Early Lead for USA at Women’s World Match Racing Championship
Published on September 23rd, 2016
Sheboygan, WI (September 23, 2016) – The Buddy Melges Challenge, the 3rd event of the 2016 WIM Series and also the Women’s World Match Racing Championship, finally got underway today. With a dozen flights sailed, Wisconsinite Stephanie Roble has taken the lead on her home waters of Lake Michigan.
“We had a lot of fun and some really close matches today,” notes Roble.
Two days with no racing in Sheboygan, due to fog and very shifty or no wind at all, really put the sailors to the test, wandering around on shore longing for wind and waves. But as the sun rose over Lake Michigan this morning, a stable northerly breeze around 12 – 14 knots filled the racecourse just east of the Sheboygan South Pier.
“That was certainly worth waiting for,” says World Sailing Technical Delegate Alfredo Ricci from Italy.
The race management used the excellent sailing conditions to make up for the lost days, completing as many as a dozen flights of four matches each.
Local hope Stephanie Roble and her Epic Racing crew of Maggie Shea and Janel Zarkowsky mastered the somewhat choppy and lumpy waters in a formidable way, posting a 10 – 1 score to sit alone at the top of the leader board after this first day of racing. The American team were all sunshine but very tired, arriving at the dock after no less than eight hours on the water.
“It was a lot of fun in good conditions out there, and I’m really happy with how our day went,” reports Roble. “I think we were getting off the line pretty well. Our boat handling was definitely an advantage for us. It was hard going in all of the chop, but the girls kept the boat rolling and let me concentrate on driving.”
World #3 Anne-Claire Le Berre was the only one to beat Roble. The French skipper finished last year with a win in the Busan event, for a podium position on the 2015 WIM Series. After a maternity leave during the start of this season, she’s now back in full swing. With her 8 – 2 score so far in the round-robin stage, she’s sharing third place in the regatta with Renée Groeneveld, The Netherlands.
“It was a long day on the water and I’m happy we lost just two matches, as we were quite exhausted at the end,” Le Berre sighs, explaining what cost them the two matches. “Boathandling, tactics and speed worked pretty well on board, but as we haven’t sailed very much this year, we lose matches when we’re making too many mistakes.”
Anna Östling of Sweden may be World #1, but on Lake Michigan she learned that Roble was the superior skipper…at least in their two Friday fights.
“In the first match we had Stephanie until the last downwind, where she surfed away on a big wave that we missed,” explained Östling. “And when we met her again in the afternoon, we hadn’t adjusted the trim on our boat for the slightly lighter winds, so she slipped away again.”
The double round-robin will be concluded Saturday and followed by quarterfinals, with the semi finals and the final to be decided on Sunday.
1. Stephanie, Roble, USA, 10 – 1
2. Anna Östling, SWE, 9 – 2
3. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 8 – 2
3. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 8 – 2
5. Samantha Norman, NZL, 4 – 6
6. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 4 – 7
7. Nicole Breault, USA, 3 – 8
8. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 2 – 9
9. Elizabeth Shaw, CAN, 0 – 11
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