Swedish skipper injured after a spectacular crash in the hunt for gold
July 6, 2023 - Middelfart, Denmark: Already littered with spectacular capsizes and impressive sailing, the 2023 Womens Match Racing World Championship proves that women are not afraid to go full throttle when they fight for the gold medal.
A few days ago, Dutch sailors did a spectacular nose-dive followed by a Chinese gybe. The images of the crash went viral within the sailing community.
Today, Swedish skipper Anna Östling, current number two on the match race world ranking list, is already making headlines after she crashed her boat in an aggressive move in the quarter-final against Meghan Thomson (NZL). A move that didnt go as planned.
- It was blowing a lot on the downwind, and I thought I had enough room to gybe behind Meghan. It was a mistake to gybe, but in the gybe, the tiller extension ended up in the mainsheet, so the boat suddenly spun around, and at that moment, I hurt my knee, tells skipper Anna Östling as she is waiting to be brought to the hospital in Kolding for a checkup by doctors.
She lost control of her boat in the tumble, and she and her crew members tumbled around all over the boat. Meanwhile, Meghan Thomson tried hard to avoid a collision head-on.
- It wasnt by purpose, thats for sure. But the two masts hit in the incident, so we are lucky they didnt break, Anna Östling continues.
The umpires penalized the Swedes with two blue flags, and Anna Östling spun the boat once before they crossed the finish line and started assessing the injury to her knee.
With the help of the organizers, she was taken to shore by a RIB for further examination while her crew was trying to figure out how to get on with the next race and keep fighting for the gold medal.
A few moments later, Anna was lifted back onto a RIB and sailed back out to her crew, where they quickly planned how to sail the next race.
- I didnt think I could sail another race, but I wanted to try, even though I couldnt stand on my leg. But by coincidence, I realized the tiller extension could be used as a kane, and with a lot of adrenaline, we decided to give it a go. Maybe it wasnt good for my knee, but I didnt want to end the championship like that, states Anna.
Moments later, the race committee signaled that the next race was about to begin, and the Swedish team made a quick decision.
- I asked my team if they were fine with me back on the boat. Luckily, they said yes. But they also said: Please, keep it simple! And so we did a lot of running away from trouble in the pre-start of the third and final race in the quarter-final.
And they managed to do this by utilizing their excellent boat speed and not only won the pre-start but also sailed fast around the course to take the win and thereby qualify for the semi-final against Celia Willison.
How she did it is unclear, but the Swedish mother and her crew won the first two races in the semi-final. One more victory against the Kiwi crew Friday morning, and the Swedish team qualifies for the final of the World Championship.
- I was hoping that we wouldnt sail more races today. But we did good and won. Now it is time for me to leave. One of the umpires has kindly offered me a ride to the hospital in Kolding, where the doctors will look closely at my knee, ends Anna Östling, before her teammates help her to a stand and put her into a car waiting to take her to the ER.
The potential last race for the Swedes against Meghan Thomson in the semi-final starts Friday at 10.30. In the other semi-final defending world champion Pauline Courtois (FRA) has won two races over Danish skipper Lea Richter Vogelius and her crew and is on course to qualify for the final.
The current world champion, Pauline Courtois (FRA), continues her impressive winning series, and still hasnt lost a match since a race since the end of May, and she sailed another flawless day again today.
Standings after day three at the world championship:
The 2023 Womens Match Racing World Championship is being held in Middelfart, Denmark, from 4th–7th July. Eleven teams from around the world will be competing in Blu26 class keelboats.
1. Pauline Courtois, Maëlenn Lemaître , Louise Acker, Thea Khelif, Clara Bayol – FRA, World Ranking #1
2. Anna Ӧstling, Anna Holmdahl, Linnéa Wennergren, Annika Carlunger, Jenny Axhede – SWE, World Ranking #2
3. Celia Willison, Ruby Scholten, Charlotte Porter, Serena Woodall, Alison Kent – NZL, World Ranking #4
4. Megan Thomson, Josi Andres, Anna Merchant, Chelsea Rees, Juliet Costanzo – NZL, World Ranking #5
5. Sophie Otter, Hebe Hemming, Hatty Ward, Jemima Lawson, Alice Bradford – GBR, World Ranking #6
6. Lea Richter Vogelius, Joan Wester Hansen, Louise Ulrikkeholm Bredvig, Sille Christensen, Josefine Boel Rasmussen – DEN, World Ranking #7
7. Kenza Coutard, Lucie Gout, Enza Geslin-Grimaud, Victoire Lerat, Sophonie Affagard – FRA, World Ranking #15
8. Octavia Owen, Abbie Sanders, Kate MacAdorey, Jodie Martin, Yasmine Sfaxi – GBR, World Ranking #20
9. Louise Kristine Olesen, Nora Berg, Mille Brandt Jensen, Line Mřrkebjerg, Sara Keir Wright – DEN, World Ranking #21
10. Kristine Marie Mauritzen , Helena Gustavs Formgren, Pernilla Lindnér , Christina Andersen , Emilie Nordby Lauritzen – DEN, World Ranking #22
11. Julia Aartsen, Eva Asbeek Brusse, Nerine Usman, Ismene Usman, Svea Karsenbarg – NED, World Ranking #27
See all of the results updated live here
For information on the 2023 Womens Match Racing World Championship https://gosail.dk/womens-match-racing-world-championship-2023/
See the photo gallery on Flickr:
For specific information about the event, please contact:
Sřren Laugesen - Event Chairman
GoSail - Middelfart, Denmark
Mobile/WhatsApp: +45 26 49 79 13
Mick Anderson - Event Press Officer
Mobile/WhatsApp: +45 27 11 44 50