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Australian Women’s Match Racing Champs - RPAYC Welcomes competitors
Milly Bennett and her team in the 2014 HARKEN Match Racing Champs Photo: RPAYCSteve Collopy

Australian Women’s Match Racing Champs

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club is proud to welcome eight teams from Australia and New Zealand to compete in three days of racing on Pittwater for the Australian Women’s Match Racing Championships starting on Friday September 25th to Sunday September 27th.

The Club’s fleet of Elliot 7m keelboats will be used throughout the regatta. The yachts are identical placing the focus squarely on skipper and crew.

This year’s field of eight skippers includes last year’s Harken International Youth Match Racing Champion, Milly Bennett, 2014 Marinassess Women’s matching racing winner, Sarah Parker and Team SCA Volvo Ocean Race competitor, Stacey Jackson.

The RPAYC will be entering three teams from their renowned Youth Development Sailing Program. Alice Tarnawski, main-trimmer on Milly Bennett’s team is confident that sailing on their home waters will give them a strong home ground advantage but she is wary of the competition.

“We’ve been on-water training three to four times a week on Pittwater which gives us a good home ground advantage considering how shifty Pittwater can be. All of the RPAYC teams have impressive rankings and we will be all trying to eye off the prize but it will be tough against three strong CYCA teams and the other teams are also helmed by talented sailors.”

Jessica Eastwell and her Team Leagues have come across the country from Perth to compete on Pittwater. Jessica, a regular crew member with Katie Spithill will be on the helm and is a skipper to watch during the event.

“Jessica Eastwell is definitely the person to watch out for in this event. She’s an incredible sailor and it won’t take her long to get her eye in on the helm.” Said RPAYC Club Coach, Tom Spithill.

A welcome inclusion in this event is the team from Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Helmed by Stephanie Kirkman, the New Zealand team train and compete on the same Elliott 7 boats as used by the RPAYC.

“Our friends from NZ train in similar boats and conditions in Auckland and will bring some stiff competition to this event.” Said Tom Spithill.

This is the first time the RPAYC have hosted this event and the forecast is predicting stiff southerly winds which will light up the competition on Pittwater.

There will be options for spectators to watch the races over the weekend. If you are interested in watching these event, contact the Club on 99983700 or email sailing@rpayc.com.auto arrange a boat.

Team list:

• Milly Bennett (RPAYC) – Australia – Ranking 9th – Crew; Alice Tarnawski, Chelsea Connor, Jessica Russell, Seldon Coventry
• Sarah Parker (RPAYC) – Australia – Ranking 24th – Crew; Evelyn Foster, Rachel Bower, Grace Powers and Anne Durham
• Lauren Gallaway (CYCA) – Australia – Ranking 37th – Crew; Rayshele Martin, Angelique Kear, Kathleen Stroinovsky, Tiffany Fulde
• Clare Costanzo (RPAYC) – Australia –Ranking 38th – Crew; Lauren Crossman, Ruby Scholton, Emma May, Sophie Shannon
• Caitlin Tames (CYCA) – Australia – Ranking 43rd – Crew; Rosie Lee, Tara Blanc-Ramos, Greta Quealy, Megan Meredith
• Kirstin Norris (CYCA) – Australia – Ranking 52nd – Crew; Bryony Gregory, Louise Tillett, Alana Bracken, Nicola Bradley
• Jessica Eastwell (Perth, WA) – Australia – Ranking N/A – Crew; Stacey Jackson, Kate Lathouras, Nicola Kirk, Jen Cunningham
• Stephanie Kirkman (RNZYS) – New Zealand – Ranking N/A – Crew; Charlotte Porter, Catriona Stanton, Anna Merchant, Celia Willison

by Steve Collopy

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