Roble finds form at Women’s Match Racing Worlds

Published on July 10th, 2015

Middelfart, Denmark (July 10, 2015) – The round-robin stage of the 2015 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship, the first event on the 2015 WIM Series, concluded Friday evening. French Anne-Claire Le Berre mastered the continuing heavy conditions impressively, finishing the stage on 13 wins and just two losses.

“We raced some difficult matches at the end, when we met the highest ranked sailors, but also the few matches we lost were very close,” Le Berre comments. “My team did a very good job throughout the round-robin, and we’re really looking forward to the continuation of the regatta.”

Westerly winds around 25 knots put the competitors to the test when they went out on the water again Friday morning, after the long Thursday postponement. Once again the cheering crowds, following the thrilling racing from the Middelfart harbour pier, could see the world’s foremost match racing women perform their breath-taking manoeuvres. Exciting tacking duels, fast spinnaker sailing, really tight mark roundings and a few broaches and Chinese gybes entertained the spectators ashore.

Anne-Claire Le Berre did indeed win the round-robin stage, but lost her match against Friday’s unquestionable queen Stephanie Roble of the USA. Roble had a clean sweep, winning seven straight matches for second place in the round-robin on a 12 – 3 score.

“It was an awesome day of racing, so fun,” notes Roble. “We had a lot of races and everything fell into place. My team was just awesome.”

Former World #1 and 2014 World Championship silver medallist, home sailor Camilla Ulrikkeholm, wasn’t as satisfied with her round-robin performance, finishing 7th on a 9 – 6 record.

“We just never found the right speed and didn’t feel very well in the boat. After many broaches and Chinese gybes we got a bit shaky,” she admits, nevertheless looking forward to the weekend, when the meteorologists have promised lighter wind conditions. “We can really use a change, and hopefully lighter weather will help.”

Compatriot Lotte Meldgaard defended the Danish colours better, finishing 12 – 3 on third place in the round-robin, despite a nasty accident in which her crew Josephine Nissen got hit by the main sheet in a gybe, hurt her back and had to go to hospital. A replacement crew took her place for the remaining races of the day, but the good news is that Nissen will be back in the boat for Saturday.

“All in all it was a good day, with some nice races when the wind dropped a little at the end,” Meldgaard wishes. “For the weekend we’d like to have really light winds.”

The racing in Middelfart continues Saturday with the quarterfinal knockouts, while Sunday will see the semis and the final to crown the World Champions.

Round Robin Standings
1. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 13 – 2
2. Stephanie Roble, USA, 12 – 3
3. Lotte Meldgaard, DEN, 12 – 3
4. Katie Spithill, AUS, 12 – 3
5. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 11 – 4
6. Anna Östling, SWE, 11 – 4
7. Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN, 9 – 6
8. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED, 7 – 8
9. Milly Bennett, AUS, 6 – 9
10. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 6 – 9
11. Louise Christensen, DEN, 5 – 10
12. Diana Kissane, IRL, 4 – 11
13. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 4 – 11
14. Johanna Larsson, SWE, 4 – 11
15. Nina Ramm-Schmidt, FIN, 2 – 13
16. Sanna Häger, SWE, 2 – 13

WIM SeriesEvent websiteWorlds standings

Report by Joakim Hermansson

Previous winners of the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship
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):

Stephanie ROBLE, USA, 3
Anne-Claire LE BERRE, FRA, 4
Caroline SYLVAN, SWE, 6
Pauline COURTOIS, FRA, 8
Johanna LARSSON, SWE, 13
Sanna HÄGER, SWE, 17
Diana KISSANE, IRL, 60

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 28 – 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.

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