Spain's Tamara Echegoyen has been crowned ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion but Camilla Ulrikkeholm of Denmark gave her a hard time in the final.
Ulrikkeholm didn't let the Spaniard continue her amazing undefeated run and in breeze with gusts up to 25 knots, the exciting finale ended 3 - 2 in the Spaniards favour.
"It was a really difficult day, with wind changes and puffs that forced us to always stay close to the other boat to try and control them. Now I'm just so happy, and very proud of my great team. They've done a marvellous job, and I enjoy every day with them,"
Echegoyen said of her crew Sofia Toro, Eva Gonzalez, Mariana Lobato and Lara Cacabelos.
Ulrikkeholm fired off some Danish dynamite this Busan Sunday on the second event of the inaugural Women's International Match Racing Series. Completing her semi-final in the morning she beat Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) by passing her on the last downwind in their last match, when both boats broached and got their spinnakers through the fore triangles. Ulrikkeholm managed to get the control back quicker, approaching the finish line and leaving the Russian behind with a kite that tore completely into pieces.
Then Ulrikkeholm went into the finals and shook up the - until then - unbeatable Echegoyen, beginning with two straight wins in the final matches. The road was then open for a Danish delight, but Echegoyen and her team wanted something else and fought back, "I think Camilla & Co had more speed than us, and it was very difficult staying ahead of them. I had to think for myself that everything was still possible, that we had to focus on each race, relax and try to sail the best we could. If we could win all week before, then we could for sure do it again,"
"We know that we are strong in big boats and a lot of breeze, and we felt that we had everything to win against the Olympic Champion Tamara,"
Ulrikkeholm says, explaining why it went wrong in the last three final matches.
"In the first one we got penalized for not finishing a gybe in time, in the second we lost a crew overboard when she wanted to hike a little extra and lost her grip, and in the last match we made a bad start at the leeward mark, and you can't afford such things when racing against Tamara Echegoyen.
"I want to congratulate Tamara and her team. We gave everything we could, but it wasn't enough for gold this time. However, if you ask us tomorrow I think we will be satisfied with our silver medals,"
Echegoyen added, "We had really amazing matches and a great fight, I liked this week from start to finish. My next event is the 49er European Championships in Åarhus, Denmark, but I will also have to try and fit a few more match racing events into my schedule,"
Camilla Ulrikkeholm's next event will be the Danish Open Ladies Cup, sailed June 20 - 23 at her home waters of Skovshoved, Denmark.
In the Petit Final in Busan, Katie Spithill (AUS) lost the first match against Skudina, but then managed to get back, defeating the Russian in two thrilling matches, and securing the third place and the World Championship bronze medal to Australia.
She was more than satisfied with this accomplishment, as she hasn't been at the helm in match racing for two years, "It was great to get back out there and remember how it's done. I think I have the match racing bug again now, and I just need to figure out how to finance some more regattas. A big thank you to my crew, who did an awesome job everyday on the water,"
Regatta Director Alfredo Ricci was also very pleased with his sixth successful event in Busan, Korea, "We are extremely happy and very proud to host the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship for the first time here in Asia," he says, explaining their way of looking at things.
"Our approach is to always listen to the sailors' feedback, taking care of any possible issue they may come up with. We are already looking forward to next year, being an important part of the Women's International Match Racing Series,"
1. Tamara Echegoyen, Sofia Toro, Eva Gonzalez, Mariana Lobato, Lara Cacabelos (ESP) USD 20,000
2. Camilla Ulrikkeholm, Trine Palludan, Louise Ulrikkeholm, Josefine Boel Rasmussen, Joan Vestergård Hansen (DEN) USD 15,000
3. Katie Spithill, Alessandra Angelini, Jessica Eastwell, Maryann Thomas, Stacey Jackson (AUS) USD 12,000
4. Ekaterina Skudina, Silke Hahlbrock, Ekaterina Chashchina, Tatiana Lartseva, Vera Dubina (RUS) USD 10,000
5. Anna Kjellberg, Johanna Larsson, Karin Almquist, Linnéa Wennergren, Annie Wennergren (SWE) USD 9,000
6. Alexa Bezel, Corinne Meyer, Romy Hasler, Manon Luther, Laurane Mettraux (SUI) USD 8,000
7. Susannah Pyatt, Karleen Dixon, Jenny Egnot, Jenna Hansen, Raynor Haagh (NZL) USD 7,000
8. Claudia Pierce, Hannah Osborne, Aimee Famularo, Paige Cook, Janelle Peat (NZL) USD 6,000
9. Sung-Eun Choi, Won Hee Seo, Moon Mi Kim, Jin Sook Choi, Som Da Park (KOR) USD 5,000
Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN) - Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) 2 - 3
Petit Final result
Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) - Katie Spithill (AUS) 1 - 2
Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) - Katie Spithill (AUS) 3 - 0
Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) - Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN) 1.25 - 3 (to be continued Sunday)
Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) - Claudia Pierce (NZL) 3 - 0
Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) - Alexa Bezel (SUI) 3 - 0
Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN) - Susannah Pyatt (NZL) 3 - 0
Anna Kjellberg (SWE) - Katie Spithill (AUS) 0 - 3
1. Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) 16 - 0
2. Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) 13 - 3
3. Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN) 10 - 6
4. Anna Kjellberg (SWE) 9 - 7
5. Katie Spithill (AUS) 8 - 8
6. Susannah Pyatt (NZL) 5 - 11
7. Alexa Bezel (SUI) 5 - 11
8. Claudia Pierce (NZL) 5 - 11
9. Sung-Eun Choi (KOR) 1 - 15
ISAF Event Microsite