Swede Anna Kjellberg is so far the brightest shining star of the New York Women's Invitational in Oakcliff, USA, the penultimate stage of the inaugural Women's International Match Racing Series.
With her 12-0 record Kjellberg has completely outperformed all the other world leading women match racing skippers participating: "We've definitely had some really tight matches, but we've been able to keep the flow in our boat and to call the right tactics" Kjellberg comments.
Today Long Island Sound offered far better conditions for the eight top women match racing skippers battling in the New York Women's Invitational, than on the wind lacking opening day. Even if the wind pressure still was a little bit up and down, it was at least there for the whole day. 10-15 knots of breeze enabled the regatta organizers at Oakcliff Sailing not only to conclude the first round-robin, but also to get the second one well underway. All-in-all nine flights of four matches each were finished, and the tired crews didn't get ashore until around 1900.
Anna Kjellberg of the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club in Sweden went from strength to strength as she continued her winning strike, and is still undefeated in the regatta. Apparently she and her crew managed to get the most out of the big, wheel-driven SM 40s, originally designed for the Swedish Match Tour a decade ago by former America's Cup Challenger and Starboat World Champion Pelle Petterson. "I have to admit we had a few problems on-board, but the girls have sorted them out properly, meantime letting me drive full speed in the right direction on the course" Anna Kjellberg states. "We've experienced several tight situations during the day, especially when choosing rounding mark in the downwind gate. A few times the opponent chose the other mark, and we felt a little nervous for a while, but at the end our choice always showed to be the right one!"
American Stephanie Roble hesitated a few seconds before calling her day at the Women's International Match Racing Series "challenging". With twice as many victories as losses, an 8 - 4 record, she holds third place on the standings, and will still be able to race the semi finals in case the organizers decide to cut out the quarterfinals. "We had a couple of things inside the boat that didn't work to good. Some of the girls are new to the team so we have to improve our communication. But we feel strong concluding the round-robins and going into the quarterfinals" Roble comments, adding that she also found the conditions demanding, with shifty offshore breeze that kept everyone on their toes the entire time. "Absolutely. A race was never lost until the end, cause you could always find some wind shifts and get back"
Standings in the New York Women's Invitational (skipper/nationality/wins/losses): 1. Anna Kjellberg, SWE, 12 - 0 2. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 9 - 3 3. Stephanie Roble, USA, 8 - 4 4. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 6 - 6 5. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN, 5 - 7 5. Nicole Breault, USA, 5 - 7 7. Claudia Pierce, NZL, 3 - 9 8. Madeline Gill, USA, 0 - 12
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