It was another perfect day on the water for the Australian Women’s Match Racing team of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty. In a day of upsets they despatched the two pre-regatta favourites and remain one of only two unbeaten teams after four of their eleven matches.
First up today was Anna Tunnicliffe of the USA – the Lazer gold medallist from the last Games and the ISAF Female Sailor of the Year.
In the most thrilling of races, the two boats were locked in mortal combat from the pre-start, which Olivia dominated. She took a good advantage up the first beat but failed to capitalise, and when Tunnicliffe got an inside overlap at the first bottom mark, the USA boat was 0.1 second ahead. Tunnicliffe maintained her lead until Price got over the top on starboard gybe running towards the finish and in the frantic scramble for the line, Price had gained the favoured side and was given the win with a margin of just… 0.00 of a second. In a race that could obviously have gone either way, the Australians had prevailed by a whisker.
Her second match, against the home-town favourite Lucy Macgregor who is sailing with her sister Kate and Annie Lush, was much more comfortable. The Australians recorded the biggest margin of all 14 matches, a massive 22 seconds, after Macgregor had a problem at a mark while trailing the Australians.
The other unbeaten skipper is Ekaterina Skudina of Russia, who accounted for Lotte Meldgaard of Denmark and Tamara Dominguez of Spain. Skudina has yet to meet either the Americans or British.
Dominguez and Renee Groenveld (NED) are in third equal with one loss each, while Silja Lehtinen (FIN), Claire Leroy (FRA), Stephanie Hazard (NZL), Tunnicliffe and Macgregor share a 2-2 scorecard.
At the bottom of the table, yet to record a win, are Rita Goncalves (POR), Anna Kjellberg (SWE) and Meldgaard.
Asked about the day’s excellent results, Olivia Price said it was “another tricky but fun day”.
“We had similar conditions to yesterday and we went out there just trying to do our own thing. It’s OK so far,” she replied with classic understatement.
Nina Curtis said that the team hadn’t focussed on the reputations of the two skippers they were coming up against. “We’re trying not to focus on the winning or the losing, we’re just trying to focus on our game plan and have fun.”
Tomorrow the Australians sail against Hazard of New Zealand in the first match, before meeting Skudina in the final match of the day. Skudina can expect to beat Goncalves in her first match, so if both skippers come into that match unbeaten, the race will decide which of the two will top the leaderboard.
- Roger McMillan