The New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Championships is shaping up to be the best in years, with a stellar international lineup already booked in to compete.
The event will take place at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron from February 9-12, 2019, and all match racing will be completed in the Squadron’s fleet of 10 Elliott 7s.
Nine teams have already entered, including three from New Zealand, three from the United States and three from Australia – making this a genuinely international and competitive lineup.
American Allison Blecher (California Yacht Club) is the highest ranked female match racer to have entered with a ranking of 17. She recently finished second at the 2018 US Women’s Match Racing Championships and also competes in the 49erFX and Laser Radial classes.
Blecher will be joined by fellow Americans Marilyn Cassedy (ranked 38) and Bridget Groble.
Three up-and-coming youth sailors from across the ditch have also thrown their hats into the ring.
Juliet Costanzo (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club) is familiar with match racing at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron after competing with her sister Clare at the 2018 Nespresso Youth Match Racing Championships.
Charlotte Griffin (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron) and India Howard (CYCA) have also sailed on the Waitemata Harbour and both are entered into the 2019 Nespresso Youth International the following week.
Leading the New Zealand contingent is the New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Team helmed by Celia Willison (RNZYS).
Willison has enjoyed some success recently, winning the Hardy Cup in Sydney with an all-girl RPAYC team as well as winning the Harken Youth International with a Sqadron youth training programme team. The NZ Women’s Match Racing Team also competed at the WIM series event in Helsinki earlier this year and will be looking to win this event and cement their status as the top female match racing crew in the country.
The remaining two teams will be helmed by Megan Thomson (RNZYS), who was second at November's RNZYS Women’s 50 50 Regatta, and Susannah Pyatt (pictured), who was part of the New Zealand's match racing team who competed at the 2012 London Olympics. Among Pyatt's crew is Olympic gold medallist Polly Powrie.
For more information, including late entries, see here.