Last week Stephanie Roble raced as pit and strategist in Don Wilson’s crew in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour event Chicago Match Cup. Photo: Isao Toyama/AWMRT.
A week ago she raced as pit and strategist in a mostly male crew in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour event Chicago Match Cup. But it’s not an unfamiliar situation for Stephanie Roble to be racing together with men. In 2012 she and team mate Maggie Shea were the first women ever to become both US Open and US Women’s Match Racing Champions, the latter event with Janel Zarkowsky as the third crew.
This week Roble is back at the helm in Sheboygan, a few miles further north from Chicago, and in the same waters as last week. Now with regular team mates Shea and Zarkowsky, while fourth team member Lara Dallman-Weiss is racing with another crew for this event. Though beginning her sailing career on Lake Beulah, Stephanie Roble can now call Lake Michigan her home waters:
“I hadn’t thought about it, but this is our home event. We feel at home on the Elliot’s and in Sheboygan. And we’re especially pleased not to have jet lag too” she smiles.
Stephanie Roble sailed her first ever match racing event in Sheboygan, and has done more than a handful regattas here since then. In Sonars, as well as in the Elliott 6M.s that she’s currently racing in the Buddy Melges Challenge. But Stephanie Roble doesn’t only know the boats in Sheboygan very well; she’s also very experienced in what conditions to expect:
“At this time of year the breeze will be frontal driven. The trickiest will be a westerly, which will be super-shifty and generally windy. Also a northerly breeze will bring gnarly conditions” the local hope reveals.
“We were here at this time last year and had a mix. There will definitely be a grab bag of conditions during the week” Roble states, adding:
“And if there is a big front there will be some big swells, especially from the north!”
In the latest event on the WIM Series, the Lysekil Women’s Match in Sweden, Roble and her Epic Racing Team finished on a not very satisfying fifth place. The Swedish event was raced in the big DS 37.s and with a crew of six, twice as many as in the Elliotts 6M.s in Sheboygan. So, what size of boat and crew does Stephanie Roble really prefer?
“Well, I love the small boats. But a big team is always fun, because it requires more team coordination. Now we’re really excited to get back to racing in the Elliott’s” she says.
“We’re very pleased to be at this event and hoping to grab a win. We need to make up for our poor result in Sweden. But it’s always tough competition. The girls who campaigned for the 2012 Olympics will definitely be the toughest.”
Last year she sailed the Sonars in the US Open Match Racing Championships in Sheboygan, and were just one point shy of making the finals:
“We had some great racing against Dave Perry” Roble remembers, concluding this interview with a big thank you to Helly Hansen, proud sponsor of her Epic Racing Team.
First woman ever to win both the US Open and the US Women’s Match Racing Championships.
Formed Epic Racing in 2013, and has been a professional sailor since then.
Finished fourth on the inaugural 2013 WIM Series.
Began her sailing career on Lake Beulah.
Shares her passion for match racing with boyfriend Taylor Canfield, successful match racing helmsman from the US Virgin Islands.