December 19, 2023

Sail Sydney 2023 was generally light and shifty but ultimately had something of everything! As this was an Oceania Olympic Qualifier, classes were separated between the Olympic classes and invited classes, so the radial women competed alone.

On the first day of racing, we competed in 2-6 knots, second day had 8-12 knots, third day was 15-25 and the fourth day had one race in 0-6 knots, before a 15-25 knot Westerly came through for the second race. The last day of racing, the medal race day, had 6-8 knots of breeze.

There were fourteen girls, representing Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa. Between the inconsistent breeze, ripping tide and land influences, this regatta provided many varied results. It was tight competition, however the three ASS girls, Elyse Ainsworth, Casey Imeneo and Zoe Thomson, dominated the fleet, securing their top three positions before the medal race.

This was my first-time racing in a medal race, where double points are up for grabs, and can hugely influence finishing results. The top ten were preparing themselves for the day by discussing strategy with coaches, writing current results on boats and desperately searching for anything red that could be used as a protest flag. The medal race was only 25 minutes long but consisted of a two lap windward-leeward course, where boats were using every opportunity to match race for points.

I unfortunately got stuck in one of these match racing battles, between Zoe and Elyse, and was pushed over the line early. Thankfully, we were not racing under U flag or the black flag, so I was able to go back and restart the race. I sailed to the right of the course, into pressure, whilst majority of the fleet had sailed left, so I was able to make major gains on the fleet and rounded the top mark second. I held on to this for the first downwind but missed a shift early on the second beat which pushed me back to sixth. This result was enough for me to gain two places overall, and finish in 7th place.

Congratulations to Georgina Johnstone who finished in a competitive 12th place with a top result of 8th in one race during the regatta!

Thanks to Annie Eastgate and QAS for their invaluable support at this regatta and also RQYS and Adrian Finglas.

Unfortunately, Mara Stransky could not make it to Sail Sydney as she left for Argentina early to prepare for the World Championships coming up in January, but we wish her good luck for then!!


Frances Beebe



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