Wot Chicks Olympics bid
Two Australian teams, the Wot Chicks crew of Spithill, Stacey Jackson, Jessica Eastwell and Angela Farrell from Pittwater’s Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and a CYCA team will travel across the Tasman this week to take on a Californian crew and the might of seven teams from the host club including the biggest threat for a top dais finish, last year’s runner up Jessica Smyth.
“Jessica and her team are the ones to watch. Being their home club they have a lot of hours at the regatta location under their belts,” said Spithill today. “They were in Australia recently showing us how hard they have been training, finishing equal first at the Marinassess Regatta on points and third on a count back.”
The three-day NZ championship will be sailed aboard ten Elliott 6s, the recently nominated women’s Olympic class, fanning the fire in the belly for those vying for selection for the 2012 Games. This includes the world’s number six ranked Spithill and her crew who have found themselves frontrunners in the hunt for national selection.
Having sailed the Elliott 6 sports boat since it first arrived on Aussie shores back in 2002, the Wot Chicks crew has had years to familiarise themselves with the design and can continue their three-time weekly training schedule uninterrupted while those nations other than Australia and New Zealand scramble to place their Elliott 6 order with the ISAF Secretariat.
Speaking for the first time on the new Olympic class, Wot Chicks skipper Katie Spithill said: “We already have the boats and we are training three times a week as part of Yachting Australia’s Australian Sailing Development Squad. For once the ANZACS are a step ahead whereas the others have to order boats to be built. Usually you choose your class when you start out on an Olympic campaign. Wot Chicks has been an established match racing outfit for some time and the new Olympic class has come to us, which has given us a handy head start."
Yachting Australia last week announced that the Australian Sailing Team has begun the search for Olympic champions for London 2012 and beyond with the announcement of the 2009 Australian Sailing Development Squad.
A squad of 12 women has been training with the ASDS three times a week with the Graeme Wood sponsored Wot Chicks making up half of the squad. In addition to regular fitness testing, performance in training and competition will form the basis of the selection of athletes to join the ASDS following next month’s grade 3 Harken Women’s International Match Racing Regatta conducted by the CYCA.
“Having so many Wot Chicks selected for the women’s squad shows our performance, training and dedication has paid off,” Spithill added.
Following the New Zealand nationals Spithill will lead a Wot Chicks team to Calpe, Spain, for the ISAF Grade 1 International Women Match Race Criterium from 14-18 April. Also on the horizon is the all important grade 1 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil, Sweden, from 27 July - 1 August.