Stephanie Roble: Planning for an Epic season
Published on June 14th, 2015
The Women’s International Match Racing (WIM) Series, organized by the Women’s International Match Racing Association, begins next month with the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Middelfart, Denmark.
With individual event and an overall prize purse on the line, the world’s leading women match racing sailors will be traveling to Denmark, Sweden, USA, and Korea to test skills and seek reward.
US Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Stephanie Roble, ranked third in the world and finishing fourth in the 2014 series, returns with her Epic Racing team to compete for the title. Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck catches ups with Stephanie for an update…
Any changes to the format in 2015?
The WIM Series was launched two years ago, and this will be Epic Racing’s third year on the WIM Series. The format is four events, which is one less event than last year, which I think is a positive change and will hopefully get more teams to complete the whole Series. The biggest change is that we no longer have a discard event; each event counts toward the overall WIM Series title. So that will certainly make things more interesting!
What does it take to compete at the WIM Series?
For us, the most important thing is to have a consistent, high level crew and obviously the funds to make the event happen. So we have done a lot of planning to find teammates that can make all or most of the events. The hardest and coolest thing about the WIM Series is that each venue has a different boat so it is most important to be eager to learn and take solid notes on boats that you will sail again on the Series in future years. It is also very unique because it provides opportunities for women to dive into professional sailing.
Was it an easy decision to return this season?
I absolutely love match racing and as a pro sailor I believe it is important to get my own time on the helm. So yes, definitely an easy decision to come back. Also, I love my team; the girls work super hard on and off the water to make all of this happen. They also make it really fun!
But it isn’t easy as the biggest obstacle is raising the necessary funding for flights, food, housing, and training. It isn’t a huge budget ($40K) but since there isn’t enough prize money at this stage to pay for everything, we need to solicit donations.
How do you hope to improve on your 2014 performance?
The biggest change is having a consistent crew and making a team that can put us at the weight limit. Last year, we were a bit light in general and had a lot of shuffling around. We believe being heavier and more stable will be a huge gain in our performance. We also are adding in a ton of training days against solid teams like Chris Poole, Taylor Canfield and Don Wilson. Huge thanks to Chicago Match Race Center for making this happen!
What advice would you offer women in North America that have an interest in match racing?
Match racing is a super accessible aspect of the sport. There are tons of clinics around the US between organizations like Oakcliff Sailing, CMRC & St Francis Yacht Club. North U also runs clinics, so if you are interested in growing match racing in your area, they can easily put on a clinic. There are also a growing number of regional/weekend events throughout the US, so it is really easy to get involved.
And if you don’t have a crew, most organizations are really helpful in getting you set up with a team. Whether you want to crew or skipper, just email some of the major match racing organizations and I’m sure all of them would love to help you out. The US Sailing Match Racing website is also a great resource for getting into match racing.
More: Stephanie is Midwest girl, and was profiled recently in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
2015 WIM Series events (date, event name, venue):
* July 8-12, 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 27-November 1, Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, Busan, Korea.
Background: The 2015 Women’s International Match Racing Series is in its third season, providing a four-event professional sailing circuit organized by the Women’s International Match Racing Association for the world’s leading women match racing sailors. An overall prize purse of 40 000 USD will be distributed by the WIM Series at the final event in addition to prize money at each of the four events. Series website: http://www.wimseries.com