British women to match Americans in Match Racing final


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The Independent Online

“This is war. Tomorrow I am in line to be the only person to win the Women’s Match Racing world title four times,” said an elated Annie Lush ashore. “So Anna just needs to go down. It doesn’t have to be pretty. We’ve battled our way through to the final.”

Anna is Anna Tunnicliffe, born in Doncaster but winner in 2008 of Olympic gold for the United States to which she moved when she was 12. That was in the singlehanded Laser Radial.

She has yet to win the US Olympic berth for Weymouth next year, but on the same Olympic waters this summer she won the Sail for Gold regatta, knocking out the Macgregor sisters, Lucy and Kate, plus Annie Lush, a Cambridge rowing blue, in the quarter finals.

In what seems an interminable world championship down under – it began a week ago Saturday, has so far run 420 races, and finishes tomorrow – the British trio, already selected for the Games, has raced 34 times.

They had to come back in their best-of-five semi-final against France’s Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou from 0-2 down. “It’s been a really hard day and it’s going to be hard against Anna and we’re definitely feeling tired. But we are feeling pretty up for it tomorrow.”

It means that they have at least secured the silver medal. “Now we just have to turn silver into gold,” added Lucy.

Hopes are still high for a medal in the men’s Laser singlehander where, although Australia’s reigning world champion Tom Slingsby is very much in the driving seat, Britain’s 2008 gold medallist Paul Goodison is lying second and his young British rival Nick Thompson third. They have two more races to establish the top 10 in the medal decider.

John Pink and Rick Peacock continue to lead the high performance 49er, chased by the Danish Toft-Neilsen brothers and the Lake Macquarrie favourites Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen.

The Transat B to B was halted away from Vigo for the safety of the boats and competitors as exceptional weather conditions, even for winter, ravaged the Bay of Biscay. Finishing order was: 1. Francois Gabart, Macif; 2. Armel Le Cleac'h, Banque Populaire; 3. Vincent Riou, PRB; 4. Mike Golding, Gamesa; 5. Marc Guillemot, Safran; 6. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson; 7. Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac-Paprec 3; 8. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallee.

On leg two of the Volvo round the world race from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, Spain’s leg one winner Telefonica, skippered by Iker Martinez, has a 25-mile lead over Britain’s Ian Walker at the helm of the Abu Dhabi boat Azzam. Embarrassing the five new boats, Mike Sanderson is third in the renamed Chinese boat Sanya, ahead of the American-flagged Puma and the second Spanish entry, Camper.

The French team on Groupama has again opted for a different routing strategy, diving south and paying the price of a 135-mile deficit.