Kiwis down USA in match race champs

Published on February 12th, 2019

Celia Willison and her RNZYS Youth Training Programme NZ Women’s Match Racing Team have taken out the NZ Women’s Match Racing Championship, held in Elliott 7ms on February 9-12 at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, NZL.

Eight teams began the qualifying stage which advanced Willison to the semi-final against the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club team helmed by Juliet Costanzo, topping her 3-1. In the other semi-final match, Allison Blecher from the California Yacht Club (USA) punched her ticket to the final after defeating two time NZ Women’s Match Racing Champion Susannah Pyatt (NZL) 3-1 in what was an impressive display from the Americans.

The final was then a fairly one sided affair, with Willison and her team outclassing Blecher in the pre-starts and sailing fast around the track. Blecher was no match for Willison who went on to win three races on the trot, claiming the Leith Mossman Memorial Trophy and the title of 2019 NZ Women’s Match Racing Champion.

“It feels really good, we’ve been working hard for this and we are so glad we managed to pull it off,” said Willison. “Apologies to Juliet for the really dirty win the semi’s, we did a gybe and got a penalty but then luffed her and got a penalty on her so it cancelled out we got into the final.

“We sailed really strongly in the final, the California girls sailed well against us but we had an advantage because we know the breeze here and we’ve sailed these boats a million times more than they have. We are just really stoked to come out on top at this event, there were some quality girls out there and winning at home feels amazing.”

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Source: Andrew Delves, RNZYS

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