Fresh off the back of a podium place in last week’s lead up regatta, Australia’s highest ranked woman match racer Katie Spithill and her crew are heading to New Zealand this weekend to contest the BSPORT ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship 2008 sporting brand new team colours.
As they enter their third year of campaigning on the international stage, Spithill and her crew have announced a new team name - Wot Chicks - which recognises new title sponsor Graeme Wood, founder of Australasia's number one accommodation website Wotif.com, who is looking to expand awareness of Wotif.com and associated brands.
'Katie and her team have already demonstrated their commitment and talent. The next few years are going to be very exciting and I'm delighted to be able to support them,' said Mr Wood.
'The new sponsorship announcement provides an enormous boost to our efforts. We can now focus all energy on performance in the knowledge we can prepare the best sailors and attend the best events,' says coach Traks Gordon.
Spithill, the younger sister of famous America’s Cup helmsman James Spithill, and her squad of Wot Chicks sailors are heavily focused on the world championship to be hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland from 1-6 April 2008.
Like many of the teams challenging for the grade one regatta, Spithill and her crew of Nina Curtis, Jessica Eastwell and Kristen Short used last week’s Harken Women’s International Match Racing Regatta on Sydney Harbour to clock up valuable time aboard the Elliott 6’s, the class selected for the worlds. This week they were back training on their own on the Harbour, honing their crew work before the team flies to Auckland this Sunday.
World number one Claire Leroy (FRA) toppled Spithill in last year’s world championships, the Australian finishing runner up to the current ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. Next week the world number three’s quest for Leroy’s result in 2007 and world ranking switches to top gear.
For 2008 Wot Chicks has scheduled 14 events in 10 countries including New Zealand, USA, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Brazil, Sweden, Italy and Australia. Each event will be sailed in a different class of boat requiring teams between three and seven sailors.
Wot Chicks’ current squad includes Katie Spithill, Nina Curtis, Jessica Eastwell, Kristen Short, Sarah Willmot, Nicole Douglas and Heidi Gordon. Most of the current squad are Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club Youth Academy sailors and all are representatives of RPAYC.
In November 2007 ISAF announced women’s match racing as a discipline for the 2012 Olympic Games which has provided Wot Chicks with a long term goal. BSPORT ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship website www.rnzys.org.nz/Sailing/Regattas/ISAFWomensWorlds/tabid/251/Default.aspx