Victory for Katie Archer
This weekend saw Britain’s Katie Archer, with her team Bethan Cardan and Lauren Martel, defeat Spanish sailor Silvia Roca and her team in a 3-2 nail-biting final at the annual Berlin Women’s Match Race event.
Scorching temperatures hitting 37degC and fickle light winds for the qualifying stages of the regatta made things difficult for both Vernein Seglerhaus am Wannsee’s Race Team and the 10 International teams, from six nations, competing in the event.
Skandia Team GBR sailor Archer and her team soon established themselves as the boat to beat in the light winds posting a clean score sheet of four victories, followed by Spanish sailor Silvia Roca and her team of Eva Gonzalez and Lara Cacabelos.
With the second day seeing whispers of wind barely touching 6 knots and temperatures still testing the metal of all the competitors, the Race Committee fought hard against 60 degree wind shifts to complete the round robin with enough time to run quarter finals, however, it
was not to be. The round robin rolled into the thi, rd day, with the committee taking the decision to head straight to semi-finals.
Fortunately for the Race Team conditions improved for the final day where the sailors arrived to find a steady breeze holding at 6-8 knots. Archer and her team finished the round robin in the top spot, the only team to make seven wins. There then followed a four way tie for the
final three places with four skippers tied on 6 wins each. For Archer’s fellow British sailor Charlotte Lawrence and her crew, the tie went the wrong way and they finished the event in 5th place, outside of the final 4.
The top four teams of Archer, Roca, Croatian Petra Kliba and Roca’s fellow Spanish sailor Tamara Echegoyen progressed. Archer selected to sail against the Kliba’s team and convincingly won her semi-finals 2-0. Roca followed suit despatching Echegoyen 2-0.
Unfortunately, just as the participants and race team alike were starting to enjoy the ideal match racing conditions, the wind again deteriorated for the finals. With the wind throwing gusts ranging from 0 to 10 knots and shifting across 60 degrees the finalists were presented with challenging conditions. Archer and Roca rose to the challenge with the most exciting racing of the regatta resulting in just inches separating the two teams across the finish lines.
Despite Archer leading from the start of every race the finals went to five races. In a nail biter of a decider Archer led from the start but Roca was close behind. On the final run Roca, still behind chose to split gybe. This proved a wise option as she came down the run
in good pressure. Archer could only look on to see her lead evaporating. Archer managed to dip down to the line just in time, her bow-sprit finishing inches ahead of Roca to clinch victory.
Archer said later: "That was a lot closer than we wanted. We started well all day and we led every race from the start line, but in those conditions it was so hard to defend."
Of the close finish she commented: "We chose the left side of the run because that was the side that had been paying most of the day. Unfortunately that gave Silvia the right which came good. We just managed to sneak our bow sprit in, it was very tense.
"The club and race committee did a great job of both hosting us and getting all the racing in. The conditions certainly made life hard for them – so all credit for what they achieved."