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Penultimate WIM Series event on Lake Michigan, USA

Penultimate WIM Series event on Lake Michigan, USA

Penultimate WIM Series event on Lake Michigan, USA

– Sheboygan welcomes eight of the world’s best women match racers

The time has come for the penultimate event on the 2014 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series), the Buddy Melges Challenge. Named after the legendary sailor, the event will be raced for the remainder of this week on Lake Michigan, in the mid-US town Sheboygan. World Champion Anna Kjellberg of Sweden is the highest ranked skipper to participate:
“We know the boats very well, but it’s our first ever regatta in Sheboygan. I guess we’ll have to use the round-robin stage to grow, towards the weekend conclusion” Kjellberg comments.

The Buddy Melges Challenge has been an ISAF Grade One match racing event in Sheboygan for a number of years. The event is named after the famous Olympian, America’s Cup sailor, boat builder, and Wisconsinite Buddy Melges, whose contributions to the sport have been long standing. The trophy for the event resides in the Sheboygan Yacht Club and is a replica of the America’s Cup. Kathy Lindgren, event chair and Sail Sheboygan board member, welcomes all participants to the Buddy Melges Challenge:
“Sheboygan is extremely excited to be the US stop for the WIM Series in 2014. We look forward to the return of teams who have competed in the Elliotts during their Olympic campaigns, as well as welcome two new teams. We anticipate a very competitive event, with the sailing talent this group of women brings to match racing.”

The Buddy Melges Challenge will be raced in a fleet of immaculately maintained Elliott 6Ms – the exact same boats that were used for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition:
“Sail Sheboygan’s commitment to boat maintenance is second to none, and the sailors will have no doubt that the boats are equal and ready to be raced hard” says Liz Baylis, Series Manager of the WIM Series.
The experienced race management team, led by PRO Rich Reichelsdorfer, will run the races with the same attention to detail as the boat maintenance team:
“As the PRO of this event, and having worked with the Women’s Match Racing leading up to and at the 2012 London Olympics, I am very excited to have the chance to work with girls again” says Rich Reichelsdorfer.

The racing in the fresh water of Lake Michigan will be a pleasant change for most of the sailors who only compete in salt water. The typical weather for this time of year promises for exciting racing in the Elliot 6M fleet, as the cooler weather normally brings stronger fall breeze with it. The course will be set just off the beautiful Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, with racing being visible from the bluffs along Lake Michigan:
”The trickiest will be a westerly, which will be super shifty and generally windy. Also a northerly breeze will bring gnarly conditions” says local hope Stephanie Roble, who has gained a lot of Sheboygan experience after no less than six match racing events here.
”We definitely feel at home on the Elliotts and in Sheboygan. Looking forward to not having jet lag too” Roble smiles, revealing that her aim is to win the regatta.
“We’re hoping to grab a win. We need to make up for our poor result in Lysekil Women’s Match in Sweden.”

World #1, current WIM Series leader and four consecutive times winner in Sweden, Camilla Ulrikkeholm of Denmark, will not be at the US event due to work commitment. As an architect she unfortunately needs to deliver a complete project to her customer at the same time as the Buddy Melges Challenge racing is held:
“We’re determined to win the WIM Series anyway, by a top result at the final in Korea, where we finished second last year. And we’re hoping that Anna will not do to good in Sheboygan” she says, laughing.
But that’s not exactly Anna Kjellberg’s plan for the week. As runner-up on the WIM Series standings as well as on the ISAF world ranking, she has a great opportunity to grab some valuable points in Sheboygan:
“We need a good result here, to be able to fight the Danes for the WIM Series trophy in Korea” Anna states.

The trophy for the WIM Series overall winner – The Terry J. Kohler Perpetual Trophy – is named after Sheboygan businessman Terry Kohler, a long-time proponent and supporter of women’s match racing and all of the sailing activities at Sail Sheboygan:
“Many of the sailors have heard the stories of all that he has done for the sport and are excited to meet him in person” says Liz Baylis.

Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan, SEAS, as the over arching organization of the boating activities group of Sheboygan, is especially pleased to welcome another women’s match racing event. As one of the organizations working in cooperation with SEAS, Sail Sheboygan has the status as an Olympic Match Racing Center, that is based upon the work the organization did for the 2012 Olympics and the Women’s Match Racing for that event:
“We hope to show that we are everything that our reputation implies, providing the highest quality of on the water management and a welcoming atmosphere on shore” SEAS chair Leslie Kohler concludes.

Participants in the Buddy Melges Challenge, the fourth stage of the 2014 WIM Series:

Anna Kjellberg, SWE
She started as a match racing sailor on foredeck, but in former America’s Cup challenger Magnus Holmberg’s Sailing Factory, now 30 years old Anna Kjellberg of the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club found her interest in helming rise. After her Olympic debut in London, she finished runner-up in the 2013 inaugural WIM Series season. This spring Anna became a mother for the first time, and just five weeks after that she was crowned the 2014 Women’s Match Racing World Champion. We’ll see Anna on most of the events.

Stephanie Roble, USA
24 years old Stephanie Roble started sailing dinghies and scows out of Lake Beulah YC, where she was a successful junior sailor. Later she picked up match racing and fell in love with the fast paced game. Together with fellow team member Maggie Shea she campaigned for women’s Olympic match racing, and qualified as one of the top four for the final stage of the US trials. In the fall of 2012, Stephanie and Maggie became the first women to win both the US Women’s and the Open Match Racing Championships.

Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN
With 20 years of match racing in approximately 40 different boats, some silver and bronze medals in World Championships, as well as gold in the Europeans, Lotte is one of the most experienced sailors on the WIM Series. The four years in advance of the London 2012 Olympics, she focused on that campaign, leading to a 10th place in the tough Olympic fleet. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen is working as a Coastal and Ocean Engineer, doing most of her sailing practise and training at the Royal Danish Yacht Club.

Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA
31 years old Anne-Claire Le Berre from Brest on the Atlantic coast of France came back to the match racing circuit last year after a maternity leave, immediately becoming National Champion in her home waters. Since 2005 she has been into match racing, ranked number 5 in the world as best, and before that she did an Olympic campaign in the Yngling. Anne-Claire is not only a skilled sailor, with victories in several grade 1 match racing events over the last years, but also a naval architect at FinotConq.

Caroline Sylvan, SWE
As “everybody else” in Sweden, 25 years old Caroline Sylvan began her sailing career in the Optimist and Europe dinghies, participating in Nordic and European as well as World Championships. After twice becoming national champion in Laser Radial, she began match racing in 2010 and immediately won the Youth National Championships. In 2012 Caroline took the bronze medal in the European Match Racing Championships, and in 2013 she finished sixth in the inaugural WIM Series season.

Juliana Senfft, BRA
As a full-time sailor for the Brazilian navy, 25 years old Juliana Senfft of Iate Clube Brasileiro spends a lot of time on the water, exercising and practising to improve her sailing skills. Having been in match racing since 2007, but currently in a 49er FX-campaign for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Juliana appreciates to compete on the WIM Series. The Elliott 6M is her favourite boat, she holds a degree in Physical Education, has won the Nation’s Cup, and is a triple winner of the Northern Lights Regatta.

Chantal Hearst, CAN
23 years old Chantal Hearst has an undergraduate degree in engineering and applied science from the university of her hometown Toronto, Canada, where she’s now appointed Junior Project Engineer. As a member of the National Yacht Club, Chantal has been into match racing for little more than a year, steadily advancing on the world ranking. She has also raced 29er and 420, and in 2009 she was a member of the Canadian Youth Sailing Team. Her goal for this season is to reach top 25 in the world.

Madeline Gill, USA
Living in Norwalk, Connecticut, and with Oakcliff Sailing Center as her home Yacht Club, 24 years old Madeline Gill is quite familiar with match racing in larger boats such as the SM 40. She has done a lot of dinghy sailing in Optimist, Laser and 420, but also some keel boat racing in J/105. Madeline Gill is a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia, now working as a sailing instructor. Since 2012 she focuses her own sailing career on match racing, aiming to climb on the world ranking.

Standings in the 2014 WIM Series, after three stages out of five (skipper name, nationality, WIM Series points):
1. Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN, 72
2. Anna Kjellberg, SWE, 63
3. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 46
4. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED, 45
5. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 44
6. Stephanie Roble, USA, 33
7. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN, 32
8. Claudia Pierce, NZL, 28
9. Annabel Vose, GBR, 25
10. Morgane Fountaine, FRA, 14
11. Lucie Scheiwiller, FRA, 12
12. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 10
13. Mary O’Loughlin, IRL, 8
14. Linda Rahm, SWE, 7
15. Rajaa Al Owaisi, OMA, 6
16. Laura Dillon, IRL, 6
17. Anastasia Guseva, RUS, 4
18. Anne-Christianne Kentgens, NED, 0


The 2014 Women’s International Match Racing Series is a professional sailing circuit, hosted by the Women’s International Match Racing Association for the world’s leading women match racing sailors. In match racing the crews meet two by two in exciting duels that can easily be followed and understood by the spectators.

An overall prize purse of 50 000 USD will be distributed by the WIM Series at the final event in Busan, Korea, in addition to the prize money at each of the five events included in the WIM Series (date, event name, location, boat type, prize money):

* June 3-8, ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship, Cork, Ireland, J/80, 17 000 USD.

* July 24-27, Women’s Match Race Golfe du Morbihan, Vannes, France, Beneteau 7.5, 14 000 USD.

* August 4-9, Lysekil Women’s Match, Lysekil, Sweden, DS 37, 50 000 USD.

* September 23-28, Buddy Melges Challenge, Sheboygan, USA, Elliott 6, 10 000 USD.

* October 11-16, Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, Busan, Korea, K 30, 100 000 USD.

The WIM Series is hosted by WIMRA. Sebago is clothing partner. Official suppliers are Sailnet, 1080 Media, MILK, Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan, Adstream and Match Racing Results Service.

Images: A number of hi-res images are available for download on

More information about the Women’s International Match Racing Series:

WIM Series Press Officer Joakim Hermansson,, +46 70 604 25 04

WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis,, +1 415 691 6202

The Buddy Melges Challenge has been an ISAF Grade One match racing event in Sheboygan for a number of years. The event is named after the famous Olympian, America’s Cup sailor, boat builder, and Wisconsinite Buddy Melges, whose contributions to the sport have been long standing. The trophy for the event resides in the Sheboygan Yacht Club and is a replica of the America’s Cup.

More information about the Buddy Melges Challenge:
Press Officer Matt Wierzbach,, +1 920 918 9204