Clare Costanzo and her crew of Evelyn Foster, Hannah Lanz, Emma May and Rachel Bower from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club have finished runner up in a thriller final against Ashlen Rooklyn (Double Bay Sailing Club.) in the 2017 Hardy Cup Match Racing Regatta.
The day started off with Costanzo up against Leonard Takahashi (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) in the semi-final match. Takahashi lead around the first mark in the first two races but the RPAYC ladies managed to apply pressure on them downwind and use their great boat handling with the asymmetrical spinnakers to sneak by the promising young Japanese helmsman.
In the final race Costanzo managed to win the start and lead to the right hand side of the course to pick up a favourable shift and hang on take the semis 3 nil.
Rooklyn managed to defeat Mathew Hughes (RNZYS) to set up an all Australian final.
Rooklyn managed to outsmart the girls in the first start, leading off the line with a two length advantage. Midway up the first upwind leg the girls picked a couple of good shifts and got back in the game. However, Rooklyn did a great job at the top end of the track by either forcing Costanzo to do an extra tack or forced the team to sail extra distance to the top mark.
This similar scenario was repeated in the second race of the finals match with the team getting outsmarted at the top of the track. The tactician on Rooklyn's team was none other than World match Racing number 4 and tour card holder Chris Steel, who made sure they left little passing lanes for Costanzo and her team, sailing some textbook match racing.
At match point, Costanzo managed to win the start getting the right hand side of the track, however Costanzo made an error in letting Rooklyn duck her and take the right hand side of the track along with the starboard tack advantage. Great spinnaker work by both boats saw some really great downwind legs but again Rooklyn sailed a smart race to hold onto the lead and win the finals 3-0 to be crowned the 2017 Hardy Cup champions!
Costanzo and her team were very proud of their second place result and were quick to congratulate the winners "We were very happy with how we sailed this week and in the finals we really pushed ourselves hard, however Ash (Rooklyn) and he team outsailed us." Said Costanzo.
This is the second year in a row RPAYC have reached the finals with Will Dargaville last year becoming the first RPAYC skipper since James Spithill to win the Hardy Cup.
A big thank you to the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and its members for their ongoing support of Youth Sailing.
By Tom Spithill