High Winds Restricts Racing At ISAF Women's Match Race Worlds
10 July 2015
The second day of the 2015 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, the first event on the 2015 WIM Series, offered the sailors more waiting than sailing. A low-pressure front caused steady wind speeds of up to 40 knots and a long postponement as the race officials pondered the elements. Just two flights were sailed in the morning, with Australian Katie Spithill scoring two wins.
Spithall said, "We understood the boat better today, but it's still a long way to go in this World Championship. We must keep improving throughout the week, and make sure we use the lessons learned."
With heavy winds early morning, and even more wind in the forecast, the race management of Match Racing Denmark in Middelfart took the safe approach and ordered the sailors to take both reefs in the mainsail and change the genoa to a smaller jib. Spinnakers were still allowed, but many of the competitors chose not to use them unless absolutely necessary.
Katie Spithill waited the longest, but had to hoist her kite on the last downwind of her second match. "We saw the other examples and didn't want to jeopardize anything, but at the last downwind we were even and had to do something," she explained.
The call was successful and the Aussies secured their victory in the match over local sailor Louise Christensen, to climb the results ladder up in to sixth place.
The first morning match between Sweden's Caroline Sylvan and USA's Stephanie Roble was another breath-taking fight with Sylvan aggressively attacking Roble in the pre-start. In just one minute the US skipper got penalized twice. "I misjudged the situations badly," Roble admitted, after having had contact both with the opponent and with the pin end of the starting line.
"She tried to duck us, but instead hit our boat in the back," said Sylvan giving her thoughts on the penalty.
The Americans had to do one of their penalty turns right after passing the starting line, with Sylvan able to take advantage and gain a huge lead on the first beat. Roble kept her spinnaker up a little longer on the first downwind and she managed to pass the Swedish boat but it was not enough as Roble explained, "My crew got us back into the match with excellent work, but unfortunately we didn't gain enough room to be able to take our second penalty in time."
Despite the pass Sylvan was still confident, "We were never really worried, we just had to hang on to her and not let her stretch away."
Roble took the positives into her second match by clearly defeating Netherland's Klaartje Zuiderbaan. The American now sits in a three-way tie for seventh place in the regatta, where only the top eight will advance to the quarter final knock-outs. "There are still a lot of races left, so we're pretty relaxed. We're taking one match at a time, knowing that everything can happen in these tricky conditions", said Roble.
Standings after two days of round-robin in the 2015 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Middelfart, Denmark, the first event on the 2015 WIM Series (skipper, country, wins - losses):
1. Lotte Meldgaard, DEN, 8 - 0
1. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 8 - 0
3. Anna Östling, SWE, 7 - 1
4. Camilla Ulrikeholm, DEN, 6 - 2
4. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 6 - 2
6. Katie Spithill, AUS, 7 - 3
7. Stephanie Roble, USA, 5 - 3
7. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED, 5 - 3
7. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 5 - 3
10. Milly Bennett, AUS, 4 - 6
11. Louise Christensen, DEN, 2 - 8
12. Sanna Häger, SWE, 1 - 9
13. Johanna Larsson, SWE, 0 - 6
13. Nina Ramm-Schmidt, FIN, 0 - 6
13. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 0 - 6
13. Diana Kissane, IRL, 0 - 6