They’ve proven themselves as one of the teams to beat in the newest Olympic sailing class, and now Britain’s Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Ally Martin have had an added boost to their 2012 campaign.
The ‘GBR Match Race Girls’ have stormed into the world number one spot in the ISAF women’s match racing world rankings, overtaking the long-standing leader Claire Leroy of France to claim the top position for the first time.
Leroy occupied the number one spot for four and a half years, but the Skandia Team GBR trio have deposed the French skipper after proving a potent force on the women’s match racing circuit in its inaugural year as an Olympic class event.
They won the ISAF Sailing World Cup series in 2009 and claimed silver at the first World Cup event of 2010 – the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta – where they went into the final unbeaten from 18 races in the Elliot 6m competition.
“Reaching the number one spot is a great feeling,” the 23-year-old Macgregor admitted.
“It's good to know that our training programme is taking us in the right direction and that we're confident in the areas we need to improve on long term.”
She continued: “We were really pleased with our performance in Miami.
“I think the match racing event out there was a great success with some new teams, plus some old teams from the match racing circuit as well as former Yngling, 470 and Radial sailors coming through and racing in the new Elliot 6m boats.
“There were lots of people out watching, and a demanding schedule but it was great with everyone getting to race so much. It’s all looking quite promising for this year’s World Cup series.”
Lush, 29, added “We’re really enjoying the Elliot 6’s – they’re really physical boats and are producing some close, exciting races.
“The teams who are sailing the boats well are rewarded, but all the gains you make are small and hard to achieve.”
As well as mastering the three-person Elliot 6m boats – selected to replace the Yngling for the 2012 sailing competition – Macgregor, Lush and Martin have also shown their match racing prowess across a range of boats, borne out by their win at the prestigious Busan Cup Women's International Match Race in Korea last year as part of a five-person team.
The GBR Match Race Girls are currently fine-tuning their winter training in the knowledgeable hands of Britain’s former match racing world champion Ian Williams ahead of the European World Cup events, which kick off with the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma (ESP) just before Easter.
“We’ve been sailing together for one year now as part of Skandia Team GBR and have proven ourselves to be a solid and competitive team.” Macgregor commented.
“We’ve had a fantastic start to our campaign, with some great support from the likes of Jenkins Marine, Spinnaker Yachts, and also the City of Livery Yacht Club and the Royal Thames Yacht Club – but we’re still looking for a title sponsor to back us in our quest for gold and help give us that extra boost to be top of the podium in Weymouth.”
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS