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23 August 2003, 01:10 pm
Swedish Ladies Grab Triple Lead
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European Women's Match Race Championship

The Whirlpool Women's Match Racing Europeans kicked off on Friday, Aug. 22, in Helsinki, Finland. The chosen weapon was J-80 yachts, provided by the Match Racing section of the organizing club, Nyländska Jaktklubben.
Practise sessions scheduled for Thursday 21 were cancelled due heavy breeze which unfortunately caused one of the J80s a severe mast breakdown. Luckily the organizing authority was able to build up a new mast during the night and on Friday morning all six boats were ready for their matches.

Friday morning greeted the female skippers with beautiful weather and a perfect breeze of 15 knots. In Group "A" Marie BJÖRLING with Team Panorama shot up the competition with five bullets. The Danish team of Lotte Meldgaard PEDERSENS placed second, with Marie FAURE of France salvaging a third against local rookie Mikaela ERIKSSON.

"B" group was also blasted by the Swedes. Malin KÄLLSTRÖM clinched five wins, besting eponymous Malin MILLBOURN clearly. A three-way tie-break resulted for the last slot in the quarter finals. Dawn will see ISAF Junior Champ Silja LEHTINEN of Finland competing in her first Match Race event in a sail-off against Nina BRAESTRUP of Denmark and Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN of Holland.

Shoot-ins for the B-group on Saturday are Mikaela ERIKSSON and Nina RAMM-SCHMIDT of Finland, Christina REFN of Denmark and Rita GONCALVES of Portugal.

The weather forecast for Saturday is wind between 6 and 14 knots accompanied by rain and thunder.
Henry Ericsson (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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