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Australian Women’s Match Racing crews battle towards Olympics

by Rob Kothe & the Sail-World.com team on 16 Dec 2011
Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Katie Spithill match racing, - Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships © Richard Langdon /Perth 2011 http://www.perth2011.com
Having qualified Australia in the Women’s Match Racing event, two Australian crews are now set to continue their battle for Olympic selection for another six months.

Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Katie Spithill finished fifth at Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships being sailed on Fremantle Harbour, Western Australia, while the rival Australian team Olivia Price, with crew Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty finished seventh.


Dockside Souter, Eastwell and Spithill were smiling as skipper Souter spoke to Sail-World.com

‘Fifth at the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship - we are happy with that. To qualify the country and to make baseline Olympic performance and to also re-qualify for the Australian Sailing Team is great.

‘As much as we would like to be out there in the finals, Anna (Tunnicliffe) out-sailed us in the quarter finals and she well and truly deserves her place.

‘We are happy to complete the regatta with a solid finish and good racing and to beat Olivia Price and Sweden’s Anna Kjellberg to take fifth place overall in this World Championship.

‘Our match against Olivia was a really fun match. We were starboard entry and we had a lot of control in the pre-start. Both boats were over the start line early and we both dipped but we came out better than she did and we had pretty much had control for the majority of the race.

‘Around the first top mark we had a three boat lengths lead, maybe four. Olivia is quite quick downwind and she caught right up and we rounded the bottom mark together.



‘Up the second beat it was all neck and neck. We gave her a little bit of a breather to the right, then this massive right hand shift came in and we were getting a bit worried as we were getting really close to the lay line at the top mark. We knew that we couldn’t cross it but we knew that we had to be patient and wait for the shift to turn back left and cross her.

‘When we did we only just crossed her and that was enough. Then we led around the top mark for the second time and all the way down to the finish. It wasn’t an easy race.

‘She was right on our toes the whole time. Once we crossed her and made it back over on that lay line for that last tack, we pretty much knew we had the race.’

The Australian Women’s Match Racing selection will take place in May 2012 after Miami, Palma and Hyeres.

Souter continued ‘We were only the fifth best team out there and we’ve got a list of things that we want to work on that we have learnt from the other teams.

‘We have six more months to perfect them and hopefully prove ourselves to the Australian selection panel.’

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