Welcome to Women’s Professional Match Racing

Published on May 21st, 2013

When the Women’s Match Race event was added to 2012 Olympics, it quickly led to significant growth of both interest and events for the girls. But now that the event has been removed for the 2016 Games, the recent launch of a new women’s professional match race circuit hopes to keep the ball rolling. Here’s a report from the first event by American Steph Roble’s third place team:

“Bonjour!”… or should we say “Au revoir”! We are happy to be home after a successful, but cold and rainy week in St. Quay, France. Epic Racing finished third place at the St. Quay Grade One women’s match racing regatta (May 15-19), and we are very pleased with our podium finish at the inaugural Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIMRS) event.

As the first time sailing with this crew combination – Steph Roble, Maggie Shea, Janel Zarkowsky, and Meg Six – our ability to come together as a team, sort out communication and nail down boat-handling gave us an early edge on the competition in the round robins and carried us through the petite-finals series.

The conditions in St. Quay changed slightly from day to day but were consistently characterized by strong currents, shifty breeze and varying velocity. The tides in St. Quay, which ranged as much as 30 feet, emptied the half-mile wide basin and left over one hundred moored boats on their keels in the mud. Additionally, the team consumed a years’ worth of baguettes and crepes before heading home.

The regatta organizers removed the hiking straps from the Elliott 6m’s, which used to be a defining characteristic of the boat as they increased the difficulty of boat-handling and physicality of sailing the Elliott 6m’s in general. Our ability to adjust quickly to the hiking-strapless boat handling and best utilize the additional crewmember gave our team an early advantage.

In the field of ten teams, eight skippers were ranked in the top ten and three were 2012 Olympians. The strong competition and full slate of teams are both very promising signs for the WIMR series, which has four more stops- Korea, Denmark, New York, and Sweden-and an overall prize purse of $50,000.00. Great Britain’s Lucy Macgregor finished first place followed by the French Julie Bossard in second.

We went into the event as the 8th ranked team (primarily because Steph hasn’t sailed a women’s match race regatta in over a year). Little did the teams know is that we had some of the best girls in the U.S. on this team and we were hungry to bring home top results for the USA. – Read on

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