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Monday's training at Lysekil Women's Match was challenging ias the teams tested the new Fareast 28r in big breeze. Dan Ljungsvik / LWM
Monday's training at Lysekil Women's Match was challenging ias the teams tested the new Fareast 28r in big breeze. Dan Ljungsvik / LWM

WIM Series

The crews in Lysekil Women’s Match were offered challenging sailing conditions and brand new Fareast 28R boats, as they today got a couple of hours practise on the waters of off Släggö Island in Lysekil, Sweden:

“It was super fun, but at the same time very challenging and difficult. At the beginning we hardly knew how it was going to work, nor exactly who was going to do what onboard, as we’re not at all used to these new boats, says local hope Anna Östling, not only reigning champion of both Lysekil Women’s Match and WIM Series, but also World Sailing #1.

The spectators on the rocks by the water saw gennakers with hourglasses, a crewmember sliding overboard and some other mistakes, but also a lot of really good manoeuvres and exciting sailing executed in the most perfect way:

“There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you’re not used to the boat, but our strength is that we can cooperate and quickly find solutions. It’s all about making mistakes and quickly learn from them” Östling analyses.

Tomorrow Tuesday the competition will kick off in Lysekil Women’s Match, with the first matches of the round-robin. The first four will advance directly to the quarters, while the remaining seven crews will have to sail a repechage round-robin in order to determine the following four quarter finalists. If the organizers, Sailnet and Lysekil’s Yacht Club Gullmar, will continue to have good winds throughout the week, the quarters are supposed to be raced Friday, while semis and final will be sailed Saturday. Consequently Tuesday to Thursday will see the round-robin and the repechage stage:

“Our goal is to let all the participants do as much racing as possible, and with this format we’ll achieve that” says Anna Holmdahl White, initiator and project manager of Lysekil Women’s Match.

Skippers in Lysekil Women’s Match 2017 (name, nationality, World Sailing ranking July 12):

Anna Östling, SWE, 1

Local match racing ace and Olympian Anna Östling is not only #1 on the World Sailing ranking, double World Champion and overall winner of the 2016 WIM Series. Last year she also managed to take her first triumph in Lysekil Women’s Match, and the seventh of August this year she’ll be back to defend her title. To develop their sailing skills and have fun is the ambition of Team Anna, and they are looking forward to race in the brand new Fareast 28R.

Renée Groeneveld, NED, 2

Renée Groeneveld took the World Championship bronze medal in the USA last year, and later she also won the WIM Series finale on US Virgin Islands. This year she finished runner-up in the Helsinki Worlds. In the 2012 Olympic Games in Weymouth, the Dutch sailing star reached the quarter finals. Groeneveld represents Haarlemsche Jachtclub close to Amsterdam, and looks after customer service and planning at Vopak when not sailing.

Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 4

Östlings fellow club member of the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club, 28 years old Caroline Sylvan, finished fifth on the 2016 WIM Series. Currently she’s holding the same spot on the World Sailing ranking, close to Groeneveld. Sylvan participated in all the 2016 WIM Series events, and earlier in her career she sailed a large number of international championships in different dinghy classes.

Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 6

25 years old mathematics student Marinella Laaksonen is not only the highest ranked female Finnish skipper on the World Sailing ranking, but she also has two straight National Championships in Women’s Match Racing. Before getting into match racing, Marinella sailed dinghy classes like Europe dinghy, Zoom 8 and 49er FX. She finished fifth in the World Championship on her home waters of Helsinki earlier this summer, and is doing her second Lysekil event.

Pauline Courtois, FRA, 7

28 years old sport teacher Pauline Courtois from Brest started sailing at seven and racing at nine. She has been in match racing on different positions since 2011. In 2013 she finished runner-up when calling the tactics for Julie Bossard in the WIM Series event in Saint-Quay-Portrieux, and took a bronze medal in the French championships. Pauline finished seventh on the 2016 WIM Series, and this year will be her third in Lysekil.

Trine Palludan, DEN, 8

As a main trimmer and tactician in successful Team Ulrikkeholm, 38 years old Trine Palludan from famous sailing metropolis Hellerup has got three World Championship silver medals. Trine will again be helming the Danish team, as she did in Busan in 2014 and 2016. But steering the boat is not a new task for Trine, who in 2004 became both World and European Champion as an Yngling skipper. When not sailing Trine works as a chiropractor in Frederiksberg, in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 12

Living in small town Grankulla just west from Finnish capital Helsinki, 30 years old Antonia Degerlund represents NJK, the yacht club that introduced matchracing in the country. Antonia is a management consultant at world-renowned company Accenture, also managing her own match racing team since a couple of years. Antonia and her crew states that in their boat the purpose of sailing is to have fun. In the 2016 Finnish Match Racing Nationals they finished fourth.

Alexa Bezel, SUI, 17

In Horgen on the west coast of the elongated Lake Zürich, right where the ferry to Meilen departs, is the home waters of Swiss skipper Alexa Bezel, 25, and her team. Their sailing background is in 470 and Laser as well as in keelboats, multihulls and Volvo Ocean Race. In 2012 the girls in Team ChicaCER came to Lysekil for the first time, and shocked everybody with their runner-up result! In 2015 and 2016 they finished seventh in Lysekil.

Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 18

Team X Match Racing was born just a few years ago as a Swedish team from Gothenburg. Skipper Johanna Bergqvist has already, at age 21, competed at several international regattas in different dinghy classes. Since her debut she’s been able to gain more than 100 spots on the World Sailing match racing ranking, and she was extremely close to getting through to the quarterfinals of this year’s World Championship. Most of her crewmembers have a background in dinghies, but some also have experience in keel-boat racing.

Linnea Floser, SWE, 22

Living in the Swedish capital Stockholm, and representing the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, 25 years old Linnea Floser started her international match racing career in the WIM Series event on US Virgin Islands late last year. She has raced several dinghy classes and is working as the head coach for local sailing club Boo SS, and as skipper at match racing centre At Sea Events. Linnea Floser is a certified personal trainer, and has studied science and meteorology at the Stockholm University.

Octavia Owen, GBR, 26

Youngster skipper of the year is 18 years old Octavia Owen from West Kirby Sailing Club on the British westcoast, just outside Liverpool. In 2015 Octavia was part of the silver team in the team racing worlds, and she also has a silver medal from the Women’s National Match Racing Championships. She began match racing in 2015, after a career in Cadet and Firefly. Her team Athena Racing consists of young women who have sailed together since they were five. They’re now making their WIM Series debut in Lysekil.

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