel