KIWI WOMEN’S CREWS READY TO DEFEND HOME WATER AGAINST WORLD’S BEST AT NEW ZEALAND WOMEN’S MATCH RACING CHAMPIONSHIP
The Waitemata Harbour is the stage for two weeks of world-class women’s sailing this November, with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron hosting the New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Championship (NZWMRC) from the 3rd to the 6th of November leading into the Barfoot & Thompson Women’s Match Racing World Championships (WMRWC) from the 9th to the 13th of November 2022.
The NZWMRC winner will be awarded the coveted Leith Mossman Memorial Trophy – and the top-seeded unqualified team will be invited to join the WMRWC fleet a week later, alongside 14 of the best of the best in women’s sailing. The NZWMRC field includes many of the favourites for the WMRWC, alongside five teams who are after that coveted final World Championship entry.
“After having to delay the World Championship event more than once, we are looking forward to finally having the competitors arrive and get underway with world-class racing in the vicinity of Auckland Harbour Bridge” says RNZYS Commodore Andrew Aitken.
“We look forward to joining our members and local sailing community to support these accomplished women in our sport. It is great to have our teams competing overseas and winning on the world stage, but even better when they can come back to New Zealand and perform in front of family, friends and home supporters.”
“Hosting this calibre of regatta at our club allows for our RNZYS Mastercard Youth Training Programme teams to compete at world-class events and learn from world-class crews, which is invaluable experience for the future of New Zealand’s high-performance sailing.”
World Sailing Women’s #1 Pauline Courtois and her Match in Pink by Normandy Elite team (FRA), and #2 Anna Ostling’s Wings (SWE) team headline this year’s NZMRC field and will be a very tough test to match up against after collectively dominating the last few years of women’s sailing. Both teams are using the NZWMRC to get a feel for the Elliott 7 boats that both regattas will be raced with and are expected to have some fantastic duels throughout the next two weeks.
The Kiwi teams of Celia Willison’s Edge Racing and Megan Thomson’s 2.0 Racing have already qualified for the World Championships but hope to kickstart their World Championship campaign with a New Zealand title.
Edge Racing are incredibly keen to return home and is coming off a close 2nd place at Corfu Match in Greece and 4th at the European Championships, with Willison also being a part of the J70 World Champion crew last week.
The 2.0 Racing team are the reigning NZWMRC champions and performed brilliantly on this year’s open World Match Racing Tour US Grand Slam series, with top 5 finishes while competing against some of the world’s best open match racing crews.
Four-time US Women’s Match Racing Champion Nicole Breault’s Vela Racing (USA) caps off the teams already qualified for the WMRWC. Vela Racing is bringing an all-star line-up of American sailors with plenty of experience at winning American open, women’s and collegiate regattas.
The remaining five teams in the regatta will be battling for both the NZWMRC title and the final WMRWC spot, which will bring some added competitiveness between crews that know each other very well.
2020 NZWMRC champion Samantha Norman returns for another shot at the national title with the heightened stakes with a well-established squad. Norman’s team will be a tough challenge for everyone in the field with former 470 World and Olympic champion Polly Powrie, and veteran ocean racer Bex Costello among her crew.
The emerging RNZYS Mastercard Youth Training Programme teams helmed by New Zealand 29er representative Sophia Fyfe and Brooke Adamson will be sailing with home field advantage and plenty of experience in the Elliott 7’s.
The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron crew of Brooke Wilson narrowly missed qualifying for the WMRWC, by finishing 3rd at this weekend’s Australian Women’s Match Racing Championship. They will be coming across the ditch for a second chance and are aiming to extend their New Zealand expedition for another week.
Returning skipper Ella Willcox brings plenty of on water experience and is coming up from Lyttleton’s Naval Point Club to represent the South Island and continue her pathway into keelboats after being first introduced as part of the 2019 New Zealand Secondary Schools Keelboat Championship.
The match-ups between these crews will be fascinating with every one of the Round Robin races between them having plenty on the line in regards to the national championships, world championships and local bragging rights between the Kiwi sailors who know each other very well from years competing against each other.
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is proud to bring world class match racing to the Waitemata and is looking forward to hosting the best women’s sailors in the world over the next few weeks. The NZWMRC will be an enthralling regatta with plenty of storylines playing out on the water before the World Championships come to town, and our Kiwi teams would love your hometown support throughout the next two weeks.
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