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Silver For New Zealand at World Champs

Silver For New Zealand at World Champs

Date Released: 24 July 2005
From: Jodie Perkins

FERRIS, SMEAL AND HOLTUM WIN SILVER

The New Zealand team have won silver at the Yngling World Championships overnight in Mondsee, Austria. Sharon Ferris, Raynor Smeal and Ashley Holtum secured their place in the final race of the regatta last night.

With very little wind there was a long drawn out wait for the girls on the final day until the Race Committee finally decided to race not long before the 3pm deadline. Starting the tenth and final race of the Championship, Ferris held a narrow two point margin over the Russians while the Americans were nine points in front.

"Wow what a week," says Ferris. "With the last race starting just 45 minutes before the final cut off time… it was the most stressful race of my life."

"So, we are second overall and very happy. Yes - we would like to win next year," she says. "Thank you to everyone for all your support and to my fantastic team!"

Ferris, Smeal and Holtum joined forces earlier this year and enlisted the help of two time Olympic medallist Bruce Kendall for this campaign. Ferris' home town is Kerikeri and the girls spent time training in the Bay of Islands in preparation for the European regattas.

Holland Regatta (formerly Spa) demonstrated that the combination had potential on the international stage with a decent 11th place in the early regatta. "We had moments of brilliance," said Ferris speaking just after Holland Regatta. "We just need to capitalise on that potential." They've managed to do just that in Mondsee.

The USA team lead by Sally Barkow took out the Championship over ten points clear of the kiwi trio while bronze went to Vlada Ilienko and her crew of Russia who finished the regatta strongly. Two wins a piece for Barkow and Ferris the USA team managed five top five races while Ferris only had four. Bethwaite of Sydney had a solid performance ending up in 4th.

The notoriously light and shifty winds of Mondsee, Austria proved challenging for all the Yngling sailors with the British team including Athens Gold medallist Sarah Ayton performing well early on but slipping back to 7th. Russian Olympic silver medallist, Taran Ruslana, who has had a good season to date with podium finishes at both Keil and Holland regattas, failed to fire, finishing back in 10th.

The World Championship medal is another milestone for Ferris who at 30 years of age has competed at two Olympic Games and been involved in a multitude of sailing campaigns including Volvo Around the World in 2002. 1996 Olympian in the single-handed Europe dinghy, Ferris was 5th later taking up the challenge of the three person Yngling keelboat after its inclusion in the Olympic Games had been announced.

Earlier this year Ferris was crew on board Doha 2006, the winning yacht in the round the world event known as the Oryx Quest. This made her the first New Zealand woman ever to successfully circumnavigate non-stop. She also gained the distinction of being the first female sailor in history to compete in the Olympics and a non stop world regatta within the space of a year.

Ferris has achieved before in the Yngling with a bronze medal at the Open World Championships in 2003 and winning the Rolex Miami OCR regatta in 2004. In Athens last year, sailing with Joanna White and Kylie Jameson, Ferris placed 7th at the 2004 Olympics. Her goal now is Olympic Gold in Beijing.

"Now we are on our way to Milan to leave the boat at Harken and then the flight home. Home for three weeks and then we head to the US for more racing," says Ferris.

Yngling World Championship 2005
Final Top Five Results

1st - Sally Barkow, Carrie Howe & Debbie Capozzi (USA)
2nd - Sharon Ferris, Raynor Smeal & Ashley Holtum (NZL)
3rd - Vlada Ilienko, Ekaterina Kovalenko & Natalia Gaponovich (RUS)
4th - Nicola Bethwaite, Karyn Gojnich & Helen Impey (AUS)
5th - Anna Basalkina, Galina Loukachova & Vladislava Ukraintseva (RUS)

ENDS

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