Waitemata Harbour Tests World’s Best Women Sailors to Open World Championships
Home of the America’s Cup delivers exciting conditions for day one of the 2022 Barfoot & Thompson Women’s Match Racing World Championship
Racing was off to a flying start at 10am in front of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron with teams of competitors jostling for wins on Auckland’s famous Waitemata Harbour. A pleasant 10 knots at the start of the day meant fun sailing for the first flights before a squall set in early afternoon, bringing with it 25 knots of wind and rain, adding a challenging chop to already exciting racing.
The event comes at a pivotal time for women’s sport in Auckland, New Zealand, with the Women’s Rugby World Cup coming to a close and several female focused sporting events taking place across the city – making Auckland a truly exceptional global destination for the Women’s Match Racing World Championships and celebrating provision of pathway, opportunity, participation and inspiration to women across the globe.
Top-ranked skippers Pauline Courtois (FRA ‘Match in Pink’), Anna Östling (SWE ‘Wings’), and Celia Willison (NZL ‘Edge Racing’) front-footed a strong entry into the regatta putting on a show. Leading the middle of the pack was Ali Morrish (GBR ‘Five by Five’) and Megan Thomson (NZL ‘2.0 Racing’).
New Zealand’s Celia Willison (Edge Women’s Match) has been sailing with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for 10 years and, at just 24, had a successful day winning seven of their eight races. But it was Pauline Courtois of France who had the most successful opening day, taking eight wins from eight guns. Anna Östling (SWE) and Megan Thomson (NZL) each won six of their eight races.
Edge Women’s Match crew member Alison Kent, was on the water for an extremely long opening day of racing.
“Tomorrow we expect to see some heavy winds as a front comes through Auckland overnight and throughout the morning, so there is a very good chance we will be held on shore in the morning, but we are all hoping that the conditions ease for racing in the afternoon,” said Kent.
“Today was definitely a good build up to tomorrow’s conditions and the race committee will likely complete the round robin. The racing out there is incredibly close and we are absolutely loving every minute of it, continued Kent.
Before racing got underway, International Race Officer, Megan Kensington said that the objective of the day was to get in as many races as possible.
“Knowing what we have coming our way on Friday, it was extremely important for the on water race management to have a good clean day to ensure we made gains to get through the round robin series,” said Kensington.
Race officials delivered with 11 flights completed between starting at 1000 hours, and wrapping up the day with the final match starting just minutes before the 1900 hour cut off.
Follow the action on the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s social media channels, where the team will be posting daily photography, videos, and reels. You can also watch the event finals LIVE and hosted by Alex Maloney and Scotty Dickson, with streaming available on the RNZYS Facebook and Instagram, or at matchracingresults.com.
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron would like to thank our line-up of sponsors for this fantastic event, led by Barfoot & Thompson and supported by Auckland Unlimited, Dubarry, Scarbro and Live Sail Die.