Yachting NZ select three Olympic Match Racing Womens crews

CYCA Elliot 6m - Bavaria Yachts Australia, racing in Sydney Harbour. - Bavaria Yachts International Youth Match Racing Regatta

Yachting New Zealand has announced a squad of nine female sailors selected to train for the Womens Match Racing discipline which debuts at the 2012 Olympic Games in Weymouth, England.

26 women came forward for selection and recently 24 of those who expressed an interest came under the scrutiny of selectors. Individual interviews were conducted with each of the women followed by a weekend of racing on Auckland Harbour, closely watched by Rod Davis, Laurie Jurie and Graeme Sutherland.

Those selected for the Olympic Development Squad are…

Samantha Osborne
Jess Smyth
Stephanie Hazard
Miranda Powrie
Raynor Smeal
Carla Holgate
Anna de Fluiter
Aimee Famularo
Jenna Hansen

'We went into this thinking we wanted two teams of three,' explains Rod Davis who is overseeing the Women’s Match Racing programme. 'But over the weekend it became obvious that we could field three really strong teams, and we felt that at this stage we could include an extra team without incurring extra costs.'

'Laurie Jury and Graeme Sutherland will be responsible for the day to day coaching. The group will sail together three times a fortnight, with a more intensive two to three day clinic every six weeks or so.'

The New Zealand designed Elliot 6s have been chosen by ISAF as the Olympic boat providing the kiwi team, who are familiar with the boats already, with a head start.

'The RNZYS (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) are an integral part of this,' continues Davis. 'We have ten Elliot 6s right here in Auckland, nowhere else in the world has this advantage. We have the talent, we have the coaches and we have the boats.'

Talented keelboat sailor Raynor Smeal was excited to be named in the Women’s Match-Racing Olympic Development Squad.

'I’m thrilled to be included,' says Smeal. 'And I’m looking forward to working with the talented sailors in the Squad, as well as coaches Rod, Graeme and Laurie. I can’t wait to start training and having us all become better sailors and ultimately developing a medal winning team for 2012.'