Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta: Nicky Souter leads squad to victory

Wednesday, 08 April 2009


Nicky Souter and her team of Samantha Boyd, Hanna Nattrass and Lilly Taylor (Australian Sailing Development Squad) have today been crowned the winners of the Harken Women’s International Match Racing Regatta, defeating Katie Spithill 3-2 in the Grand Final. Souter caused an upset winning over Spithill who had led the regatta with a record of 17 wins and only one loss for the entire regatta.

Racing got underway today at 11:15 in a 5-8 knot southerly breeze with the first match being won by Spithill. Spithill led the race from start to finish, playing the breeze right, which enabled her to build a large lead at the top mark. Souter did well to counter on the final downwind run and closed the gap slightly, however it was not enough - Spithill going up 1-0.

The next two flights were to be Souter’s. Match two was a complete reversal of match one with Souter starting slightly behind, yet she out-tacked Spithill, taking a handy lead at the top mark, which she extended to over 20 seconds. Spithill managed to catch up on the downwind run to the finish, however as in match one it was too little too late, and Souter has now squared this series up at 1-all. Match 3 was a magnificent race from Souter who picked the breeze line and sailed off on the right hand side of the course leaving Spithill in her wake. Spithill was flying a protest flag as she crossed the line, however the redress has been denied - Souter leads 2-1.

The Race Committee was protested by both competitors for not allowing enough time in between matches. After the protest was heard a short lunch break was taken with racing resuming shortly after 1pm. The wind had shifted to the sou’east, which also meant the course was moved to the left.
The fourth match went to Spithill by 21 seconds after Souter had led up until mid-way through the first spinnaker run when Spithill made her run, forcing Souter to gybe. Souter's boom hit Spithill’s mainsail, giving Souter a penalty which allowed Spithill to duck in front and take the lead. A Spithill win evened the series at 2-2.

The fifth and deciding match was all Souter’s from start to finish. Spithill worked hard to get the wind shifts, however it was not her day as Souter built on her lead at each mark to sail away with the match and the 2009 Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta.

“After a slow start to the regatta, we pulled it all together on the days that really mattered,” said Nicky Souter after her win today.

“The standard of competition has really lifted and it was great that all four skippers in the finals were from ASDS. The NZ girls, Sam Osborne and Stephanie Hazard, had improved since I competed against them last time, and it was great for them to finished 5th & 6th.

“My crew worked exceptionally well. The new member of our team this regatta was Hanna, who I had never sailed with before this regatta.”

“Thanks to Denis Thompson and his race committee team for laying fair courses and for getting in as much races as possible in shifty conditions.

Thanks also to Harken for its sponsorship of the event,” concluded Nicky.

Amanda Scrivenor showed her dominance in the Petit Final with two straight wins over Lucinda Whitty.  In Match One Whitty built a strong lead early, before Scrivenor picked up a right-hand wind shift on the second up-wind leg. Whitty failed to cover and Scrivenor took the lead at the top mark. Whitty tried to counter on the final downwind leg, but was unable to steal Scrivenor’s air.

Match two saw both boats start neck and neck with Scrivenor leading as they rounded the bottom mark. However Scrivenor did not give Whitty enough room as they rounded, Whitty forcing Scrivenor into a penalty which threatened to throw the match wide open. A skillful upwind leg from Scrivenor saw her build enough of a lead at the top mark to complete her penalty. Scrivenor, then went after Whitty, forcing Whitty into a penalty at the top mark which all but sealed the win and third place for Scrivenor.

Placings at the conclusion of the Harken Women’s International Match Racing Regatta are:
1st – Nicky Souter (ASDS)
2nd – Katie Spithill (ASDS)
3rd – Amanda Scrivenor (ASDS/CYCA)
4th – Lucinda Whitty (ASDS)
5th - Samantha Osborne (RNZYS)               
6th - Stephanie Hazard (RNSYS)                              
7th - Catherine Trew (CYCA)                          
8th - Amy Lee (RPAYC)                                            
9th - Juliana Senfft (Brazil)                                         
10th - Kim Stuart (USA)         

See Harken Women’s Match Race images:

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 April 2009 )