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6 February 2006, 08:55 pm
French Champion Out To Dethrone Local Talent
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Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta 2006
Sydney, Australia

French sailor Christelle PHILIPPE, ranked eleven in the latest ISAF World Match Race Rankings, will travel to Sydney, Australia next month with her crew to pit themselves against the best local talent in the ISAF Grade 3 Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
Australia's two top ranked women match racing sailors Nicky SOUTER and Katie SPITHILL, back to back winner for the last two years, will have to intensify their efforts if they are to keep the trophy from leaving Australia's shores.

Pittwater sailor SOUTER, currently ranked 16 in the World and representing the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, enjoyed many successes last year including victory at the ISAF Grade 3 Line 7 Austalian Women's Match Racing Championship and a second place in the ISAF Grade 3 New Zealand Women's Match Racing Championship.

She was also aboard the maxi Wild Oats XI when it took the trifecta of line and handicap honours and a new race record in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

SPITHILL Aims For Three In A Row

SPITHILL, ranked 19 in the World and also representing the RPAYC, will be aiming for her own trifecta of three consecutive wins in this regatta but will have to wrestle the higher ranked newcomer PHILIPPE, and SOUTER, who did not compete last year, for the top spot.

Nina CURTIS (AUS) will head up the third RPAYC team. She finished fourth last year behind the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's team led by Jessica SMYTH (NZL), who is returning to try and build on her previous best performance. Fellow New Zealand skipper Amanda HARGREAVES, from the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington, will steer the second Kiwi boat.

State Champions Head To Sydney

Adele FREAN (AUS), winner of the Western Australian Women's Match Racing Championship for the past two years, will represent the South of Perth Yacht Club while Jessica EASTWELL (AUS), who finished second in her state championships last year, will sail for Royal Perth Yacht Club.

For the first time the host Club's two representative teams will be selected based on their results in the CYCA's original women's regatta, the Marinassess Regatta. Over the past few months more than 20 female sailors have been honing their skills at match racing. This will culminate in six teams fighting it out in the Marinassess Regatta on 25-26 February for the right to represent their host Club at the Harken Regatta in March.

Finally, French sailor PHILIPPE and her crew will bring another dimension of match racing experience and talent to this ISAF Grade 3 regatta, but will be competing without the benefit of local experience sailing on Sydney Harbour.

The Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta will be sailed aboard the CYCA's 10 Elliott 6 Metre sports boats in the vicinity of Rushcutters Bay from Thursday to Sunday 9-12 March. Entry is restricted to ten teams who will draw for their boat daily.

This is the third year of naming rights sponsorship for Harken who are long term supporters of youth and women's sailing.

Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta Entrants
(- ISAF World Match Race Ranking)

Lisa RATCLIFF (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Katie SPITHILL leads off the line in the last race of the 2005 event:© Sailsportz
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