Gold in the Women's Match Race, Hyeres 2011!
Finals of the French Olympic Week today here in Hyeres and we won! We were once again up against Barkow’s team (USA) and this time it was a win to us, and quite a convincing one at 3-0.
Although we managed to win all three races by a good margin the racing was by no means easy today. We had a short delay for the wind to fill in a bit but then started before the easterly breeze had established so the course was very shifty and patchy. In the first race the wind was at it’s worst and we ended up with a very one sided course…luckily after a very tense first beat, we were ahead when it shifted big to the right so it made the win a touch easyier to close out. The second race was a much better course, we had quite an even start which soon after led to a dial down by Sally but it was a bit aggressive and left them with a penalty and us getting the right side of the course… from which we were able to extend to a good lead in the end but you never felt safe.
So we were 2–0 up and needed only one more win, and it came from probably our best race of the regatta. We thought the pin end of the line was favoured at start time and won it perfectly, however a big right shift came soon after and put Barkow a couple of lengths ahead on the first cross. Up the beat we were slightly stuck on the less favoured side but managed to make it work for us at the top and we were right on their heels round the first mark. Downwind was where it all came good, I think our speeds were fairly similar but we had some really good gybes and just managed to get them on starboard at the bottom before the two length zone to the mark. This meant we could hold them out at the bottom and take the lead around mark two. Annie and Kate then did a fantastic job up the next beat meaning that by the top mark we had extended our lead to eight lengths or so and had an easy run into the finish… Gold to us!
It’s been a great week for us, the areas we have been working on in training have transferred through to our racing and it feels really good on the boat. There is still plenty to improve on but to get this ISAF World Cup win is awesome especially as we were joined by so many other British girls winning medals in other classes and all the Team Volvo for Life girls medalled!
Of course we were slightly disappointed to be missing the Royal Wedding celebrations at home but don’t worry, Annie did some Blue Peter style arts and crafts and we joined in as you can see in the highlights below ;)