A host of the world's top female match racers have been doing battle on the waters of Sweden's Marstrand Fjord at Stena Match Cup Sweden, the fifth stage of the World Match Racing Tour.
The women's racing kicked off the event with a showcase of skill and talent as the teams went head to head in the identical Elliot 6m yachts, the same boat that will be sailed at the London 2012 Olympics. The women's division at Stena Match Cup Sweden provides the Olympic hopefuls with an excellent opportuny to hone their skills in the run-up to the Olympic selection trials.
The Semi Finals saw American Olympic gold medallist in the Laser Radial, Anna Tunnicliffe
overcome Great Britain's world number one and current World Champion Lucy Macgregor
3-0 in tricky, shifting conditions.
"We had a great day of racing today
," Tunnicliffe said. "Conditions out there were pretty tough, racing was tight and a lot of fun. We have been sailing really well and we hope we can keep up our form going into the final tomorrow
Macgregor, who along with sister Kate and crew Annie Lush are currently the number one choice to represent Team GBR at the London Games, added: "It is disappointing to lose in the Semis to Anna but it is all great training for the Olympics. Everything is very much on course for London 2012."
Tunnicliffe will face Claire Leroy
(FRA) in the Final on Wednesday, after Leroy defeated last year's women's division winner Ekaterina Skudina
from Russia in the other Semi Final match. You can watch all the action live between 14:00 and 16:00 local time (GMT +2) at www.wmrt.com
Following the action from the women's event it was time for the men's teams to hit the water for a practice session ahead of the first qualifying session on Wednesday. Fourteen teams - including all nine Tour Card Holders - will clash over 23 flights of four matches to determine which eight crews will progress through to the next stage of Stena Match Cup Sweden.
Having made the finals of the last three Tour events and with a 23-point buffer at the top of the World Match Racing Tour standings, Francesco Bruni
(ITA) Bruni Racing is among the favourites for glory in Marstrand. Bruni has been the standout skipper on the Tour so far this season with impressive consistency and strike rate. However, life at the top is by no means easy.
"With three good results under our belt I think there is now quite a bit of pressure on us to win here in Sweden
," Bruni admitted. "At the same time, the feeling that we are sailing well eases that pressure. It's a good feeling to be ahead in the Tour, it was our goal but we didn't expect to be this far ahead. We're really excited about racing here in Marstrand, we want to do well and we're putting all our energy into it."
Among those looking to upset Bruni's crusade will undoubtedly be the Swedish contingent of Tour Card Holder Johnie Berntsson
(SWE) Berntsson Sailing, Tour regular Bjorn Hansen
(SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team and Mattias Rahm
(SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team. Ian Williams
(GBR) Team GAC Pindar comes to Marstrand off the back of a win at the Portimao Portugal Match Cup but the double match racing world champion has had no time to rest, travelling straight to Sweden from the American stage of the Extreme Sailing Series.
For a preview of the first Qualifying Session head over to www.wmrt.com
for The Morning Show with Hannah White from 10:00 local time. Live streaming will bring you all the action and analysis from 14:00 to 16:00. For a blow-by-blow account of racing follow our live blog, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/worldmrt
. The Today Show will then wrap up the day from 20.30.
Women's class Semi Final results:
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) Team Tunnicliffe beat Lucy Macgregor (GBR) Match Race Girls 3-0
Claire Leroy (FRA) Mermaid Sailing Team beat Ekatherina Skudina (RUS) Yacht Russia 3-2
Women's class Qualifying results:
1 Ekatherina Skudina (RUS) Yacht Russia 7-2
2 Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) Team Tunnicliffe 7-2
3 Claire Leroy (FRA) Mermaid Sailing Team 6-3
4 Lucy Macgregor (GBR) Match Race Girls 6-3
5 Anna Kjellberg (SWE) Team Anna 5-4
6 Nicky Souter (AUS) 5-4
7 Mandy Mulder (NED) 5-4
8 Trine Abrahamsen (DEN) 2-7
9 Lotte Melgaard Pedersen (DEN) Match Race Team 2-9
10 Caroline Sylvan (SWE) 0-9