Three out of four for Macgregor
A promised afternoon sea breeze failed to materialise for Group B crews in the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships in their first taste of competition on Fremantle’s Inner Harbour course today. While hot easterlies saw 20 matches completed, the remainder have been postponed to Tuesday, 6 December.
Sailing action in the first four flights of the day saw strong performances from Skandia Team GBR's Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor, with clear wins in three out of four matches. They opened their campaign up with victory over the Spanish crew, helmed by Silvia Roca, and followed it up with a second win over Denmark’s Trine Abrahmsen. The host nation’s Olivia Price took the only point off of the British trio on their opening day, with the Poole-based trio bouncing straight back to take their third win against Anna Kjellberg.
“We were really pleased with our first day,” explained 25-year-old helm Lucy. “It was a tricky day today – even when we were a couple of boat lengths apart, the races were never over. You were always having to look behind you. To take three wins out of that is as good a start as we could have hoped for, although with eight knots max on the course today we’ll be hoping for a bit more wind on Tuesday!
“The loss against Olivia was pretty frustrating but it was a wacky, shifty race to the point where we had our spinnaker up on the second beat, so that was a bad race really in terms of the course, but not too disappointing and I suspect that everyone will have a race a bit like that at some stage.”
The two teams from Netherlands found themselves going head to head in Group B. Renee Groeneveld and Mandy Mulder had each recorded three wins, but up against each other, it was Groeneveld and her crew who crossed the line two boat lengths ahead.
Group B sailors first encountered gusty easterly winds up to 15 knots, but a short-lived wind change at midday forced a course change-over. As a result, the final match - between the two Spanish teams – was postponed to the second day of Group B racing on Tuesday.
Eventually the forecast sea breeze failed to arrive in time for Olivia Price to open up a gap on Silvia Roca. Neither team flew a spinnaker as they crawled down the last leg of the course with very little pace until the last few metres, when Price saw her chance and cut in ahead of Roca, winning the match.
Price commented: “We’re pretty happy with today, we raced five races, won three and lost two. In the races that we lost it was just unfortunate errors that we made ourselves. We came back each race to fight hard and we’re really happy with our performance today.”
Poor wind conditions continued into the afternoon which saw racing to grind to a halt as the course was arranged and rearranged in an attempt to accommodate the changes.
Taking to the water for flight 32, was the second group of Elliot 6m crews. However, the sailors competed more against the dying wind and tidal flow than against each other. With an almost non-existent breeze, ISAF officials decided to postpone the day's remaining flights.
Group A will continue Woman’s Match Racing at 10:00 on Monday, 5 December.