The weather hoaxed Sheboygan sailors
– the 2016 WIM Series 3rd event delayed by endlessly shifting winds
“If you don’t like the weather in Sheboygan, just wait 15 minutes”. The local proverb has probably never been more appropriate than during Wednesday, when racing in the Buddy Melges Challenge, the 2016 WIM Series 3rd event and also the Women’s Match Racing World Championship, should have kicked off. Result: No racing at all:
“We started two matches, but the breeze didn’t last more than 15 minutes at a time” comments Principal Race Officer Rich Reichelsdorfer.
A warm front with strong winds, thunder and heavy rain passed Sheboygan early Wednesday morning, leaving behind not only very unstable conditions, but also occasional fog. The very challenging weather conditions really put the regatta organizers to the test. After an hour’s postponement in the foggy morning, the sailors were sent out on Lake Michigan, just to learn that wind shifts of 90 – 180 degrees made it impossible for the race management to set a proper course. A few matches got into starting sequence, but none could be sailed all the way to the finish. Sailors were sent ashore again to wait, and at 15.00 Rich Reichelsdorfer cancelled all racing for the day:
“We’re expecting a new front within just a few hours, so it’s better to get all set before that front arrives” he explains.
For Samantha Norman from New Zealand the difficult weather in Sheboygan was no surprise. She won the very first edition of the Buddy Melges Challenge, back in 2009, and finished runner-up behind Australian Nicky Souter the year after that:
“I think it was pretty similar conditions the last time we were here. Nice and foggy with shifty winds and big waves” Norman smiles, still happy to be back on Lake Michigan for some match racing.
“We haven’t matched up against these girls for a number of years now, so we’ll just do our best out there and we’ll see what happens” she says.
Given the circumstances, the double round-robin will now have to begin Thursday instead, followed by quarterfinals, and then the semis and the final matches over the weekend. There are no plans yet to change the event format:
“No, we’re still early in a five-day regatta, so we’ll just wait and see” Rich Reichelsdorfer concludes.
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 www.wimseries.com/media/
More information about the Women’s International Match Racing Series:
WIM Series Press Officer Joakim Hermansson, firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 70 604 25 04
WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis, Liz@wimseries.com, +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, Janet@WeyandtCreative.com, +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, email@example.com, + 44 2380 635 111