The second qualifier of the 2023 RYA Winter Match Racing Series was claimed by Alison Morrish and her team at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy.
Throughout the round robin stages, it was Sophie Otter’s team who had looked invincible, winning match after match to enter the finals with a 100% success rate.
The final showdown, however, saw Morrish slamming in a 2-0 scoreline for overall victory.
Accompanied by dolphins, five teams battled it out at the RYA Women’s Winter Match Racing event, 4-5 February 2023, in British Keelboat Sailing’s fleet of Elliot 6m keelboats.
On the Saturday in a 5-10 knot breeze, Round Robin 1 saw Otter finishing top on 100% having rolled second-placed Morrish on the final downwind, with Fiona Tylecote in third.
Round Robin 2 saw Otter keeping her undefeated record, this time leading second-placed Morrish from the start, while Octavia Owen took third after beating Tylecote.
Sunday saw Round Robin 3 starting in 20 knots, dropping off to 8-10 knots by the end of the round. Matilda Nicholls, new to match racing and keelboats, had a better round robin to finish ahead of Tylecote, with Owen again in third.
Morrish initially led from Otter but with a penalty; she chose to take this on leg 3, setting her up in a close follow for the final downwind, but Otter held her lead to complete her perfect score from the round robin stages.
In the semi-finals, Otter beat Tylecote 2-0, while Morrish beat Owen 2-0. Tylecote then beat Owen 2-0 in the petit final to take third overall.
The final saw Otter controlling the start of the first match and leading at the windward mark. However, Morrish was able to cover then luff Otter out to the left downwind to lead at the leeward mark. Otter closed the gap with some quick tacks but Morrish held the lead to go 1-0 up.
In the second race, Morrish went for the pin, a left shift allowing her to tack and cross to lead at the windward mark and hold to the finish, winning the final 2-0 and overall victory.
Find the full breakdown of results here.
Event coach Niall Myant-Best said: “The most notable aspect of the weekend was the turnaround in the results, with boats that on paper from the round robins should have won the final and semi-final but didn’t - the only two matches Otter and her team lost were in the final.
“We had some exciting match racing across the teams and there’s more to look forward to this weekend [11-12 February] at the same venue with the rescheduled and sold out 2022 RYA Marlow Ropes Women's Match Racing Championships.”
Qualifier 3 in the RYA Winter Match Racing Series then takes place in 707s at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at Burnham-on-Crouch, 18-19 March 2023, with early bird entry available until 23.59 on 19 February 2023.
Further information and entry for all upcoming events is available at www.ryamatchracing.co.uk