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Roble, Groeneveld, Östling & Le Berre to semis

Roble, Groeneveld, Östling & Le Berre to semis

Roble, Groeneveld, Östling & Le Berre to semis

– round-robin and quarters wrapped up in Sheboygan, USA

Stephanie Roble and her Epic Racing kept their firm grip of the Buddy Melges Challenge, the 3rd event of the 2016 WIM Series and also the Women’s World Match Racing Championship, through Saturday’s racing. The US team won the round-robin stage 14 – 2, and then their quarter final against compatriot Nicole Breault 3 – 0:
“We had some really even starts, but our speed and boat handling was the advantage we could capitalize on today” Roble comments.
Renée Groeneveld, NED, Anna Östling, SWE and Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, all won their quarters 3 – 1. One of them will be picked by the Americans for the semis.

Saturday’s racing, on the waters just outside Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, offered the sailors sunshine from a partly cloudy sky, and a quite stable south-easterly breeze of 10 – 12 knots, slowly decreasing throughout the day. In relatively flat waters this would have been the most easily managed conditions any sailor could have asked for, but a lot of swell during all eight hours of racing completely changed the impression:
“It was really tricky, tough and frustrating out there today, ” Stephanie Roble admits, giving her crew Maggie Shea and Janel Zarkowsky a lot of credit:
“They kept me into the game, no doubt about that.”

Fellow semi finalist Renée Groeneveld, who finished runner-up in the round-robin stage on a 13 – 3 record, backs the American skipper in her opinion on the sailing conditions:
“It was a long day on the water, and we fought hard to keep our speed up. Sometimes the boat went sideways in the steep and choppy sea. We made a few mistakes but are generally happy” the Dutch skipper says.
Groeneveld and her crew Lobke Berkhout and Mijke Lievens raced Pauline Courtois of France, in a tough quarter final round that went to four matches and finished 3 – 1 in Dutch favour. They are now looking forward to Sunday’s racing, predicted to bring a lot of breeze to Lake Michigan:
“We like heavy wind, but it’s going to be tough as the others know that well too” Groeneveld says.

Despite somewhat upset stomachs during the last few days, Swedish twin sisters Annie and Linnea Wennergren managed to help their skipper, World #1 Anna Östling, to finish the round-robin on third place with a 12 – 4 score. Then Kiwi Samantha Norman gave the Swedes a hard time in their quarter final, narrowly winning the first match:
“We gave away that one as we got the spinnaker under our boat when rounding the mark. The boat stopped completely, and that’s a mistake you simply can’t afford in this competition” says Annie Wennergren.
“In the following matches we found some patches of better pressure, enough to gain momentum and avoid the worse stops in the swell” the Swedish skipper fills in.

Being back on WIM Series after her maternity leave, French skipper Anne-Claire Le Berre came to Sheboygan with her crew Mathilde Geron and Alice Ponsar, determined to make a top result. After fourth place in the round-robin and their 3 – 1 win over Swedish Caroline Sylvan in the quarter final, they’re now well on their way to reach their goal:
“We’re here to sail the final” Le Berre declares, also explaining why:
“We know these boats very well, and we’re also used to the new rules, as we sailed under them before our break” she concludes.

The semi finals and the final will be decided Sunday.

Quarter final results of the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA, the 3rd event of the 2016 WIM Series and also the Women’s World Match Racing Championship:
Stephanie Roble, USA – Nicole Breault, USA, 3 – 0
Renée Groeneveld, NED – Pauline Courtois, FRA, 3 – 1
Anna Östling, SWE – Samantha Norman, NZL, 3 – 1
Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA – Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 3 – 1

Results in the double round-robin stage (skipper, country, wins – losses):
1. Stephanie Roble, USA, 14 – 2
2. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 13 – 3
3. Anna Östling, SWE, 12 – 4
4. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 11 – 5
5. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 7 – 9
6. Samantha Norman, NZL, 6 – 10
7. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 5 – 11
8. Nicole Breault, USA, 4 – 12
9. Elizabeth Shaw, CAN, 0 – 16


The Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) is the first and only professional sailing series for women, hosted by the Women’s International Match Racing Association and joined by the world’s leading women match racing sailors. Match racing is sailed in two identical boats around a short course, providing fast action close to the crowds on shore. The intense racing is just as exciting for the spectators as it is strategically, tactically and physically challenging for the competing crews.

An overall prize purse of 50 000 USD will be distributed by the WIM Series in addition to the prize money at each of the four events included in the 2016 WIM Series (date, event name, location, boat type):

  • June 27 – July 1, Helsinki Women’s Match, Helsinki, Finland, J/80.
  • August 8 – 13, Lysekil Women’s Match, Lysekil, Sweden, DS 37.
  • September 20 – 25, Women’s Match Racing World Championship & Buddy Melges Challenge, Sheboygan, USA, Elliott 6m.
  • October 25 – 29, Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, Busan, South Korea, K30.
  • December 1 – 4, Carlos Aguilar Match Race, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, IC 24.

The WIM Series is hosted by WIMRA. Official suppliers are Sailnet, Sebago, MILK, Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan, Adstream, Intertidal Ventures, Fredag 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, USA, 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:
Buddy Melges Challenge Press Officer Janet Weyandt,, +1 920 980 6894

The World Sailing 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, UAE. Skippers are invited to attend the Championship based on their World Sailing Match Racing Ranking position. Denmark’s Dorte Jensen is the most successful sailor, having amassed four World Championship titles.

World Sailing Communications Department,, + 44 2380 635 111