Next year this regatta hopes to be re-graded to an ISAF Grade 1 and is likely to be the lead up regatta to the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2008 to be hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
Defending champion SOUTER from the RPAYC will take on the world's number 17 ranked match racer and the winner of the New Zealand Women's Match Racing Championship and winner of the ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final - Oceania, Jess SMYTH from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
Another strong New Zealand challenge is expected from Samantha OSBORNE, a member of the RNZYS's elite match racing squad which spends 11 months of the year training in this specialist area of sailing, something which will no doubt hold her in good stead next week. Crewing for Samantha is Taylor HOLLAND, niece of renowned yacht designer Ron HOLLAND.
Experienced match racer Jan DAWSON, ranked 63 in the world and also from the RNZYS will skipper one of only two teams which have elected to sail three up in this year's Harken International. The RPAYC's second team led by Nina CURTIS is the other while the remaining eight teams have opted to sail four up.
Following a late withdrawal by the Spanish, four CYCA teams selected from results in last weekend's Marinassess Women's Match Racing Regatta, including the overall winner Amanda SCRIVENOR and second placed Meghan Andrew, will fly the flag for the host club.
Alex WARD, sailing with fourteen year old young up and coming sailor Olivia PRICE, who also skippered a boat in last weekend's regatta and showed great potential, will steer the third CYCA boat while long term CYCA Youth Sailing Academy sailor Lucinda WHITTY will team up with high school student Kathleen STROINOVSKY and two others to make up the fourth.
This is the fourth year of naming rights sponsorship for Harken, a long term supporter of youth and women's sailing.
'It is Harken's commitment to assist the talents of up and coming sailors that originally led to the association with the CYCA,' said Harken Australia's managing director Carl WATSON.
'The International Women's Match Racing Regatta is always a great showcase for talent and this year certainly promises to continue that tradition with its high calibre of sailors. We are pleased to continue our relationship with the CYCA in 2007,' WATSON added.
Teams will gather at the CYCA in Rushcutters Bay on Wednesday evening, 7 March, for a welcome function before the action begins aboard the Elliott 6's the following day under the watchful eyes of Chief Umpire Phil MOSTYN and International Race Officer Doug TALTY.
Two round robins will be completed before the semi finals and finals on Sunday 11 March.
To make team identification easy for spectators, each team will be given a different coloured spinnaker to fly for the duration of the four-day regatta. The spinnaker draw will be available to download from http://www.cyca.com.au/editorial.asp?key=1550
Click here for the full list of competitors http://www.cyca.com.au/sysfile/downloads/Harken_Competitors_07.doc
Regatta sponsor Harken Australiawww.harken.com.au