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14 October 2008, 01:15 pm
Great Britain And Italy Qualify For Women's ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final
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ISAF Nations Cup 2009
Antibes, France

Reigning European Champion Lucy MACGREGOR and world #6 ranked Sabrina GURIOLI triumphed at the latest ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final in Antibes to qualify Great Britain and Italy for the Grand Final in Brazil next March.
Following earlier events in Italy and New Zealand, the action for the latest Regional Final of the 2009 ISAF Nations Cup - a global battle to find the world's top match racing nation - moved to the Mediterranean. From 7-11 October, the Yacht Club d'Antibes in France hosted the Regional Final for the Women's Europe I and Europe II groupings.

Conditions in Antibes proved difficult, with light winds and large waves providing a real test of the seven competing teams representing Great Britain, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. After two round robins, finals were held amongst the top competitors in both the Europe I and Europe II groupings, with the winners earning their country a place at the 2009 ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final, set to be held from 23-28 March in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

In the final for Europe I, Sabrina GURIOLI of Italy lined up against Portuguese skipper Rita GONçALVES. With GURIOLI lying 14 places above GONCALVEZ in the ISAF World Match Racing Rankings, the Italian skipper started as a clear favourite and lived up to her billing. She won the match 2-1 to ensure that in Porto Alegre next March, Italy will be represented at the Grand Final of the ISAF Nations Cup for the first time.

The battle for the Europe II qualifying place looked harder to call and so it proved to be. After two years spent dedicated to the Olympic sailing circuit and an Yngling campaign with Shirley ROBERTSON (GBR), Britain's Lucy MACGREGOR has reverted to match racing and quickly rediscovered the form that marked her out as a rising star, winning the European Championship in September. She lined up against one of the most experienced names on the women's match racing circuit, world #3 skipper Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN of Denmark. In a very closely fought final, MELDGAARD PEDERSEN took the early advantage but MACGREGOR fought back to move into a 2-1 lead. The Danes levelled things up at 2-2 before the wind died and an extended postponement raised the tension even further. Finally a light breeze arrived and the decisive fifth and final match could take place. MELDGAARD PEDERSEN started well, but it was MACGREGOR who seized the initiative at the top mark and from there went on to record victory.

The ISAF Nations Cup now moves to Mumbai, India and the Regional Final for Asia from 14-19 October.

ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final - Qualified Nations

Open

Brazil - host
France - defending champion
Portugal
New Zealand

Women

Brazil - host
France - defending champion
Australia
Great Britain
Italy

Find out more about the fifth edition of the ISAF Nations Cup and learn more on the history of the event and past winners at the ISAF Nations Cup microsite www.sailing.org/nationscup.

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