Plan in Place for Women’s International Match Racing Series
Published on April 20th, 2016
The 2016 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) will premiere its fourth season with a four-event schedule that takes teams to Europe, Asia, and North America.
The season gets underway at Nyländska Jaktklubben in Helsinki, Finland, which will be hosting their first WIM Series event ever, under the bright Midnight Sun at the end of June. “We are proud of our match racing heritage, having brought this exciting sailing discipline to Finland in the 1990’s,” ays Peik Åström, Center Manager of the NJK Sailing Center. “Now we are delighted to welcome the world’s foremost female teams to our home waters.”
Nyländska Jaktklubben hosted the Youth Match Racing Worlds in 2014, as well as the European Championship for women’s match racing in 2011. “Both events received rave reviews from everyone, so we’re very excited to be going to Helsinki with the WIM Series,” says Liz Baylis, WIM Series Manager.
The WIM Series beginning in Finland will be followed by three familiar events, each with its own characteristics, in August, September and October.
Lysekil Women’s Match in Sweden will be celebrating its 12th anniversary, and will once again be a fantastic festival of sailing and entertainment – with racing close to shore during the day and concerts in the park at night.
The Women’s Match Racing World Championship will be held in Sheboygan, USA. Sheboygan is a regular stop for the WIM Series, but elevating the event to World Championship brings even more prestige and excitement.
The Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race in Busan, South Korea, is always exciting with a great mix of cultural diversity, stunning scenery, incredible hospitality and challenging conditions, while competing for the USD 100 000 prize purse.
The possibility of a fifth event may conclude the season with an event in Southern Europe, but the details are yet to be finalised.
Match racing is very much a team sport, and this year the WIM Series will be emphasizing the teams and not just the skippers. Some flexibility has been added to the Series rules, to allow a team to compete for the USD 50,000 prize pool while having two skippers.
“Our skippers come from a mix of different backgrounds, ranging from students to professional sailors, to engineers and medical professionals,” Liz Baylis explains. “To balance those jobs with sailing and raising families, we recognize that women sailors need some flexibility to juggle it all.”
The defending WIM Series champions of American Epic Racing may be especially pleased with the rule change. Despite winning last year they missed their share of the prize purse, as regular skipper Stephanie Roble had another appointment when the final WIM Series event was raced.
“This change is really awesome for our team,” Roble comments. “I believe we have the best team all around and therefore no matter who is driving, we will be at the top of the game. As of right now, we are planning to have representation at all the events.”
Danish World #1 skipper Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby finished runner-up in the 2015 WIM Series, and will this year be back to fight for the WIM Series title and the coveted Terry J Kohler Perpetual Trophy. “In a female sport, where women participate in their adult life with work and family to fit in, I think it’s very important to be able to adapt the sport to have more sailors to take part in the events,” she states.
All the other top teams from last year are also coming back to the WIM Series, with the addition of some new youngsters too. Since the inaugural season in 2013, the WIM Series have seen half a dozen Volvo Ocean Race sailors, 26 Olympic sailors (including the 2012 Women’s Match Racing Gold Medallists), multiple National Champions and one World Sailor of the Year. To this date, sailors from 23 nations have participated in the WIM Series. “We’re here to make the best Series for the sailors, for the sponsors and for the event organizers,” Liz Baylis concludes.
2016 WIM Series events
* June 27-July 1, Helsinki Women’s Match, Helsinki, Finland, J/80
* August 8-13, Lysekil Women’s Match, Lysekil, Sweden, DS 37
* September 20-25, Women’s Match Racing World Championship & Buddy Melges Challenge, Sheboygan, USA, Elliott 6m
* October 25-29, Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, Busan, South Korea, K30
Background: The Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) is the first and only professional sailing series for women, hosted by the Women’s International Match Racing Association and joined by the world’s leading women match racing sailors. An overall prize purse of 50,000 USD will be distributed by the WIM Series, in addition to the prize money at each of the events included in the 2016 WIM Series.