Spain smiled on the competitors at the V Womens Match Race Criterium, bringing sun and near perfect sailing conditions for the final day of this ISAF Grade 1 event.
The overnight semi-final results of 1:1 between Sabrina Gurioly (ITA), with Nina Braestrup (DEN) and Christelle Philippe (FRA) with Malin Millbourn (SWE) were converted into wins for the Scandinavians.
The Petit Final went all Sabrina´s way with a 2:0 result, but the Final went all the way to five flights. Malin Millbourn´s consistency and speed in the 16-20 knots of offshore breeze, providing relative flat water conditions, proved almost dominating. However, things did not all go her way, leaving too loose a cover on the beat let Nina Braestrup through on the left her behind in the second race.
After winning the third Malin won the start of the fourth race only to loose the advantage in the now more shifty conditions. A boat length behind at the top mark for the first time she had to fight hard to get level down the run. Nina took Malin out past the port lay-line into the leeward mark and when both gybed and dropped spinnakers they were clear at the two boat length zone. This did not stop Malin taking room illegally at the mark where the umpires awarded her a red flag penalty (a penalty she must not delay taking). After taking her penalty turn Malin never really threatened Nina again but she always remained close.
The fifth start went more according the Malin´s game plan winning the favoured committee boat end and kept a tight cover for the rest of the race to win the event and the 1,800 Euro first prize (1,200 Euros for Nina and 800 Euros for Sabrina). The Sailing Club in Calpe is now looking forward to arranging the VI Womens Match Race Criterium in 2004 with twelve teams from around the world.