It was not until the last match of the double round robin at the Lysekil Women's Match, but local hero Anna Kjellberg managed to break the Danish titleholder Camilla Ulrikkeholm’s long row of victorious matches. The Danish crew still won the round robin, with Kjellberg runner-up, both now advance to the next stage.
In a light southerly breeze that got stronger and went more to west during the day, and with a constantly bright sun over the Lysekil waters, the Thursday of Lysekil Women’s Match turned into yet another day of propaganda conditions. The event is the third of the Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series), that started this year with the Worlds in Cork, Ireland. There, Anna Kjellberg of Sweden won a tight final for gold against Ulrikkeholm, who got her revenge just a little more than a week ago at the second WIM Series event in Vannes, France. The next stop after Lysekil is Sheboygan, USA, with the conclusion of the 2014 WIM Series in Busan, Korea, in October.
Ulrikkeholm is world number one and the titleholder in Lysekil Women’s Match after three consecutive triumphs, while reigning World Champion Kjellberg has never won her home event. Today’s Swedish match victory in the round robin didn’t really affect the outcome in Lysekil, but presumably it had more of an important psychological value. At least if you ask Anna Kjellberg about it: 'Yes, it was great to defeat Camilla today. In one way or the other we always manage to make her tremble a little' the Swede laughs.
'We just wanted to give all the spectators a little show' Ulrikkeholm jokes, before admitting that they weren’t sharp enough in the start, and had to pay for that around the course.
In the Scandinavian fight, all the people at the natural grandstand cliffs of the island of Släggö got a taste of what there is to come in the regatta. Kjellberg and Ulrikkeholm put up an intense fight, with breathtaking manoeuvres that made their crews work really hard. All the way around the course, the distance between the two opponents was never more than a boat length, with the Swedish boat in command most of the time: 'We haven’t done our best round robin, but we’re simply best when we have to. Today we lost our first two matches, but then we perform on top again. It’s a really good feeling to bring with us when approaching the next stage of the competition,' says Anna Kjellberg, meaning Friday’s round robin among the top six crews.
'We’re happy to have had some really tight match racing. Now we’ll continue with good starts and brilliant tactical decisions along the course,' Ulrikkeholm comments.
French Anne-Claire Le Berre, Kjellberg’s compatriot and fellow club member of the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club, Caroline Sylvan, Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen of Denmark and Stephanie Roble, USA, are all among the six skippers that advance. The next stage will decide the semi finalists, and is a new round robin between the six remaining crews: 'Results wise the last few matches of the double round robin was shocking, but somehow we managed to slip through. We have no real big problems, but I’ve made some misjudgements that aren’t allowed in this awesome competition,' the American skipper admits, looking forward to the continuation of the event.
'Tomorrow is another day, and we’ll definitely hang in there.'
Results in the Lysekil Women’s Match, the third stage of the 2014 WIM Series, after the completion of a double round robin. The first six advance to the next stage, a new round robin to decide the four semi finalists:
(skipper name/nationality/wins – losses):
1. Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN, 15 – 1
2. Anna Kjellberg, SWE, 10 – 6
3. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 10 – 6
4. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 9 – 7
5. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN, 8 – 8
6. Stephanie Roble, USA, 8 – 8
7. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED, 7 – 9
8. Linda Rahm, SWE, 4 – 12
9. Claudia Pierce, NZL, 1 – 15 WIM Series website