Nicky SOUTER of Australia led the way into the knock-out stages at the BSPORT ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championships in Auckland.
With eleven wins and two losses over three days of sailing, 24-year old Nicky SOUTER
from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Sydney, and her crew of Kylie MCKILLOP
, Lilly TAYLOR
and Rayshele MARTIN
only had two races today, and good clean starts ensured they emerged victorious from both. Significantly one of the victories came against Finland's Silja LEHTINEN
, who had been tied with the Australia at the top of the round robin leaderboard.
Conditions in Auckland today were very similar to those of yesterday - a 12-18 knot north northeasterly which eased slightly during the course of the afternoon.
"Our pre-start against LEHTINEN was pretty good. She stalled out on the startline, and we sailed through to leeward,"
says SOUTER. "Then we sailed away from Josie GIBSON off the start."
SOUTER won by a margin of 9 seconds over LEHTINEN, and 14 over Josie GIBSON
SOUTER is joined in the quarter finals by reigning champion and world #1, Claire LEROY
of France, whose single loss today against GIBSON didn't affect her overall standing in the regatta.
LEROY shares her overall tally of ten wins and three losses with LEHTINEN of Finland.
The other three sailors to qualify in the round robin for the quarter finals are Silke HAHLBROCK
of Germany, GIBSON of Great Britain, and Jess SMYTH
of New Zealand, each on eight wins and five losses. SOUTER confesses that she is feeling good about the quarter finals, but will be more confident when she knows who will be joining them from the repechage.
As it turned out the Australian skipper did not have too long to wait. Although two flights of the repechage still remain to be completed tomorrow morning, world #3 and last year's World Championship runner up Katie SPITHILL
from Australia has already emerged as the seventh confirmed starter for tomorrow's quarter final, with a perfect five wins from five races. The eighth and final position will be occupied by either world #4 Christelle PHILIPPE
of France or American Liz BAYLIS
, who each have four wins and one loss. The big surprise of day three is that Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN
(DEN), the world #2 and a three-time medallist at the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship (including a bronze medallist last year) is out of contention for a place in the quarter finals. She lies on a 2-3 record after flight 5 of the repechage and lost to both PHILIPPE and BAYLIS and can finish not better than ninth overall.
The BSPORT ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championships are hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and sponsored by BSPORT, Giltrap City Toyota and Auckland City Council.
Racing will continue at 10:00 tomorrow with the conclusion of the repechage before the start of the quarter finals.
(top six skippers qualify for quarter finals)
1. Nicky SOUTER
(AUS), 11 wins-2 losses
2. Claire LEROY
3. Silja LEHTINEN
4. Silke HAHLBROCK
5. Josie GIBSON
6. Jessica SMYTH
7. Liz BAYLIS
8. Katie SPITHILL
9. Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN
10. Gemma FARRELL
11. Jan DAWSON
12. Christelle PHILIPPE
13. Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM
14. Sabrina GURIOLI
Repecharge Round Robin
(top two skippers qualify for quarter finals)
1. Katie SPITHILL
(AUS), 5 wins-0 losses
2. Liz BAYLIS
3. Christelle PHILIPPE
4. Sabrina GURIOLI
5. Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN
6. Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM
7. Jan DAWSON
8. Gemma FARRELL
Full points table - click here
Event website - click here
Find out more on the ISAF Women?s Match Racing World Championship at www.sailing.org/wmatchworlds