Windless at Women’s Match Racing Worlds
Published on September 21st, 2016
Sheboygan, WI (September 21, 2016) – “If you don’t like the weather in Sheboygan, just wait 15 minutes”. The local proverb has probably never been more appropriate than during the opening day of the Women’s Match Racing World Championship. Result: No racing at all.
“We started two matches, but the breeze didn’t last more than 15 minutes at a time,” comments Principal Race Officer Rich Reichelsdorfer.
A warm front with strong winds, thunder, and heavy rain passed Sheboygan early this morning, leaving behind not only very unstable conditions, but also occasional fog. The very challenging weather conditions really put the regatta organizers to the test.
After an hour’s postponement in the foggy morning, the sailors were sent out on Lake Michigan, just to learn that wind shifts of 90 – 180 degrees made it impossible for the race management to set a proper course. A few matches got into starting sequence, but none could be sailed all the way to the finish. Sailors were sent ashore again to wait, and at 15.00 all racing was cancelled for the day.
“We’re expecting a new front within just a few hours, so it’s better to get all set before that front arrives,” Reichelsdorfer explained.
For Samantha Norman from New Zealand, the difficult weather in Sheboygan was no surprise. The Women’s Match Racing Worlds is utilizing the regularly scheduled Buddy Melges Challenge, an event that Norman won in 2009 during its inaugural edition, and then finished runner-up behind Australian Nicky Souter the year after that.
“I think it was pretty similar conditions the last time we were here,” remarked Norman. “Nice and foggy with shifty winds and big waves. We haven’t matched up against these girls for a number of years now, so we’ll just do our best out there and we’ll see what happens.”
Given the circumstances, the double round-robin will now have to begin Thursday instead, followed by quarterfinals, and then the semis and the final matches over the weekend. There are no plans yet to change the event format. “We’re still early in a five-day regatta, so we’ll just wait and see,” Reichelsdorfer concludes.
Nine teams are representing from six countries, with Nicole Breault (USA), Stephanie Roble (USA), and Elizabeth Shaw (CAN) representing North America.
The Women’s Match Racing World Championship is the third event of the 5-event Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series), using the annually scheduled Buddy Melges Challenge on September 21-25. Racing is held in Elliott 6Ms on Lake Michigan.
About the WIM Series
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. Match racing is sailed in two identical boats around a short course, providing fast action close to the crowds on shore. The intense racing is just as exciting for the spectators as it is strategically, tactically and physically challenging for the competing crews.
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 (date, event name, location, boat type):
* June 27-July 1, Helsinki Women’s Match, Helsinki, Finland, J/80.
* August 8-13, Lysekil Women’s Match, Lysekil, Sweden, DS 37.
* September 21-25, 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.
* December 1-4, Carlos Aguilar Match Race, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, IC 24.
Report by Event Media