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Rolex 2000 ISAF Women's World Match Racing Championships - Practice Day

by Susannah Bourne on 26 Nov 2000
Shirley Robertson was feeling confident going in to the beginning of the Rolex 2000 ISAF Womens World Match Racing Championship, after a good days practice in moderate conditions off St Petersburg, Florida, today.

The Olympic gold medallist and newly crowned ISAF Sperry World Sailor of the Year said it was good to be back on the water after a hectic few weeks of social engagements since her triumph on Sydney Harbour in September. 'We've only sailed together as a team for three days recently, so I was pleased with how today went,' she said.

Robertson, who is ranked eighth in the world in the women's match race rankings, chartered a Sonar keelboat to train against two Dutch teams, including third ranked Klaartje Zuiderbaan. Olympic Soling sailor Richard Sydenham, who is out in Florida coaching Shirley for the event, ran a series of races in the choppy conditions and was pleased with how the team was getting into the swing of things. 'I think they would be happy if they got a top four here,' he said.

The toughest competition for Shirley and the other British team skippered by Cordelia Eglin, will come from the Americans who are familiar with the Sonar keelboat, and reigning world champion from Denmark, Dorte Jensen. There are 24 teams representing 17 countries, but the top eight which includes the two British teams, get an automatic bye through the first round robin series. From then on, though, the racing in the quarters, semis and final will be altogether tougher and more serious.

There is an official practice day today (Saturday) and the racing itself begins on Sunday.

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