Sophie Lahey and her crew of Rayshele Martin, Ali Sutherland and Georgia Cronin have won the Marinassess Womens Match Racing Regatta 2012.
Representing the Southport Yacht Club (SYC), Lahey and crew defeated Kirstin Norris representing Royal Australian Navy (RAN) by three points. Stephanie Strong representing Sandringham Yacht Club finished third, a further point back.
For Lahey and her crew, who came together for this regatta, the win was a good one. 'I’ve had some good results at regattas hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. This time last year, I was part of the winning crew in the 2011 Harken Womens International Match Racing regatta and it feels great to be back on top of the podium again,' she said.
Lahey also competed in the Club Marine NSW Youth Match Racing championships in August last year, also hosted by the CYCA, where she placed fourth.
'My crew are experienced match racers and we progressively got better as a team throughout the regatta.
'One of our toughest matches today was against Stephanie Strong. The pre start was close and we managed to win that battle, but Strong was better on the downwind leg than us yet we came away with the win in the end,' Lahey added. She finished round robin two with a perfect scorecard of six wins.
For Kirsten Norris and her crew of Catherine Trew and Jennifer Lowe; this regatta was the first time the trio had sailed together in three years. All have extensive match racing experience gained from being involved with the CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy.
'This is the first time all three of us have been in the same city at the same time for three years. As we had the weekend off from our ship duties, we decided to put together a team and see how we would go,' Norris said.
'We’ve had a great regatta and our match racing skills came back to us pretty quickly. We struggled to get a training session in prior to the regatta but things just started to click after a couple of races. At the end of racing yesterday, we realised how well we were doing and we decided to put the foot down today and really focus to see if we could get a good result.'
'We had some tough matches but we had a little bit of an advantage by not knowing much about our competition, so there was no stress going into the matches and were able to focus on the job at hand,' Trew added.
'The last two races of the day, the crew really gelled,' Norris added. 'In our match with Nina Long, she received a penalty at the bottom rounding mark and tried to wipe it off by taking us off to the far side of the course but we managed to sneak under her and take the match.' All three will return to their respective naval duties tomorrow.
'The weather has been fantastic,' Stephanie Strong said this afternoon. 'We’ve had a great regatta and we felt stronger in our own sailing as the regatta progressed. This has been good training for the Womens Nationals in September that will be held at our home club (Sandringham Yacht Club).'
For the race management team lead by Race Officer Brian Brenac it was a fickle day on water. Racing was delayed due to a sick nor’westerly and eventually got underway at 11.30hrs once the nor’easterly had filled in.
'It was perfect match racing conditions once the nor’easterly filled in and was constant at 8-10knots,' Brenac said. 'All of the crews showed great improvement; everyone was more aggressive as their match racing confidence grew, thus resulting in a few more penalties being awarded today.'
Chairman of the Training and Development Committee CYCA Director Anthony Dunn said 'Congratulations to our winners and thanks again to the ongoing sponsorship from past Commodore John Messenger and Marinassess of this regatta, womens match racing and the Youth Sailing Academy. The Marinassess Womens Match Racing regatta was conducted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on the Youth Sailing Academy’s Elliott 6.0m boats.
Final results here