Today it’s one month left until the start of Lysekil Women’s Match, the official Women’s Match Racing World Championship. Marie Björling Duell’s team will return to the arena where they fought for the gold medals ten years ago.
The preparations for the match racing World Championship have been going on for a long time, both in Lysekil and among the participating sailors. The starting line-up includes twelve of the world’s best match racing skippers, such as the Pauline Courtois (FRA), number one on World Sailings match racing ranking and the reigning world champion Lucy Macgregor (GBR).
Last time Lysekil hosted the World Championship in match racing was in 2009. Then Marie Björling Duell team reached final. After several years of absence from international match racing, they are now back among the elite teams fighting for the medals. Björling Duell gathered her former team to train for the qualifying event for the World Championships in Gothenburg earlier this spring, where they ended up as the best Swedish team and won a World Cup ticket.
”There was a lot of joy on board when we got to compete together again. And I think our routine became an advantage because there was a lot at stake”, says the skipper who has won several World Championship medals, but never a gold.
”We don’t think about this being a chance at winning the World Championships once and for all. That would be fantastic but it’s not what drives us to compete. We will be happy and proud if we can sail as well as we can every day. It’s an incredibly tough starting field and we are only going to focus on our performance”
But the fighting spirit creates a desire to stay as long as possible in the competition. The key to success lies in getting a good start and then constantly getting a little better for each match.
”We made a similar journey in 2009 when we hadn’t sailed together for a while either. Then we grew into the competition and finally took a silver medal. We have been in situations with a lot of pressure before, we know that you can come back from defeats and we are going to bring that attitude with us.”
Sailing the finals is just one of many great memories from Lysekil Women’s Match.
”Lysekil is always a special regatta. It’s a professionally organised event and has a nice atmosphere in the evenings with social activities with other sailors and sponsors. It’s also a fantastic arena for showing off sailing as a sport. The spectators on the cliffs come close to what is happening on the race course and sailors really feel the pressure from the rocks.”
Credit: Lisa Barryd. Team Marie Björling Duell: Elisabeth Nilsson, Anna Holmdahl White, Marie Björling Duell, Anna Nordlander and Jenny Axhede.
The team; Elisabeth Nilsson, Jenny Axhede, Anna Nordlander and Anna Holmdahl White joined the first WIM Series event in Normandie where they ended up on fifth place. Now they are preparing both on water and on land to be in the best possible form when Lysekil Women’s Match starts on August 5. According to Björling Duell, their strength are their routine and love of match racing, the same factors that gave them a ticket to the World Championship in the first place.
”Match racing is an intensive form of sailing where you need to be in a flow, not thinking about anything else than being in the situation. Many different factors play a part and you have to think tactically, know the rules and on how to trim and get speed in the boat. It’s a magical feeling when you sail at your maximum level as a team.”