Just a month after her World Championship gold in Sheboygan, USA, Swedish skipper Anna Östling is now travelling eastwards, aiming to tick her next goal box for this year.
The Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, sailed in the South Korean city next week, is a great opportunity for Östling and Co. to conquer the 2016 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) in advance of the last event:
“There are two events to go this year, and we know our chances are very good, but we’ll certainly have to work hard to make it” she comments.
Östling and her crew have had nothing but a marvellous year so far. This summer they began the WIM Series season with a victory in the inaugural Helsinki Women’s Match in Finland, defeating Pauline Courtois of France in the final. In August they broke five years of Danish dominance in Lysekil Women’s Match, as titleholder Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby finished fourth, to let Östling rule her home waters over American Stephanie Roble in their photo finish deciding match:
“To win in front of the cheering crowds in Lysekil has been our dream since we began sailing. We’ve been so close before, but this year we finally nailed it. It was awesome” she states.
The Swedes’ winning streak continued at the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA, a month ago. In exciting final matches against Anne-Claire Le Berre of France, Östling managed to get not only her third consecutive WIM Series victory. As the event was also elevated in status and name to become the World Championship, Team Anna went home with gold medals around their necks:
“We raced 29 matches in just three days, as the weather delayed the program. I don’t think I’ve ever been so exhausted after a regatta. To be honest, we haven’t really recovered until now, when it’s time to cast off for next week’s event in Korea” she smiles.
With three event victories out of three possible, Anna Östling stands on maximum 75 points on the 2016 WIM Series leader board:
“Never before has one team won three events in one season, and by no means have these wins been easy” comments WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis.
Östling’s fellow club member of the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club, Caroline Sylvan, sits on third with 48 points, the same score as runner-up Pauline Courtois. Behind them are Stephanie Roble and Dutch Renée Groeneveld tied on 40 points, with Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby on sixth place and 38 points:
“These teams are all in the running for the top spot, but Team Anna is definitely in control of their own destiny” Baylis explains.
With the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race next week, and the Carlos Aguilar Match Race as the ultimate 2016 WIM Series event in US Virgin Islands in December, Liz Baylis has read the Terms of Series thoroughly to run the numbers. Here is her complete analysis:
If Team Anna Östling finishes sixth or worse in both of the remaining events, they would end up with a maximum of 89 points (by dropping one of their bad scores and being forced to count the other).
A finish by Team Anna Östling on fifth or better in any of the remaining events, would give them 91 points, and no one could catch them.
Either Matchrace Team Netherlands (Groeneveld) or Epic Racing (Roble) could end up on 90 points if one of them won both events, but would need Team Anna to falter to take the title.
Team Ulrikkeholm Klinkby could take the WIM Series title by winning both remaining events and having Team Anna finish seventh or worse in both.
Match in Pink (Courtois) could win by winning both events and having Team Anna finish eighth or worse in both.
Finally the New Sweden Match Racing Team (Sylvan) could be the 2016 WIM Series Champion by winning both and having Team Anna finish 11th or worse in both.
Obviously Anna Östling has a great chance to lead her team to their first WIM Series title, claiming the prestigious Terry J Kohler perpetual trophy. But to not be dependent on other teams’ results, they’ll have to finish no worse than fifth place in Busan. Looking back at this year it certainly seems very realistic, but last year Anna Östling didn’t finish better than seventh in the Korean event:
“We can’t allow ourselves to think that we have an advantage, having sailed very well so far. We have to take one match at a time, and do everything as well as we can. Then we can reach very far” the Swedish skipper concludes.
The Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race in Busan, South Korea, will kick off the round-robin racing on Tuesday the 25th of October, with final races, prize giving and closing ceremony on Saturday the 30th of October.
Standings in the 2016 WIM Series after three events out of five (skipper, country, WIM Series points):
1. Anna Östling, SWE, 75
2. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 48
3. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 48
4. Stephanie Roble, USA, 40
5. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 40
6. Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 38
7. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 22
8. Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 21
9. Lotte Meldgaard, DEN, 18
10. Samantha Norman, NZL, 14
11. Sanna Häger, SWE, 14
12. Alexa Bezel, SUI, 12
13. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 12
14. Nicole Breault, USA, 10
15. Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 10
16. Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 10
17. Elizabeth Shaw, CAN, 8
18. Susanna Kukkonen FIN, 8
19. Diana Kissane, IRL, 7
20. Sanna Mattsson, SWE, 5
by WIM Series