Spithill in form before Women's World Match Racing Championship

Katie Spithill (right middle) celebrates with Stacey Jackson, Olivia Price, Sam Boyd, Jess Eastwell, and Nicole Douglas after winning the final of the Women’s Match Cup Sweden
Dan Ljungsvik ©

The prestigious regatta Match Cup Sweden at Marstrand last week was the big build up event for eight of the 12 teams competing in the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil, in Sweden, 27 July to 1 August.

Australian Katie Spithill won the regatta at Marstrand, showing great form with strong, solid sailing in the DS 37, the same boat type to be used at the World Championship in Lysekil. Spithill, ranked 7 on the Women’s ISAF World Match Race Ranking list, has a silver medal from the World Championship in France 2007. She has participated in several world cup-regattas in Lysekil but has never made the podium in the waters of Lysekil.
- To have won in Marstrand was an amazing experience for me, and something I didn’t dream of doing this year. But the world championship in Lysekil is now a new event in a new location, so it starts all over again. All of the competitors in this year’s world championship are to be watched, it is a great line up and will be a tough event for everyone.

With a fifth place in Marstrand, it is the first time the two-fold world champion Claire Leroy did not make it to the podium in a big competition in several years. Could this indicate that her strong hold of women’s match racing have weakened? The gold medal in Lysekil is a very open battle, with several strong contenders.

But Leroy stays calm. 'Marstrand was a work race. We tested a lot of things and we are happy to have had this opportunity before Lysekil. We enjoyed watching the matches in the semis and the finals and we studied the other teams thoroughly, taking a lot of notes. So, for us our goal was achieved, we came to Marstrand to watch the others', said Leroy after Match Cup Sweden in Marstrand.

One potential medallist for the World Championship in Lysekil is 25-year old Swede Anna Kjellberg, who has climbed in one year from 23 to 10 on the Women’s ISAF World Match Race Ranking list. Kjellberg does no longer count as a rookie, and with stable results this last year has proved that she belongs to the top elite. In the finals against Katie Spithill at Marstrand last Saturday, Kjellberg was tough opposition. She is considered to be a tough skipper, sailing fast with good boat handling.

Linda Rahm, ranked second on the world ranking list, has had a tougher year with not as good results as expected but with her third place in Marstrand she showed her opponents to be a force to watch out for in Lysekil. Local Rahm has two consecutive wins in the previous years’ world cup races in Lysekil and is considered tough to beat in her home waters and with the boat type DS 37.

12 skippers to the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship (with ISAF world ranking number):

Claire Leroy (1) FRA
Linda Rahm (2)SWE
Lucy MacGregor (3) GBR
Sally Barkow (4) USA
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (5) DEN
Silke Hahlbrock (6) GER
Katie Spithill (7) AUS
Anna Kjellberg (10) SWE
Nicole Souter (12) AUS
Camilla Ulrikkeholm (13) DEN
Christelle Philippe (14) FRA
Marie Björling (wild card) SWE