Next week will see the Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) midway event, the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA.
With a line-up of nine teams from six countries, the event also holds World Sailing status as the 2016 Women’s World Match Racing Championship. Swedish World number one Anna Östling sits at the top of the WIM Series leaderboard, after two back-to-back victories in the previous events in Helsinki, Finland and Lysekil, Sweden:
“We’re looking forward to a good battle” says Östling, who will race in Sheboygan with her crew of twin sisters Annie and Linnea Wennergren.
Anna Östling’s lead over WIM Series 2016 runner-up and WIM Series 2014 overall winner, Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, currently equals to a dozen points. As the Danish skipper will not come to the Buddy Melges Challenge this year, it’s a golden opportunity for Östling & Co. to further stretch their lead. Quite soon Ulrikkeholm Klinkby will have her second child, and instead of sailing she enjoys some family life and well-deserved rest from the tough life on the international match racing circuit:
“We’re aiming to be back on WIM Series for the final event, the Carlos Aguilar Match Race in US Virgin Islands in early December” she greets from home in Danish capital Copenhagen.
Pauline Courtois sits on third place on the WIM Series so far, and in the absence of Ulrikkeholm Klinkby the French skipper has a great chance to further climb the leaderboard.
Another skipper to defend the French colours in Sheboygan is World number three Anne-Claire Le Berre, coming back to WIM Series after a maternity leave. Le Berre is the reigning French national match racing champion after consecutive wins in 2014 and 2015, and she finished last year with a win in Busan, Korea, for a podium position on the 2015 WIM Series:
“I had my second child in July, so I have to admit that we haven’t sailed very much this year. But we still expect to be in the final in Sheboygan, because I have a very good crew and we know the boats very well. We’re really looking forward to some exciting racing in Sheboygan” says Le Berre, racing with Alice Ponsar and Mathilde Geron.
One unique feature of the WIM Series is that each venue offers a different type of boat and with it a different number of crew. In Sheboygan the nine crews will be sailing the Elliott 6m, the exact same fleet of boats that were used in the 2012 London Olympics:
“These boats will be sailed with a crew of three, so it’s a pretty dramatic change from the crew of six that each team sailed with in the last WIM Series event in Lysekil” WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis concludes.
Standings in the 2016 WIM Series after two events out of five (skipper, nationality, WIM Series points):
1. Anna Östling, SWE, 50
2. Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 38
3. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 36
4. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 32
5. Stephanie Roble, USA, 22
6. Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 21
7. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 20
8. Lotte Meldgaard, DEN, 18
9. Sanna Häger, SWE, 14
10. Alexa Bezel, SUI, 12
11. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 12
12. Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 10
13. Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 10
14. Susanna Kukkonen FIN, 8
15. Diana Kissane, IRL, 7
16. Sanna Mattsson, SWE, 5
by WIM Series