Strong day for Finland
The 12 Women’s Match Racing teams put up with light winds on the first day of racing at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, the London 2012 Olympic Test Event.
Seven flights consisting of 21 races took place on the opening day featuring teams from Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and USA.
Teams from Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain were the first to sail in the Round Robin. The Finnish team of Silja Lehtinen, Sija Kanerva and Mikaela Wulff and Russia’s Ekaterina Skudina, Elena Siuzeva and Diana Neves enjoyed a great day after they won all four of their races. Lehtinen started the day with a race win over Mandy Mulder (NED) before comprehensively defeating Lucy Macgregor (GBR).
Lehtinen also overcame Lotte Meldgaard (DEN) and Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) to end the day with a 100% record. Skudina defeated Meldgaard, Mulder, Macgregor and Echegoyen but with two more days of Round Robin action Lehtinen and Skudina won’t be getting too carried away.
Later on in the day teams from Australia, France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden and USA pitted their sailing wits against each other.
And Sweden’s Anna Kjellberg, Malin Kallstrom and Lotta Harrysson head into the second day with a 100% record after race wins over Silke Hahlbrock (GER), Claire Leroy (FRA) Olivia Price (AUS).
Germany’s Hahlbrock recorded one race win against USA’s Sally Barkow. The German said, “It was quite hard to sail out there. The wind was dropping. The competition standard was very high and if you make a little mistake you lose.”
Despite recording a loss Barkow won both of her other races against Rita Gonzalves (POR) and Price. And France’s Claire Leroy also won two races and lost the other on the first day of sailing at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta.
On the forecast for the Women’s Match Racing and RS:X practice race tomorrow Jim Trice (GBR) Met Office lead forecaster said, “We have a weather front approaching from the west, probably reaching us tomorrow night. It is going to be into the afternoon before the wind starts to pick up.”
Skandia Team GBR trio of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor embarked on their opening round robin matches with a win against the Spanish trio of Tamara Echegoyen, Sofia Toro and Angela Pumariega. But after promising starts in their subsequent races, the Brits were forced to concede against the Finnish crew, helmed by Silja Lehtinen, Mandy Mulder’s Dutch trio, and Ekaterina Skudina’s Russian team with a 1-3 record to end their opening day.
“Today was probably not the start you would plan, if you could,” admitted the 30-year-old Lush. “Our actual [race] starts were great today – we were really dominating the pre-start and had our plan, and won all four starts clearly and cleanly. We made a few mistakes around the track and had a bit of bad luck as well at times and unfortunately ended up with three zeros and just one win, so we have a little bit to work on tomorrow to make sure they stay as ones and don’t turn to zeros.”
Although not the start to the regatta they were hoping for, Lush maintains that they are sailing well, and points out that there are plenty of matches still to go over the next two days before the top eight boats advance to the quarter-finals.
“It’s just about getting a few more ones than zeros tomorrow, and then it starts all over again when you focus on the knockouts,” she explained. “If you’d had microphones on board today, it felt like we were saying all the right things, the atmosphere was great in the boat, especially in the pre-start it was all going to plan. Unfortunately just the races seemed to slip away from us around the track a bit. There are things to look out for tomorrow, we made a couple of mistakes, but other than that it felt like we were sailing well, starting well and confident in the boat.”
Macgregor, Lush and Macgregor will race four more of their remaining seven round robin matches on Wednesday (3 August), with their next opponents set to be from Portugal, Sweden, Denmark and Australia.
Racing starts at 13:00 local time as the Round Robin for the 12 Women’s Match Racing teams continues.