London (9 November 2022) – The Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand is set for its second consecutive week of world-class sailing with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron hosting the Barfoot & Thompson Women’s Match Racing World Championships from 9-13 November, the final event of the inaugural 2022 Women’s World Match Racing Tour.
The World Championship follows a competitive New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Championship (NZWMRC) regatta last weekend. With the addition of eight more international teams for this weeks World Championship, there will be another elite display of match racing in the City of Sails.
“We look forward to joining our members and local sailing community to support these accomplished women in our sport. It is great to have our teams competing overseas and winning on the world stage, but even better when they can come back to New Zealand and perform in front of family, friends, and home supporters,” said RNZYS Vice Commodore Gillian William.
Fighting for the world title are several top-ranked women’s match racing teams who have been dominating the circuit for the last few years. Ranked number one in the world by World Sailing, Pauline Courtois (FRA) and her Match in Pink team are favourites alongside second-ranked Anna Östling’s (SWE) Wings and third-ranked Nicole Breault’s (USA) Vela Racing.
As defending Women’s Match Racing World Champions and current leaders of the Women’s World Match Racing Tour, Courtois and team are focussed on a potential double title win this week;
“After years of waiting to come to New-Zealand, it is amazing to finally come here for the Worlds” commented Courtois. “Seeing 14 teams battling for the title hasn’t happened in a long time. The boats and the venue are perfect and we can’t wait to start! It has also been such a pleasure to sail again on the Women’s World Match Racing Tour circuit, we are looking forward to seeing the Tour growing and attracting more women teams into match racing.”
This is the last event of this year’s Women’s World Match Racing Tour (WWMRT), which provides a global match racing circuit for women. The calibre of sailors who compete in the WWMRT events, including this World Championship, foreshadows the level of racing we will see over the next few days. Almost all of the teams looking to leave the weekend as World Champions have their own respective titles.
Most recently, The Royal Prince Albert Yacht Club’s Easy Tiger Racing, helmed by Juliet Costanzo, won the Australian Women’s Match Racing title two weekends ago. The USA teams regularly find themselves in the finals against each other locally. This year Allie Blecher, who is crewing for Janel Zarkowsky this weekend, won the USA Women’s Match Racing Championship against Zarkowsky. Breault holds several USA Women’s Match Racing Championship titles of her own. Sweden’s Östling has taken home the Women’s World Match Racing title in the past and continues to be a top contender for this year’s championship.
Along with the abundance of talent coming in from overseas, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has three teams competing for the title on their home waters. Celia Willison’s Edge Racing, Megan Thomson’s 2.0 Racing, and winning the final wildcard qualifier from NZWMRC, Samantha Norman’s Sailing Mums.
“We’ve been looking forward to the Women’s Worlds in Auckland since we were told it was going to be in our home club several years ago! ” commented Celia Willison. “The Women’s World Match Racing Tour this year has been about getting our heads back into match racing after a forced couple of years off due to the pandemic. We are focused on a good result for the worlds, and we are excited about the prospect of a new and refreshed WWMRT for next season.”
Celia Willison (far left) and the Edge Racing Team of Alison Kent, Charlotte Porter, Paige Cook, Serena Woodall. Photo: Adam Mustill / Live Sail Die
This weeks World Championship will be held in the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s fleet of Elliott 7s, a one-design boat similar to the Elliott 6s used in the 2012 Women’s Match Racing Olympics. This fleet, alongside RNZYS’ Youth Training and Performance Programmes, is responsible for creating some of the best match racers in both the open and women divisions.
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