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24 September 2005, 11:06 am
Controversy Ends In A Souter v Spithill Final
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Line 7 Australian Women's Match Racing Championship 2005
Sydney, Australia

After a controversial third day in the Line 7 Australian Women's Match Racing Championship, the teams which have dominated the competition so far have cemented their place in tomorrow's finals.
Dual Olympic sailor Nicky BETHWAITE was this afternoon leading Nicky SOUTER from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Race 1 until a less than perfect spinnaker drop at the bottom mark allowed SOUTER to regain the lead.

Then in the second race, the two top sailors enjoyed a boat for boat gybing duel before a controversial finish resulted in a red flag protest being upheld. This race was resailed but unfortunately for BETHWAITE, she broke the start which paved the way for SOUTER to dominate from start to finish.

Tomorrow's much anticipated finals will feature the best of Australia's women's match racing talent with SOUTER and Katie SPITHILL, also from Pittwater on Sydney's northern beaches, racing for the prestigious national title in the Rushcutters Bay from midday.

The first flight of today signalled the start of the sail off for positions 5-9. Crews were tested early by the southerly 8-10 knot breeze which was shifting east, causing numerous postponements.

Lots of pressure variations accompanied the shifting breezes, which meant the lead boats had to close cover their rivals to maintain control.

After a lengthy postponement of the second flight by the Race Committee, the breeze finally settled back to a 10-12 knot sou'easter which held for the remainder of the day.

Today's round robin enabled the improving CYCA team of Sam BOYD, Tiffany FULDE and Rebecca DUNN to win 3 of their 4 races and leapfrog into 5th (from 8th) place overall.

BOYD commented, 'it all came together today for us as we made the most of the shifty conditions. We have made a few mistakes in the last few days but we have learnt a lot. Our prestarts have greatly improved as has our ability to gain the most from the shifts'.

Lisa Ratcliff (As Amended By ISAF) Image: © Andrea Francolini
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