The Marinassess Women’s Match Racing Regatta came to a fantastic end with Kathleen Stroinovsky and her crew of Lucinda Whitty, Samantha Boyd and Kate Brown, representing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, winning the title in convincing fashion – losing just one match in the two day regatta.
The regatta, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Youth Sailing Academy, is sponsored by leading marine insurer Marinassess, and is sailed on the Elliott 6.0m boats with the winner being determined after the completion of two round robins.
'My crew really held me together. It’s great to come away with the win. It's also good to see the big improvements that the other teams made throughout the regatta. I remember what it was like when I was in their shoes approximately five years ago,' Stroinovsky said.
For Lucinda Whitty, the London 2012 silver medallist in Women’s Match racing, this regatta was fun. 'I've really enjoyed this regatta – it’s been sailed in really good spirits. It has been great to see the other girls enjoying match racing and keeping the class alive.
'There was lots of talent out there and we were kept on our toes,' she added.
Rayshele Martin and her crew of Ali Sutherland, Erica Kirby and Charlotte Holliday, representing the CYCA, finished second overall.
'I’m pleased with our result, we sailed well in the light airs this morning and it was tougher in the afternoon with the shifty breeze. Our toughest matches were with Stroinovsky and McCall which we lost,' Martin said.
'My crew did a really good job – I couldn't have done it without them. This afternoon, it was all eyes out of the boat looking for the shifts. It was like a slingshot – if you were in the lead and missed the shift you could be as far behind as you were in front.
'Thanks to Marinassess for sponsoring this regatta which allows us to put all our training from the Women’s Squad into practice and gives the up and coming match racers a chance to develop their skills in a competitive but friendly environment,' Martin added.
For Erica Kirby, this was her first match racing regatta as a competitor – she is an experienced umpire who has numerous regattas under her belt. 'It’s tough going out there – I think I prefer to be in the umpiring position though – you don’t get as wet!
'I’m not sure how many of my fellow umpires would trade places – I may just have to dare them to do it. It was challenging and exciting - the girls in my crew were great,' she added.
Milly Bennett, representing Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, caused the upset of the day - beating Stroinovsky by sailing the perfect race in Flight Five. Bennett got a slight jump on Stroinovsky at the start, and the lead changed a few times throughout the match but Bennett held on to record a narrow victory.
'It was a good match – we won the start and received no penalties. We lost her (Stroinovsky) on the first downwind leg and were behind at the last top mark. We got the better mark rounding and were able to get in front and hold onto it across the line,' Bennett said.
Bennett and her crew of Alice Tarnawski, Seldon Coventry, Kajsa Doyle, finished in third overall. 'It’s a nice result in the lead up to the Centreport regatta (New Zealand) later this week. Our crew work had gelled and our boat handling was good,' Bennett added.
Racing was conducted in the vicinity of Rushcutters Bay in a light nor’easterly breeze of four to six knots, before the southerly change came in around midday bring southerly winds of 15-22 knots with gusts of 26-28 knots.
The southerly change caught a few competitors off guard in Flight Three when it arrived mid-flight. A short AP of 30 minutes was taken after the completion of Flight Three so the course could be moved.
Race Officer Stephen Merrington complemented all competitors for their spirit throughout the regatta. 'There was some great racing in the southerly this afternoon. It’s been really wonderful to see how the regatta has been sailed in such a friendly spirit. I’m sure it’s been a good learning curve for those competitors for whom it was their first regatta.'
Competitors concluded the regatta with a friendly fleet race which was won by Rayshele Martin.
Director and co-founder of Marinassess, Tony Hearder said 'This is the 18th time Marinassess has sponsored this regatta and very proud to do so. We’re encouraged by the strong level support that this regatta has received and it’s great to see an Olympic medallist return to sail in an event she has won four times previously.
'I would like to wish all the competitors a fantastic sailing season over the next 12 months and hope to see them back next year,' Hearder added.
Chairman of the Training and Development Committee CYCA Director Anthony Dunn said 'Congratulations to Kathleen Stroinovsky and her crew on their commanding performance in the Marinassess Women’s Match Racing Regatta.
'I would like to thank Marinassess for their sponsorship as it enables the Youth Sailing Academy to conduct these regattas which enables crews put their training into practice with competitive racing,' Dunn added.
This year, the Youth Sailing Academy celebrates its 20th anniversary and will celebrate with the launch of the new fleet of Elliott 7.0m boats in August and an Alumni function.
(Placing, Skipper, Yacht Club, Wins/Losses)
1. Kathleen Stroinovsky (RSYS) 11 wins 1 losses
2. Rayshele Martin (CYCA) 8 wins, 4 losses
3. Milly Bennett (RPAYC) 8 wins 4 losses
4. Tara McCall (CYCA) 7 wins 5 losses
5. Emma May (CYCA) 4 wins 8 losses
6. Greta Quealy (CYCA) 4 wins 8 losses
7. Rosie Lee (CYCA) 0 wins 12 losses
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
by Jennifer Crooks
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8:57 AM Sun 10 Feb 2013GMT
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