Landmark Hardy Cup win to Clare Costanzo

For the first time since its inauguration in 2001, a female led all-women
crew captured the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's longstanding
Hardy Cup Sydney International Match Racing Regatta trophy at the end of
four days of intense competition on Sydney Harbour.

Finals day video https://youtu.be/4vNLWgv0vpM thanks to
@mikemcloughlinmoments

Last year Clare Costanzo and her Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club teammates
finished bridesmaids at the same event. On Thursday February 8, 2018 the
RPAYC's five-strong youth team beat George Anyon's Royal New Zealand Yacht
Squadron team 3-0 in the finals, sailed in 20+ knot nor'easters off the host
club at Kirribilli.

In doing so Costanzo broke an 18-year run of gun male skippers taking out
the grade 3 youth event, and with an all-female crew.

Costanzo, Jess Angus, Hannah Lanz, Ruby Scholten and Celia Willison
celebrated with a swim and some champagne then official photos before three
of the five dashed to the airport for a 7.30pm flight to New Zealand, where
training for the final youth match racing regatta in the series of three
begins today, Friday 9 February.

"We'll have to celebrate our win at the end of the next regatta, the
Nespresso Cup," the 21-year-old winning skipper said from the airport,
flanked by Angus and Lanz and a change of teammates for New Zealand's
premier youth match racing event.

"We were aiming for a podium finish; to win is amazing. The results are a
credit to the crew, we won by out-sailing the boys in terms of our crew
work. On the last morning we said to our coach Tom (Spithill), 'where's our
motivational speech?' and he said, 'you don't need it!' A big thank you to
Tom, who never stopped believing in us, and the RSYS race management team,"
Costanzo added.

Spithill has spent the week on-water supporting his two RPAYC crews, the
other helmed by Clare's younger sister Juliet. Today he's waking up in
Auckland where he will coach and mentor two different teams fielded by his
club for the Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup, February 9
- 13.

"The result is huge for women in sport. This team proved how competitive
they are both in terms of their match racing tactics and boat handling
skills on the Elliotts," the proud coach said of the ground-breaking Hardy
Cup victory.

Second was George Anyon (RNZYS) and third was Tom Grimes (CYCA).

RSYS Commodore Richard Chapman summarised: "The Hardy Cup sits at the end of
the youth match racing summer calendar so the teams are well-practised and
we've been privileged to watch first-rate competition all week. In
Thursday's finals we witnessed some of the best and closest match racing we
have ever seen.

"It's been an excellent regatta for top youth sailors like Clare and George
Anyon, but also for the less-experienced skippers such as Hayden Brown from
Sandringham and the RNZYS's Patrick Harris, who made it through to the
semi-finals and pushed Clare all the way.

"It's wonderful to see match racing return to favour; it's a terrific
discipline for both young sailors learning their craft and also the sailing
stars of tomorrow who have America's Cup ambitions," the Commodore added.

The four-day schedule of round-robin racing whittled down to four finalists
was completed under the guidance of race officer Ian Kingsford Smith and his
on-water team in consistent Sydney summer conditions. Morning winds were
generally too light for racing to commence, then the NE sea breeze arrived
at lunchtime and built to 18 knots over the course of most afternoons,
stronger on the last day.

Very noticeable to RSYS organisers was the camaraderie between the teams
from NZ, interstate and around Sydney, and the respect shown to Costanzo and
her team throughout the series.

The RSYS's next major event is the Etchells NSW Championship which will play
out February 16-18 on Sydney Harbour. 

Hardy Cup results at https://www.rsys.com.au/sailing/hardy-cup 

- Lisa Ratcliff
Coursemaster Autopilot
Windcraft
Jeanneau Sun Fast
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