Macgregor and Ulrikkeholm tied
Starting on Thursday, eight of the world's leading women match racing skippers will kick off their battle in Oakcliff, New York, when the inaugural Women's International Match Racing Series makes its only US stop.
"Our open events have over the years always had a large number of women sailors, so it seems appropriate that Oakcliff is now hosting the only US stop of the inaugural Series," says Oakcliff Sailing Executive Director Dawn Riley.
On 44 points, Lucy Macgregor shares the lead of the Women's International Match Racing Series with world number one, Camilla Ulrikkeholm of Denmark.
Since the latter is not participating in Oakcliff, Macgregor has a great opportunity to further strengthen her position on the Series' standings: "The aim as always is to win, but I'm sure it won't be easy. There has been some great competition in the series so far, and it will be the same this weekend." She adds that she likes to be back in the SM 40 boats: " I have only raced the SM40s once before, and the rest of my crew have never raced them. I really enjoyed racing them last time and looking forward to having another go!"
Having come straight from a win at Stena Match Cup Sweden, Stephanie Roble from the Chicago Match Race Center is currently fourth on the Series' standings, on 33 points. She is looking forward to some warm and sunny sailing, after having sailed in chilly Scandinavia for a couple of weeks: "I've heard the Sound is known for light conditions in the summer. We are looking forward to warm temperatures and whatever breeze the Long Island Sound brings us!" Roble smiles.
Helming a boat without a tiller will be a new experience for Roble: "My crew is pretty experienced in the SM 40s, so I'm pumped about that. I still think we will have a big learning curve as a team, especially in the back of the boat because I've never driven a boat with a wheel!"
Swede Anna Kjellberg has been to all the Women International Match Racing Series' events so far, and is now stuck between Macgregor and Roble on third place in the standings with her 36 points. She said: "We're aiming for the final on Sunday and will sail aggressively from Match 1 to make it. It's tougher but more fun to race with a larger crew, and we like that it challenges our ability to communicate and work together as a team." However Kjellberg is aware of the competition: "We are not the same team as in the Swedish regatta we did last week, but we're definitely in race mode!"
Participating skippers in the New York Women's Invitational, the 4th WIMRS event of five: Lucy Macgregor (Great Britain) Anna Kjellberg (Sweden) Stephanie Roble (USA) Caroline Sylvan (Sweden) Claudia Pierce (New Zealand) Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (Denmark) Nicole Breault (USA) Madeline Gill (USA)
Standings in the 2013 Women's International Match Racing Series after three events, in France, Korea and Denmark (skipper/nationality/WIMRS points):
1. Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN, 44
1. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 44
3. Anna Kjellberg, SWE, 36
4. Stephanie Roble, USA, 33
5. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN, 25
5. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED, 25
5. Tamara Echegoyen, ESP, 25
8. Julie Bossard, FRA, 22
9. Katie Spithill, AUS, 19
10. Alexa Bezel, SUI, 17
10. Claudia Pierce, NZL, 17
12. Merel Witteveen, NED, 15
12. Ekaterina Skudina, RUS, 15
14. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 14
15. Susannah Pyatt, NZL, 9
16. Milly Bennett, AUS, 8
17. Anna Kjellgren, SWE, 7
18. Anne Marit Hansen, NOR, 4
18. Sung-Eun Choi, KOR, 4
18. Morgane Dréau, FRA, 4