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Women’s Match Racers Win Buddy Melges Challenge

by Jodie Bakewell-White, Yachting NZ on 15 Sep 2009
Yachting NZ
Two New Zealand teams have finished on the podium at the Buddy Melges Women’s Match Racing Regatta in Sheboygan, USA. The kiwi team helmed by Samatha Osborne won the event, with Stephanie Hazard and crew finishing in 3rd place.

It was a spectacular Sunday on Lake Michigan with blue skies and a steady breeze of 5-8 knots for the last day of the regatta.

This event was contested in the Elliott 6 class named as the boat for the Women’s Match Racing discipline to be introduced to the Olympic Games in 2012 in Weymouth, England. The New Zealand teams competing here are those named by Yachting New Zealand in the NZL Team Women’s Match Racing Squad who are training towards the next Olympics.

Samatha Osborne, Jenna Hansen and Raynor Smeal came out on top after beating Peru in the semi finals 2-0, and then going on to topple Canada in the final. The kiwis went two up in the final before Provan of Canada fought back winning the next two flights bringing it down to one final race.

“In the final and deciding race for both teams it was game on,” says the team. “We started behind, slow and in her gas. With lots of work to do, it was amazing how calm the team remained. We knew how to make the boat go quick and we took whatever little gains we could.”

“With some pressure in the right we were back in touch by the top mark, and a better top mark rounding saw us set up to roll her (eventually) on the first downwind. Rounded the bottom mark ahead, we played the game we know, stayed in phase with her and forced her to sail in gas for most of the beat. Downwind having learnt our mistake of not sailing our own race in the race before we initiated our gybes, kept in clear air, and ended up extending our lead TO WIN THE BUDDY MELGES CHALLENGE!”

Stephanie Hazard, Susannah Pyatt and Miranda Powrie were beaten by Canada in their semi-final but triumphed over Peru in the Petite Final to take third place.

The Women’s Match Racing Squad, who are coached by Laurie Jury and Graeme Sutherland, will now return to New Zealand to continue with their training and racing.

Buddy Melges Challenge, Sheboygan USA, ISAF Grade 2
New Zealand’s Final Results

Samantha Osborne, Jenna Hansen and Raynor Smeal
Result: 1st
Round Robin One Placing: 4th
Semi Finals: 2-0 against Peru
Finals: 3-2 against Canada

Stephanie Hazard, Susannah Pyatt and Miranda Powrie
Result: 3rd
Round Robin One Placing: 3rd
Semi Finals: 0-2 against Canada
Petite Finals: 2-1 against Peru
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