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5 July 2009, 11:23 am
SPITHILL Takes Women's Title At Match Cup Sweden
Aussie skipper Katie SPITHILL celebrates victory
Aussie skipper Katie SPITHILL celebrates victory

Match Cup Sweden 2009
Marstrand, Sweden

Australian skipper Katie SPITHILL won the women's title at Match Cup Sweden, edging out local favourite Anna KJELLEBRG in a thrilling final.
Day five of Match Cup Sweden was ladies day with the women's semis and finals scheduled. The fantastic weather continued today with a 10-12 knot sea breeze from the west northwest which enabled a course to be laid right in the middle of Marstrand fijord in front of the VIP pavilion and the masses of spectators who swarmed all over the rocks. Katie SPITHILL (AUS), winner of the recent ISAF Sailing World Cup event at Kieler Woche, emerged victorious after a five match slug fest which saw her come back from 0-2 down to snatch victory by less than a metre.

The semi finals started just after 10:00 and both went to 3-1 with Anna KJELLBERG (SWE) and SPITHILL outclassing their opponents. In the matches between KJELLBERG and Linda RAHM (SWE), RAHM started out well with a lead in the first but was soon overhauled by KJELLBERG on the downwind, RAHM came back with a win in the second but in the third and fourth matches although it was close KJELLBERG had a little extra something to make it to the final. In the Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR) vs SPITHILL head to head, both teams had great opportunities to advance to the final with many lead changes throughout the competition. SPITHILL capitalized on every opportunity she was handed and with some smart and fast sailing set up a meeting with local favourite KJELLBERG.

In the petit final, RAHM handed a master class to MCGREGOR beating her in the first by over 10 boat lengths and in the second match RAHM put two pre-start penalties on MCGREGOR and then kept a loose cover on her to the finish five lengths ahead and take third place.

Flight one of the final saw a big pre-start scuffle. SPITHILL got the upper hand by pressing KJELLBERG in the lead up to the start which resulted in KJELLBERG shooting over the line early. A tack around and a re-start gave SPITHILL a big lead. KJELLBERG was not about to give up and battled back playing the shifts and showing awesome boat speed. By the first mark KJELLBERG had worked her way to the right of SPITHILL and as they came together KJELLBERG dialled SPITHILL down then dived around the mark ahead by half a boat length. From then on KJELLBERG was never bothered and extended her lead to over 10 lengths. SPITHILL must have been left thinking what happened.

In flight two it was KJELLBERG's turn to lead the way crossing the line first and getting a cover onto SPITHILL from the start. At mark one it was KJELLBERG ahead but with SPITHILL breathing down her neck. KJELLBERG held her nerve and rounded mark two by a boat length. KJELLBERG continued to extend her lead to go to match point.

The third flight started on split tacks, SPITHILL on the left at pace and KJELLBERG shooting to get around the starboard mark. SPITHILL pounced on the opportunity to get ahead and led around the track never giving KJELLBERG the chance to get back into the race.

The fourth flight began with a classic dial-up and at the start both boats were over. SPITHILL was on the right and after both boats came back together KJELLBERG received a penalty for tacking too close to SPITHILL. There was a close tacking duel upwind and the boats rounded mark one of the three lap race overlapped. Downwind KJELLBERG attacked and got into a rolling position but SPITHILL defended well forcing KJELLEBRG wide of the mark and retained the lead. SPITHILL sailed the shifts on the second beat and run eking out a three-length lead. KJELLBERG tacked immediately round the fourth mark but a bad tack by SPITHILL meant that KJELLBERG was able to wriggle free of SPITHILLS vice-like grip and claim the power of the right. KJELLBERG used it well and after a furious tacking duel rounded the final mark ahead by a nose. With a penalty outstanding KJELLBERG's only choice was to slow down and try and offload the penalty by forcing SPITHILL into an error. SPITHILL stayed calm and when the opportunity arose she dived for the line rolling over the top of KJELLBERG to take it to a fifth-race decider.

And what a decider it was. After an even start it was nip and tuck for the first two laps with both teams fighting hard to press home the advantage. As they came around the last leeward mark KJELLBERG tacked first and the ensuing tacking duel up the final beat saw KJELLBERG edging back into the race and forcing SPITHILL off to the left each time. At the top of the beat KJELLBERG misjudged the layline and SPITHILL tacked under her lee bow and then extended towards the mark rounding inches ahead. KJELLBERG came back down the run sailing higher and faster eating up the gap between them and then gybing to starboard and forcing SPITHILL to gybe, KJELLBERG luffed but SPITHILL kept clear in the windward position and started to roll. KJELLBERG held her lane and pushed SPITHILL across the course before gybing for what she thought was the closest end of the line. A fumbled gybe onboard KJELLBERG's boat gave SPITHILL the chance to lunge for the line and even a desperate gybe back onto starboard by KJELLBERG to force SPITHILL into an error couldn't stop the Australian from breaking the line with her spinnaker first.

An elated SPITHILL congratulated her crew of Samantha BOYD, Jessica EASTWELL, Olivia PRICE, Nicole DOUGLAS and Stacey JACKSON adding that, "This is totally unbelievable, I really hasn't sunk in yet. The crew have just done a fantastic job this week. Today was all about how to race the boats, learning from Anna who gave us such a beating in the first race we had to work out fast how to match her."

Sunday will see the men take to the water for their semi finals and finals. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) stepped up to the plate and chose to face Sébastien COL (FRA) in the semis leaving Peter GILMOUR (FRA) to face Damien IEHL (FRA). RICHARD decided not to choose IEHL for personal reasons but would not elaborate as to why leaving him with a HOBSON's choice of COL or GILMOUR, the world #1 or the six-time champion. Weather forecasters are predicting overnight change with the possibility of some showers. No matter what the weather brings sparks are sure to fly here in Marstrand.

Match Cup Sweden Women




Petit Final

Linda RAHM (SWE) d Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR), 2-0

Semi Finals

Anna KJELLBERG (SWE) d Linda RAHM (SWE), 3-1

Katie SPITHILL (AUS), 4-3
Linda RAHM (SWE), 4-3
Claire LEROY (FRA), 3-4
Nicky SOUTER (AUS), 3-4
Sally BARKOW (USA), 1-6

Match Cup Sweden


Semi Finals

Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) v Sébastien COL (FRA)
Peter GILMOUR (AUS) v Damien IEHL (FRA)

Quarter Final Round

Sébastien COL (FRA) v Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), 3-0
Damien IEHL (FRA) v Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), 3-0
Peter GILMOUR (AUS) v Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), 3-2
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) v Philippe PRESTI (FRA), 3-1

5-8 Competition

5. Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge
6. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team
7. Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team
8. Philippe PRESTI (FRA), French Match Racing Team


Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team, 6-1*
Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 6-1*
Peter WIBROE (DEN), Wibroe Racing Team, 5-2
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch, 3-3
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 3-3
Mattias RAHM (SWE), Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 3-3
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Onico, 1-6
Francesco BRUNI (ITA), Team Joe Fly Match Racing, 1-6

*qualifies for quarter-final round

Round Robin

Group A

Peter GILMOUR (AUS), YANMAR Racing, 4-2*
Damien IEHL (FRA), French Match Racing Racing Team, 4-2*
Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing, 4-2*
Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 3-3
Mattias RAHM (SWE), Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 3-3
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Onico, 2-4
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch, 1-5

Group B

Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 5-1*
Philippe PRESTI (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 4-2*
Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge, 4-2*
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 3-3
Peter WIBROE (DEN), Wibroe Racing Team, 3-3
Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team, 1-5
Francesco BRUNI (ITA), Team Joe Fly Match Racing, 1-5

*qualifies for quarter-final round

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Leaderboard
(Top eight teams after Stage 4 of 10)

1. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch, 61 points
2. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 49 points
3. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 48 points
4. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team, 46 points
5. Ben AINSLIE (GBR), Team Origin, 40 points
6. Damien IEHL (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 32 points
7. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Shosholoza Team, 31 points
8. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), YANMAR Racing, 31 points

The winner of the annual World Match Racing Tour is crowned as ISAF Match Racing World Champion. Find out more at

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