Katie Spithill and Milly Bennett line up for Women's Match Racing Worlds

During Tuesday’s practise session in Middelfart the Swedish crew of Team Anna had a few great fights against last year’s World Championship bronze medallist and WIM Series # 4, American Stephanie Roble of Epic Racing: “It’s a shifty and tricky venue and we were happy to be controlling the Swedes a lot of the time. I like the boats a lot, they spin quickly and it’s good to be five on board,” Roble comments.

By Sunday we’ll not only know which of the top ranked sailors has captured the World Championship title, but also who gained points on this first event out of four on the 2015 WIM Series. The first two years of the WIM Series saw 39 professional teams from 19 countries competing for gold and glory. Entering the third season, more than 20 teams have already committed: “We are really excited to get the WIM Series started for 2015 and cannot think of a better venue to kick off the new year. Match Racing Denmark is a fantastic organization that is professionally run and the venue is beautiful. With 9 of the top 10 in the world competing, the competition this week will be fierce,” says WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis.

The ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship is an annual event that was first held in Genoa, Italy, in 1999, after a successful event was held as part of the 1998 ISAF Sailing World Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The winner in Dubai, American Betsy Alison, had to settle for second place in 1999, with Dorte O Jensen of Denmark scoring her first of three consecutive World titles. In 2006 Dorte O Jensen won again, and is with her four titles the most victorious ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship skipper ever.

World # 2 and defending WIM Series Champion, local hope Camilla Ulrikkeholm, finished on second place last year in Cork, and is certainly aiming to give the rest of the participating girls a fight for the gold medal this year. One of her opponents will be Klaartje Zuiderbaan of The Netherlands, who made her ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship debut already in the 1999 edition.

”We’re thrilled to be back in Middelfart and to be working with Match Racing Denmark again. They have an incredibly professional operation and I know it will be a good event following the successful ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final that was run here in 2013. It’s also great to have a full set of 16 teams – we are really pleased that 14 of the top 20 skippers are competing and I’m looking forward to some close and exciting racing over the next five days,” ISAF Competitions Manager Jon Napier concludes.

Previous winners of the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship (year, skipper, nationality, event place):
(1998    Betsy Alison, USA, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
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):
Anna öSTLING, SWE, 1
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):
* June 3 – 8, 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.
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