Anna Ostling wins Oakcliff International
Published on September 4th, 2019
Oyster Bay, NY (September 4, 2019) – After three days of racing in Swedish Match 40s at the Oakcliff International, which is the third stop of the Grand Slam series, Anna Ostling Kjellberg and her all-women’s WINGS Racing Team from Sweden came out on top, going two-straight in the finals against defending champion Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZE).
The Oakcliff International match racers started the day in partly cloudy skies, 8-10 knots of breeze. Racing got underway to complete the second Round Robin. In Round Robin #2, Flight 6, Dave Perry (starboard entry) started close to windward against Celia Willison after an aggressive pre-start battle. Willison footed off and got her bow out but Perry was still in control because they didn’t have enough separation to tack.
Perry sailed them way past the left corner and beyond layline. Finally he tacked and then led on a close reach to the weather mark with a boat length lead. Willison found her boat speed and started to close the gap until Perry slammed a tack to starboard and forced her to tack. He tacked back to port, dialed in his boat speed, and took off to round the weather mark two boat lengths ahead.
Perry held his lead but could not extend on the downwind. He rounded the right gate and Willison split. Perry tacked for a loose cover. He made slow steady gains to round the weather mark well ahead. He sailed a comfortable downwind leg and took the win. Elswhere, Chris Poole beat Ethan Prieto Low.
Kim Kling (port entry) had a big dial down right after the entry against Nick Egnot-Johnson. He managed to cross to leeward and led into the playground. He got enough of a lead to gybe back and attack on starboard. EJ gybed with him and got to leeward.
He rounded Kling up for a dial up on their way back to the line. They both started on port with EJ holding a windward lane with plenty of separation. They tacked together to starboard. Kling tacked back and EJ covered. EJ sails a faster upwind leg and rounded the weather mark with a three boat length lead. He extended on the downwind and rounded the leeward gate four ahead. He stayed fast and left no opportunity for Kling to catch up. Egnot-Johnson won.
Anna Ostling Kjellberg (port entry) had a dial up after their entry against Jordan Stevenson. Ostling pushed out into the playground and followed back keeping a free bow. She had control until Stevenson pulled ahead and managed to tack over to port and cross the line.
Ostling tacked with him but decided to tack away to clear her air and go to the left side of the course. Stevenson approached the weather mark on starboard and crossed over top of Ostling. He tacked on lay to the mark. Ostling went a boat length farther and tacked to port to approach the mark on a slightly higher line. Stevenson pinched to make the mark but could not quite get above it. He had to throw two more tacks which allowed Ostling to cruise by and round in first place.
Stevenson managed to catch up and pass Ostling but intense, last-minute douses on both boats level the playing field and they both rounded the left gate dead even. They tacked over to starboard with Ostling in the leeward lane. Stevenson tacked away when they reached the middle of the course. Ostling let him go and tacked about a minute later.
They met again in the middle and Ostling had to duck but tacked immediately. As she did Stevenson tacked back to port. They both tacked back and converged again with Stevenson on starboard but this time Ostling made the cross and tacked on top of Stevenson. Their next tack was to layline and Ostling led around the weather mark by two boat lengths. She had a quick set and found a nice deep puff while Stevenson’s crew struggled to find their low mode. She extended to a four boat length lead. Stevenson held pace but could not catch up and Ostling won.
In the First-To-Two Semi-Finals, Nick Egnot Johnson raced Jordan Stevenson while Chris Poole met Anna Ostling Kjellberg in 6-8 knots gusting to 10 knots of wind and cloudy skies.
Nick Egnot Johnson started to leeward with plenty of speed against Jordan Stevenson. Stevenson accelerated and blocked EJ from tacking. They banged the left corner and tacked on lay line for the weather mark. Stevenson rounded with EJ hot on his heels.
Stevenson gybed and started a luffing battle with EJ but didn’t get too aggressive. EJ regained control and pulled ahead of Stevenson. He gybed and started to luff up Stevenson but they entered the 2 boat length zone around the gate so he fell off. They both had clean, but rushed, douses. EJ went right and Stevenson went left.
When they met in the middle, EJ could not clear Stevenson so he tacked to a lee bow. After they rounded the weather mark, Stevenson trapped EJ in downwind jail. He sailed him to China on the left side of the course. EJ gained speed and extended ahead.
It looked like they had the lead they needed to make the gybe to port and cross. They went for it. It was close. Stevenson flagged them but the umpires green flag it. Both boats doused their kites and went back to jibs to reach back to the finish line. EJ led and Stevenson can’t catch up. Egnot-Johnson took the first win of the first-to-two semi-finals.
Anna Ostling Kjellberg started to windward with a gap against Chris Poole. Poole pulled ahead and tacked onto port. He cleared her and tacked back on her line. She tried to pinch above him but got too slow and tacked away. Poole covered. Ostling rounded the mark with Poole right on her stern.
They gybed and Ostling put Poole into downwind jail. Poole tried to gybe to port and cross her bow but could not make it and gybed back to starboard. Ostling doused and gybed to head to the gate under jib. Poole was quick to douse his kite as well and accelerate. He followed her around the right gate less than a boat length behind. Chris Poole faked a tack.
Ostling took the bait and tacked to Starboard while Poole continued on Port. Unfortunately the middle of the course paid off for Ostling more than the right did for Poole and she crossed him with a three-boat length lead after they tacked back. She added another boat length to her lead by the time she rounded the weather mark and sailed a clean downwind leg to lock down the win.
Continuing the First-To-Two Semi-Finals: Nick Egnot Johnson (1 win) vs Jordan Stevenson while Chris Poole met Anna Ostling Kjellberg (1 win), Jordan Stevenson led Nick Egnot Johnson around the weather mark by less than a boat length. He gybed on lay for the middle of the gate.
EJ gybed with him and it almost looked like he was going to get luffed up but Stevenson was too far forward and crossed in front. Stevenson gybed again and went for the right gate while EJ split. Stevenson went way left and EJ worked his way up the middle of the course. The left didn’t pay off for Stevenson. EJ took the lead and sailed away clear for the win. Egnot Johnson advanced two-straight to the finals.
Chris Poole got a penalty after an aggressive dog fight in the pre-start at the line just before the gun. Ostling accelerated off the line while Poole took a moment to find his wheels. When he finally did he dialed in a fast upwind mode to take back some gains. He tacked to port and sailed below Ostling.
He continued to make gains upwind and downwind until the leeward gate where they split dead even; but Poole still had a penalty to clear. Poole went around the right gate so Ostling tacked to cover. When Poole came back on port he went below Ostling and she tacked on top of him. Poole tacked away to clear his air. He sailed to lay and tacked back.
Ostling entered the two-boat length zone around the weather mark on starboard and tacked to port. She rounded the mark and had a clean set. Four boat lengths later, Poole rounded but he could not make up the deficit. Ostling advanced two-straight to the finals in which she would face the winner of last year’s Oakcliff International, Nick Egnot Johnson.
With 1 win in the First-To-Two Petit Finals: Jordan Stevenson would meet Chris Poole for the next race. The race started in 10 knots gusting 12, mostly cloudy skies. Poole got the windward cross on Jordan Stevenson in his pre-start entry. He led out into the playground but tacked early and fell off to head toward the committee boat.
He dove deep and Stevenson followed him down, maintaining leeward control. Poole pulled a Houdini and started a dial up. Stevenson gets steel balls falling off to starboard and Poole responded by tacking and starting a circling battle. At a minute they break it up and headed towards the line.
Stevenson pushed and they both arrived early. They fell off and ducked below the line. When they came up and started Poole was close to leeward with his bow out. Stevenson tacked off and Poole let him go. They had a big split and when they converged in the middle, up near the weather mark they were neck and neck.
Poole tacked to a lee bow and rounded the mark close behind Stevenson. Poole tacked right after following Stevenson around the right gate. Stevenson let him go for a minute before tacking back. He crossed Poole with a comfortable margin. He extended the gap through the rounding and sailed a clean downwind leg. Jordan Stevenson won the race and secured the last spot on the podium.
The second race in the First-To-Two Finals, Anna Ostling Kjellberg went in with 1 win over Nick Egnot Johnson. At a minute to the start, Nick Egnot Johnson pushed Anna Ostling Kjellberg to the line. She dipped low to take the leeward lane but swung back with an aggressive tack to port in front of EJ. She got a penalty for it but EJ was forced over the line early.
He bore down too fast and made boat contact with Ostling, earning a penalty of his own, and cancelling hers. By the time he started the race she was four boat lengths ahead.
In a similar fashion to their previous race, she made slow steady gains and sailed the race course untouched. Anna Ostling Kjellberg is the winner of the Oakcliff International, third stop of the Grand Slam Series.
“I knew that if Anna [Ostling Kjellberg] could win the start, the middle of the boat could keep us fast, and I could figure out where to go,” said Ostling Kjellberg’s tactician and main trimmer, Anna Holmdal. “So that’s what we did and if our Plan A didn’t work out, we went to Plan B. The crew did an amazing job of adapting to different situations and executing the crew work perfectly.”
Ostling Kjellberg replied, “Anna [Holmdal] and I had great, direct communication. We haven’t sailed together as long as some of my other crew but we just clicked. She told me what to do and I did it.”
The President of the Women’s International Match Racing Association, Liz Baylis, was excited to note that Anna and her all women’s team won and that there were more women than men in the finals. “Collectively our efforts are working!” she said.
Jordan Stevenson (NZE) had a fierce battle with Chris Poole (USA) in the petit finals. This wasn’t the first time this year that these two teams have sailed against each other in a knockout round of a Grand Slam regatta. In the first stop of the series, the Chicago Match Cup, Poole bested Stevenson in the finals to take 1st.
Stevenson came back swinging in the finals of the Detroit Cup where he landed at the top of the podium after again battling Poole. Today at the International it was Stevenson who came out ahead going two-straight in the first-to-two petit finals, and earning the final place on the podium.
Both Poole and Stevenson are now in close contention to win the entire series. It all comes down to the fourth and final stop of the Grand Slam, the 2019 Thompson Cup, which will also be sailed in Oakcliff’s Match 40s but will be hosted by Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, September 6-9.
The winner of the series earns an invitation to the Congressional Cup, the “granddaddy of modern match racing,” which will take place next year in Long Beach, California on April 28 – May 3.
Nick Egnot-Johnson, New Zealand
Kim Kling, Sweden
Anna Ostling Kjellberg, Sweden
Dave Perry, USA
Chris Poole, USA
Ethan Prieto-Low, Australia
Jordan Stevenson, New Zealand
Matt Whitfield, Great Britain
Celia Willison, New Zealand
The Grand Slam Series is a series of four Grade 2 match racing events in the USA in which the overall winner receives an invitation to the 2020 Congressional Cup, the 56th edition of this Grade One match race regatta held in Long Beach, CA. For Notice of Race, click here.