After a few hours of training in more than 20 knots of wind the 12 teams had a good taste of what to expect for the next coming five tough days of the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil, Sweden. Tomorrow the first "round robin" starts, when the teams all will meet each opponent once.
The 12 teams originate from seven different countries: Great Britain, France, Australia, USA, Germany, Denmark and Sweden - a tight starting field with many options for the gold medal.
Britain's 22-year old Lucy MACGREGOR is the youngest skipper in the World Championship, but one of the most successful, ranked #3 on the ISAF Women's World Ranking list. MACGREGOR already has a busy campaign, training full time towards the 2012 Olympic Games in her home waters in Great Britain.
French world champion Claire LEROY is of course one of the favourites for gold as well as Australian Katie SPITHILL, who won the important Match Race Sweden earlier in July. Several of the Scandinavian teams have clear chances for gold with Swedish Linda RAHM, defending her two-time victory in Lysekil in 2008 and 2007, leading the way. The Swedes and Danes are used to sailing on the Danish race yacht, DS37 match racer, a fast and physical match racing yacht, ideal both competition wise and spectator wise.
The opening ceremony took place tonight by the impressive full-rigger ship Götheborg. During the week more than 85,000 spectators are expected to watch the yacht racing or join some of the many activities on land like free concerts, outdoor cinema, auction or shopping clothes, food and even beds in one of the many exhibition stands.
Lysekil Women's Match will be held for the fifth time in Lysekil. The event has become a major attraction and the number of spectators has increased dramatically since the first event in 2004.
Did You Know?
Each match will last for about 15-20 minutes and there will be around 20 matches sailed each day from Tuesday to Saturday.
ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2009 - Lysekil Women's Match
Competing skippers - ISAF World Ranking
Claire LEROY (FRA) - 1
Katie SPITHILL (AUS) - 2
Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR) - 3
Linda RAHM (SWE) - 4
Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN) - 5
Silke HAHLBROCK (GER) - 6
Sally BARKOW (USA) - 7
Nicole SOUTER (AUS) - 8
Anna KJELLBERG (SWE) - 10
Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM (DEN) - 13
Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA) - 19
Marie BJORLING (SWE) - 43 (wild card)
ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2009 / Lysekil Women's Match is with its 50 000 Euro prize purse the world's biggest competition in women's match racing.
Lysekil Women's Match is organized by Sailnet Lysekil AB together with Lysekil Yacht Club Gullmar.
The main sponsors of this year's championship are: Preem and Stena Bulk, with Carpe Diem Beds of Sweden, Concordia Maritime, Evidens and Sebago as partners and Lysekil as Host City.
Lysekil Women's Match - www.lysekilwomensmatch.se
All the latest details on the 2009 Worlds, together with a full archive of results from previous championships is available on the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship microsite at www.sailing.org/wmatchworlds.