by Craig Heydon
Australian crews have made a strong start to the 2010 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Rhode Island, USA, with both Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crews well placed after day one of racing.
Spithill and crew on day one of the 2010 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship
After a slow start to the regatta due to a lack of wind a 16 knot sea breeze filled in throughout the afternoon allowing for some exciting racing between the top 20 Women’s Match Racing crews in the world.
Katie Spithill, Jessica Eastwell, Angela Farrell and Stacey Jackson had a perfect day on the water with four wins from four starts to be tied for the lead in the red group with Lucy Macgregor of Great Britain.
With competition taking place on the unfamiliar Sonar and the crew only training in the boat in the week before racing the Australians put all of this behind them to claim victories against American Genny Tulloch, Finnish sailor Silja Lehtinen, Spain’s Silvia Roca and Sofia Bekatorou of Greece.
'Katie, Jess, Stacey and I are feeling confident in our boat handling and crew work after spending last week training in the Sonars in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, before heading across to Rhode Island,' said Farrell. 'We had one race this morning in really light breeze and then a two hour delay before completing our final three races in a really strong sea breeze this afternoon.'
In the blue group defending World Champion Nicky Souter and crew Nina Curtis, Olivia Price and Laura Baldwin are locked in a tight battle after day one and are currently in a four way tie for second position.
The Australians, winners of the last two Women’s Match Racing events, finished the day with three wins and a loss after defeating their Brazilian, Croatian and Portuguese opposition and having a loss against American Sally Barkow.
'We’re all really pleased with the results from today,' said Price. 'The race we lost against Sally Barkow was a tough race; we were behind off the line but then caught up to be in front at the last top mark but hit it so we tried to engage her by luffing her, but the overlap broke so we actually received another penalty.'
'We completed a penalty turn and then surfed another wave down onto her air again, getting close but didn’t have enough to complete another penalty turn before the finish,' she said. 'The four of us were happy with our speed against Sally who has sailed the Sonar quite a bit in the past.'
'At the end of day one there are four crews all on three wins and two on four wins,' said Price. 'So we have some work to do tomorrow, the forecast is looking to be similar today and we learnt some lessons from today’s conditions that we can take into Wednesday’s racing.'
Souter and crew will hit the water in the early session on Wednesday with their compatriots not racing until the afternoon.
For more information visit www.australiansailingteam.com.au