Please select your home edition
Edition app (top)

2018 Marlow Ropes Women's Match Racing Championship at the WPNSA

by Richard Aspland, RYA 11 Sep 2018 15:44 BST 8-9 September 2018
2018 Marlow Ropes Women's Match Racing Championship © Paul Wyeth / RYA

Octavia Owen and her West Kirby team clinched the 2018 Marlow Ropes Women's Match Racing Championship at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy on 8-9 September confirming their status as pre-event favourites.

The championship, sponsored by Marlow Ropes and series partners Harken and Moody Decking & Services, was contested by seven teams from across the country in supplied Elliott 6 boats and it was the northern crews that excelled in their attempts to take home the trophy with Owen eventually coming out victorious.

Racing began on Saturday morning in near perfect conditions of 12-14 knots from the west with the round robin preliminaries dominated by Owen and Scotland's Ali Morrish. Both skippers were undefeated through five races when the pair met. Something eventually had to give, and it was Owen who took the initiative with a win over her rival.

The second round robin saw lessons learned and put in to practice by Sophie Taylor, sailing with two crew she had only met the day before, and Rhiannon Massey as they charged forward taking consecutive wins before the first day drew to a close.

With conditions on Saturday near perfect, Sunday went one better. The final races of the second round robin were contested in 16 knots of breeze from the west and glorious sunshine.

Morrish continued her winning ways going undefeated and taking top spot in the semi-finals. The charge of Taylor and Massey had dented Owen's scorecard, but she had done enough to secure the second spot.

Massey's stellar performance in the second round robin secured her berth in the semis with Taylor taking the last space by just one point ahead of Abby West and her team from Loughborough.

The semi-finals saw the top seeds both come from behind as Taylor got the better of her Scottish compatriot Morrish and Massey taking the win over former team mate Owen. But favourites do not go down without a fight and both Morrish and Owen levelled their matches before taking the decisive win to progress to the final.

For Taylor and Massey they would have to settle for the petit-final, a head to head which Taylor won 2-0.

In the final it was Owen who drew first blood with a comfortable win, but an uncharacteristic mistake in race two led to a penalty which Morrish took advantage of to draw level.

Owen took the third race with a thrilling overtake down the final run which left Morrish with a must win race to stay in contention.

A prestart penalty against Morrish put the Scot on the back foot but undeterred she fought hard and built a lead on the first beat. At the start of the second beat Morrish felt she had enough space to take her penalty and stay in the lead.

Her gamble had paid off and Morrish looked set to level the series until a cruel twist of fate saw her spinnaker jump out of its bag diving in to the waters of Portland harbour and bringing her boat to an abrupt halt.

Morrish and her team could only watch on helplessly as Owen and her West Kirby team sailed past and in to an unassailable lead and with it taking the title of 2018 Marlow Ropes Women's Match Racing champions.

Winning skipper Owen said: "Me and the team had a fantastic weekend of sailing at the Marlow Ropes Woman's Match Racing National Championships. We have been match racing for a few years and we are glad to say that all the hard work and training has finally payed off. A special thank you goes out to the RYA as without their support this would not have all been possible.

I am especially proud of my team for putting all their effort into the final few races against Ali, Rhiannon and Sophie, with close exciting racing. This has topped off an amazing summer of women's match racing. Bring on next year."

For more information and to keep up to date with British Keelboat Sailing go to

Related Articles

Fresh start to 2020 match racing season
Blowers wins again at the WPNSA High winds were forecast for most of the weekend so it was some trepidation that the eight teams headed out in to Portland Harbour in winds of around 30 knots but it wasn't long before racing was under way. Posted on 14 Jan
Blowers crowned National Match Racing Champion
Queen Mary host the culmination of 13 qualifiers Fourteen teams representing the culmination of 13 qualifiers over the past twelve months of the National Match Racing Championships gathered at Queen Mary Sailing Club in London this weekend to decide who would be the next team to have their names engrave Posted on 19 Nov 2019
Royal Thames YC triumph at British Keelboat League
Eighteen teams representing 16 clubs gathered in the Solent With club honour at stake each team was going to give it their all and so they took advantage of the offer by the host club, the Royal Thames Yacht Club, to get in a quick training session in their J/70s on the Friday morning. Posted on 1 Oct 2018
British Keelboat League qualification complete
After big weekend of action at opposite ends of the country The weekend of 18-19 August saw not one but two British Keelboat League Qualifiers taking place at opposite ends of the country. Posted on 24 Aug 2018
British Keelboat League at Torbay
Clubs battle each other and the scorching heat for honours on the English Riviera West Hoe Sailing Club clinched victory in the latest round of the British Keelboat League as six teams from six clubs did battle in Torbay, Devon. Posted on 25 Jun 2018
British Keelboat League Qualifier Two
Royal Corinthian team clinch thrilling win Hosts Royal Corinthian Yacht Club took a thrilling victory by the narrowest of margins as seven teams, representing five clubs, battled it out in Qualifier Two of the British Keelboat League in the Crouch estuary to earn a place in this years' BKL Final. Posted on 13 Jun 2018
Top club teams sought for British Keelboat League
The search is on for clubs from across the country The British Keelboat League brings together the country's most experienced keelboat racers while providing an opportunity for talented young sailors to access top level competition. Posted on 2 May 2018
Eighteen teams ready to race
In British Keelboat League Final The 2017 British Keelboat League, hosted by Royal Thames Yacht Club, will culminate in Cowes this weekend (22-24 September). Posted on 20 Sep 2017
Champions in waiting
At final match race showdown Twelve of the UK's best match racing teams will face off this weekend at the RYA National Match Racing Series Grand Final, held at Queen Mary Sailing Club (18-20 November). Posted on 17 Nov 2016
Hayling Island crowned champions
In the UK National Sailing League Final Hayling Island Sailing Club won the inaugural UK National Sailing League Final in association with Bainbridge & Seldén at the weekend (16-17 July) beating 10 other teams to be crowned champions. Posted on 18 Jul 2016