Semi-Finalists set for Women’s Match Racing Worlds

Published on July 11th, 2015

Middelfart, Denmark (July 11, 2015) – In the 2015 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship, the first event on the 2015 WIM Series, the semi finalists were decided in Saturday’s quarterfinals. The toughest races were sailed between World #1 and reigning World Champion Anna Östling of Sweden, and her Danish World #2 rival Camilla Ulrikkeholm. The Dane won only after five exciting matches, all with the intensity of a Championship final.

“Anna and her crew definitely gave us a few more grey hairs, just as they always do,” Östling sighs, obviously very disappointed. “We didn’t expect to meet them already in the quarters, but the picking turned out that way,” an exhausted but very happy Ulrikkeholm analyses. I think today’s racing was world class, and it’s really frustrating not to be sailing for the medals.”

The strong westerly breeze from the round-robin stage of the 2015 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship blew away Friday night, leaving a flat calm Middelfart bay with just patches of wind visible. Saturday morning a very light and quite shifty southerly breeze of just a few knots filled in, as the quarterfinal sailors gathered for briefing and picking of opponents.

Due to winning the round-robin, Anne-Claire Le Berre of France had the favour of choosing first, picking Klaartje Zuiderbaan from The Netherlands. American Stephanie Roble then chose to race Swede Caroline Sylvan, before home sailor Lotte Meldgaard selected Australian Katie Spithill as her opponent. These choices left World #1 Anna Östling and World #2 Camilla Ulrikkeholm racing each other, an outcome that before the regatta would have been somewhat unexpected.

“We would never have chosen each other, that’s for sure,” the Scandinavians agreed.

Zuiderbaan put up a great fight against Le Berre, breaking back in the second match, before the French went through to 3 – 1, securing their slot in the semis.

“It’s a great advantage being able to choose your opponent, even if all here are good sailors and choices hence are difficult,” Le Berre says. “That’s why we really wanted to win the round-robin. When entering a new stage of a regatta it’s always a little worrying, but I’m confident with my team, and they didn’t let me down today either. Some matches were really close, and I can feel that we’re getting better for every race” she continues.

Roble and Meldgaard won their respective quarterfinals 3 – 0, but the racing was a lot tougher than the results may show. Sylvan and Spithill didn’t go away easily, fighting hard to the bitter end.

“Caroline certainly kept the pressure on us, but my team did a good job with both tactics and speed, Roble comments. “We felt really fast and focused, and we’re ready to race anyone tomorrow.”

“We were a little late in one of the pre-starts, but made no mistakes other than that,” Meldgaard states. “The light conditions are perfect for us, and we’re looking very much forward to Sunday’s sailing.”

Anne-Claire Le Berre will pick her semi final opponent at the Sunday morning briefing. The racing in Middelfart then concludes Sunday with the semis and the final to crown the World Champions.

Quarterfinal results
Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA – Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED 3 – 1
Stephanie Roble, USA – Caroline Sylvan, SWE 3 – 0
Lotte Meldgaard, DEN – Katie Spithill, AUS 3 – 0
Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN – Anna Östling, SWE 3 – 2

Anne-Claire Le Berre, Stephanie Roble, Lotte Meldgaard and Camilla Ulrikkeholm will sail the semi finals on Sunday morning.

Results 5th to 8th place:

5. Anna Östling, SWE
6. Katie Spithill, AUS
7. Caroline Sylvan, SWE
8. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED

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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