REPORT ON THE LASER RADIAL WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – SARA WINTHER
New Zealand had 10 sailors competing at this event: Jo Aleh, Sara Winther, Miranda Powrie, Cushla Hume-Merry, Sarah Tootill, Jane Monk, Jessica Barrell, Briar Dye-Hutchinson, Aevril Hibbard and Amanda Hargreaves. All the sailors found the sailing challenging with light, unpredictable winds prevailing.
The first day of the Women’s Laser radial worlds was a flop. The race committee sent us out with breeze from the South east and attempted 1 start when the wind completely died. We then moved down towards Milford Beach and tried to race, which wasn’t successful so they called it a day and sent us in at 5pm. A nice long 6.5 hour day to open the World Champs.
Day 2, and there was a good SW of 15-20knots. We had two races this day. I had a pretty terrible day, with the usual international girls dominating. Jo and Miranda were in the other fleet and feared better than I did that day.
Day 3 brought a light NE with a lot of chop. We were again postponed on shore but got sent out at approx 1pm. Racing was tricky as it always looked the Right would pay, but it never did. Of course I hit the Right hard and was amongst the last few at the top mark. I did a bit of a catch up but it was basically a soldiers course after the wind shift.
Day 4 and there was a nice SW blowing of about 5-10knots. The wind was really shifty (usual Takapuna styles) which was frustrating the internationals girls. The first race I had a good start at the boat and headed out to the right where a big line of pressure was filling in. I was first into it and first to the top mark, but made a few mistakes to finish 6th. The next race was a bit the same, and I had another good start and beat and finished 8th. There were some big scores that day. So it was nice to finish with 2 top 10’s.
Day 5 was the first of gold fleet racing and we had 3 races. I had a mixed day, being on the wrong side of some big shifts and also getting a yellow flag. Again lots of the top sailors were having at least one bad race.
Day 6 and it was the final 2 races of the regatta. It was blowing about 8-12knots SW and as always very shifty. First race I did most things right and finished 13th. Second race I played it too cautiously and got stuck in the middle of the course with everyone on the edges coming out better. I did a good catch up (helped by a ship coming through the shipping lane so I could ride his bow wake down wind) and got back to 21st.
I finished 17th in what was a pretty crazy regatta. I don’t think the local knowledge thing helped, as we just seemed to sail so far offshore it was quite different out there.
I would just like to thanks Sarah Powrie for all her help putting the regatta together from beginning to end, also Takapuna Boating Club and all sponsors for turning out such a successful regatta. I know all the girls thoroughly enjoyed it!
The following week a number of youth women competed in the Female Youth World Championships. Luckily the conditions were much more settled with steady nor-easterly breezes most days. Sailors competing were Cushla Hume-Merry, Sarah Tootill, Rachel Basevi, Jessica Barrell, Paula England and Donna Hamilton.
Congratulations to Cushla who was second at this event, narrowly missing out on the World Championship title on a count back.