Warm and sunny conditions with a strong southerly breeze today welcomed the 81 sailors participating in the 2015 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship, the first event out of four on the 2015 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series), to Middelfart, Denmark. The rain waited politely until the last practise session in Match Racing Denmark’s fleet of Match 28 boats was over:
“It takes a while to learn a new boat, but we’ve also had some practise on our home waters and feel quite confident going into this event,” says World # 1 and defending World Champion Anna Östling.
During Tuesday’s practise session in Middelfart the Swedish crew of Team Anna had a few great fights against last year’s World Championship bronze medallist and WIM Series # 4, American Stephanie Roble of Epic Racing:
“It’s a shifty and tricky venue and we were happy to be controlling the Swedes a lot of the time. I like the boats a lot, they spin quickly and it’s good to be five on board,” Roble comments.
By Sunday we’ll not only know which of the top ranked sailors has captured the World Championship title, but also who gained points on this first event out of four on the 2015 WIM Series. The first two years of the WIM Series saw 39 professional teams from 19 countries competing for gold and glory. Entering the third season, more than 20 teams have already committed:
“We are really excited to get the WIM Series started for 2015 and cannot think of a better venue to kick off the new year. Match Racing Denmark is a fantastic organization that is professionally run and the venue is beautiful. With 9 of the top 10 in the world competing, the competition this week will be fierce,” says WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis.
The ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship is an annual event that was first held in Genoa, Italy, in 1999, after a successful event was held as part of the 1998 ISAF Sailing World Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The winner in Dubai, American Betsy Alison, had to settle for second place in 1999, with Dorte O Jensen of Denmark scoring her first of three consecutive World titles. In 2006 Dorte O Jensen won again, and is with her four titles the most victorious ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship skipper ever.
World # 2 and defending WIM Series Champion, local hope Camilla Ulrikkeholm, finished on second place last year in Cork, and is certainly aiming to give the rest of the participating girls a fight for the gold medal this year. One of her opponents will be Klaartje Zuiderbaan of The Netherlands, who made her ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship debut already in the 1999 edition.
”We’re thrilled to be back in Middelfart and to be working with Match Racing Denmark again. They have an incredibly professional operation and I know it will be a good event following the successful ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final that was run here in 2013. It’s also great to have a full set of 16 teams – we are really pleased that 14 of the top 20 skippers are competing and I’m looking forward to some close and exciting racing over the next five days,” ISAF Competitions Manager Jon Napier concludes.
Previous winners of the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship (year, skipper, nationality, event place):
(1998 Betsy Alison, USA, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
1999 Dorte O Jensen, DEN, Genoa, Italy
2000 Dorte O Jensen, DEN, Florida, USA
2001 Dorte O Jensen, DEN, Lake Ledro, Italy
2002 Liz Baylis, USA, Calpe, Spain
2003 Malin Millbourn, SWE, Sundsvall, Sweden
2004 Sally Barkow, USA, Annapolis, USA
2005 Sally Barkow, USA, Bermuda
2006 Dorte O Jensen, DEN, Copenhagen, Denmark
2007 Claire Leroy, FRA, St Quay, France
2008 Claire Leroy, FRA, Auckland, New Zealand
2009 Nicky Souter, AUS, Lysekil, Sweden
2010 Lucy Macgregor, GBR, Newport, USA
2011 Anna Tunnicliffe, USA, Perth, Australia
2012 Silja Lehtinen, FIN, Långedrag, Sweden
2013 Tamara Echegoyen, ESP, Busan, Korea
2014 Anna Östling, SWE, Cork, Ireland
2015 ??? Middelfart, Denmark
2015 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship teams (skipper, country, ISAF World Ranking):
Anna ÖSTLING, SWE, 1
Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM, DEN, 2
Stephanie ROBLE, USA, 3
Anne-Claire LE BERRE, FRA, 4
Lotte MELDGAARD, DEN, 5
Caroline SYLVAN, SWE, 6
Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN, NED, 7
Pauline COURTOIS, FRA, 8
Milly BENNETT, AUS, 9
Johanna LARSSON, SWE, 13
Nina RAMM-SCHMIDT, FIN, 14
Katie SPITHILL, AUS, 16
Sanna HÄGER, SWE, 17
Rikst DIJKSTRA, NED, 18
Diana KISSANE, IRL, 60
Louise CHRISTENSEN, DEN, 66
2015 WIM Series events (date, event name, venue):
* June 3 – 8, ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship, Middelfart, Denmark.
* August 3 – 8, Lysekil Women's Match, Lysekil, Sweden.
* September 16 – 20, Buddy Melges Challenge, Sheboygan, USA.
* October 28 – November 1, Busan Cup Women's International Match Race, Busan, Korea.