Ian Williams and Anna Östling have both been a part of elite match racing for over a decade. Now they are entering the inaugural edition of Midsummer Match Cup, the first international match racing event only for mixed teams.
Anna Östling is one of the biggest names in Swedish sailing and has led her team to two Women’s World Championship victories, 2014 and in 2016. This year she has a chance at going for the hat-trick, as she tries to win a third gold in the World Championship sailed in Lysekil, but she is also looking forward to the new concept of racing introduced in Midsummer Match Cup: where the rules say that all teams must be mixed and have at least two women and two men. “Of course we want to be there at the start of this new event and it will be yet another world class match racing event in Sweden”, says Östling.
She has created a new team by mixing crewmembers with Nicklas Dackhammar, another Swedish skipper in the line-up. Anna Östling will be sailing with Annika Carlunger, a team regular, as well as Fredrik Aurell and Pontus Dackhammar who are usually a part of Nicklas Dackhammar’s team.
“Mixed teams create a new dimension, it’s inspiring and a possibility to evolve in our sailing in new ways. We are looking forward to a high level of competition and we are going to have to be focused from the first start to have a chance at competing for the title at the end of the week”.
British skipper Ian Williams has been a dominant force on the World Match Racing Tour for many years and has won six World Championship titles. He is aiming at adding another gold to that list in the WMRT final in Marstrand this summer, but before that he is joining the line-up for Midsummer Match Cup with a new team.
”Midsummer Match Cup sounds like it will be a top quality regatta. I think it will be interesting with the mixed teams. Almost all the teams will be new as a result of it, so we will all be working out how to make the teams gel best, and how to allocate the different resources on board”, says Williams.
”I am planning to sail with Sara Stone, Hannah Diamond and Gerry Mitchell. Having sailed with so many crews over the years, I have a long list of people that I have sailed with and know what they can do. I have much more limited experience of Sara and Hannah, so getting the balance right between the roles on board will be much more difficult. I think we have an equal chance to every other team! That is the great thing about match racing – no team arrives with an equipment advantage so all have equal chance – it just comes down to who sails the best.”
Previously, nine teams in the line-up for Midsummer Match Cup have need presented, and they are all led by top ranked skippers. Among them are the Swedish teams led by Johanna Bergqvist, Johnie Berntsson, Måns Holmberg and Nicklas Dackhammar. Pauline Courtois (FRA) is the highest ranked female skipper in the world and winner of last year’s WIM Series. Eric Monnin (SUI) the number two on the men’s raking behind Ian Williams. Maxine Mesnil (FRA) and Will Boulden (AUS) ranked fifth and ninth respectively and Chris Poole (USA), ranked 13th. The three remaining skippers and teams in the line-up will be presented shortly.
Midsummer Match Cup is sailed June 25-29 in Skärhamn, Sweden with the boat type Fareast 28R. The regatta starts with a full round robin and ends with a final on Saturday June 29th.