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11 March 2008, 01:22 pm
LEROY Wins RNZYS Women's Match Race
Jan DAWSON and her team
Jan DAWSON and her team are New Zealand Women's Match Racing Champions for 2008

New Zealand Women's Match Racing Championship 2008
Auckland, New Zealand

Claire LEROY's flying start to the year continued as she swept to victory at the ISAF Grade 2 New Zealand Women's Match Race.
Claire LEROY (FRA), the reigning ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion and the 2007 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, and her French team of Marie RIOU (main), Elodie BERTRAND (trim) and Claire PRUVOT (bow) were undefeated in the round robin and proved why they are #1 in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings!

Incredibly the team had never sailed in the Elliott 6s before and this was also their first time in New Zealand. From day one they adjusted to the new boats and to the tides winning each and every race. It was a double party for LEROY on Sunday who also celebrated her 28th birthday!

It was scenes from 2007 as we read the weather forecast on Thursday morning, not much wind was scheduled over the three racing days, but we would see what Friday would bring.

Friday came and went without much wind but Judy Salthouse and her race management team did a fantastic job completing five flights of round robin one. At the end of day one it was LEROY in the lead, closely followed by two Kiwi's Jan DAWSON and Jessica SMYTH.

Saturday brought much the same with the remaining four flights of round robin one completed after the Race Management team moved the course down into the Mechanics Bay area.

At the end of round robin one it was again LEROY, DAWSON, SMYTH and Australian Nicky SOUTER who would go through into the semi-finals on Sunday.

The final day of racing began around 14:00 when after a long time waiting for breeze, the race committee sent the Elliott 6s out onto the water. Flight one of the semi-finals was started at round 14:30 in around 7 knots, with only the first three pairs completed and the first race of the semi finals unable to be completed.

At 15:00 Race Officer Judy SALTHOUSE send the fifth to tenth placed boats back to the dock being unable to complete anymore racing for them in the remaining time. After another short wait for breeze the top four skippers all agreed that racing was unlikely to take place and they were happy to revert back to the round robins.

That was it! All boats returned to the dock with just round robin one completed!

DAWSON and her team of Carla HOLGATE, Bex HIELKEMA and Laura HEMMINGWAY as the first New Zealand team are the New Zealand Women's Match Racing Champions for 2008.

And for both DAWSON and SMYTH (the top two New Zealand crew) they receive and entry into the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championships to be held by the RNZYS from 1-6 April 2008.

Results - click here
New Zealand Women's Match Racing Championship - www.rnzys.org.nz
ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship - www.sailing.org/wmatchworlds

Sara Roberts
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