Women's World Match Race Championship gets underway today

The ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil is the most prestigious event in women's match racing. This year's championship has added interest, as it is the first in the four-year cycle which will culminate in the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition where Women's Match Racing will make it's debut on the Olympic programme.

After a few hours of training in more than 20 knots of wind the 12 teams had a good taste of what to expect for the next coming five tough days of the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil, Sweden. Today the first “round robin” starts, when the teams all will meet each opponent once.

The 12 teams originate from seven different countries: Great Britain, France, Australia, USA, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. A tight starting field with many options for the gold medal.

Britain's 22-year old Lucy MacGregor is the youngest skipper in the World Championship, but one of the most successful, ranked third on the ISAF women's world ranking list. MacGregor already has a busy campaign, training full time towards the 2012 Olympics in her home waters in Great Britain.

French world champion Claire Leroy is of course one of the favourites for gold as well as Australian Katie Spithill, who won the important Match Race Sweden earlier in July. Several of the Scandinavian teams have clear chances for gold with Swedish Linda Rahm, defending her two-time victory in in Lysekil 2008 and 2007, leading the way. The Swedes and Danes are used to sailing on the Danish race yacht, DS37 match racer, a fast and physical match racing yacht, ideal both competition wise and spectator wise.

The opening ceremony will take place tonight by the impressive full-rigger ship Götheborg. During the week more than 85 000 spectators are expected to watch the yacht racing or join some of the many activities on land, like free concerts, outdoor cinema, auction or shopping clothes, food and even beds in one of the many exhibition stands.

Lysekil Women`s Match will be held for the fifth time in Lysekil. The event has become a major attraction and the number of spectators has increased dramatically since the first event in 2004.

Did you know?
Each match will last for about 15-20 minutes and there will be around 20 matches sailed each day from Tuesday to Saturday.

12 skippers to the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship (with ISAF world ranking number):
Claire Leroy (1) FRA
Katie Spithill (2) AUS
Lucy MacGregor (3) GBR
Linda Rahm (4)SWE
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (5) DEN
Silke Hahlbrock (6) GER
Sally Barkow (7) USA
Nicole Souter (8) AUS
Anna Kjellberg (10) SWE
Camilla Ulrikkeholm (13) DEN
Christelle Philippe (19) FRA
Marie Björling (wild card) SWE

The event is inaugurated Monday 27 July. Racing starts Tuesday 28 July. The World Champion will be crowned Saturday 1 August.

ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2009 – Lysekil Women's Match (ISAF Ranking)
Competing skippers

Claire LEROY (FRA) – 1
Katie SPITHILL (AUS) – 2
Linda RAHM (SWE) – 4
Sally BARKOW (USA) – 7
Nicole SOUTER (AUS) – 8
Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM (DEN) – 13
Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA) – 19
Marie BJORLING (SWE) – 43 (wild card)

Lysekil Women's Match – www.lysekilwomensmatch.se

All the latest details on the 2009 Worlds, together with a full archive of results from previous championships is available on the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship microsite at www.sailing.org/wmatchworlds.

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