Victory Repeats Itself at Harken Match Racing Regatta

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HarkenNB
Luca Villata

A relieved and very excited Nicky Souter secured back-to-back victories at the Harken Women's International Match Racing Regatta is Sydney, Australia, recently. The finals were spectacularly close with rarely more than one boatlength between the defending champion and her rival, Jessica Smyth.It wasn't all plain sailing for Souter who endured a rollercoaster ride over the four day ISAF grade 2 regatta. After leading on Day 1, Souter slipped back to third on Day 2 after finding herself on the wrong side of a number of umpires' decisions and suffering a series of frustrating losses.By the end of Day 3, Souter and her crew (Rayshele Martin, Anna Patterson, and Lilly Taylor) had clawed back to second, but by that stage, Smyth was in the lead.In the first semi final Smyth chose to sail against Meghan Andrew, enjoying her first foray into high level women's match racing, leaving Souter and Nina Curtis, who used to crew for Souter, to put their friendship aside for the sake of a finals berth.In the 8-10 knot nor'easter Souter beat Curtis 2-0 while Smyth knocked Andrew out with the same result, thereby setting up the final showdown.Souter, ISAF's number 14 ranked woman match racer, took Race 1 after holding the number 17 ranked Smyth out against the start boat. The move forced Smyth to tack where she didn't have room, resulting in a penalty.In Race 2, Smyth won the start and never looked back, which tied the series. The start of Race 3 was even, but Souter gained an edge and hung on to take the win and set herself up for the decider, which she won by two boatlengths.