Josephine Nissen, Anne Sofie Munk, Tina Gramkov, Nina Grunow, Lotte Meldgaard and Vivi Moller took the 2015 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship title.
It all started in an Optimist dinghy, sailing around her parents’ Folkboat at the age of eight. Since then Lotte Meldgaard has been seen in more than 40 different boat types, ranging from small dinghies and fast sport boats to heavier keelboats. One of the boat types she likes a little bit more is the IOD, because it’s challenging in a different way than all the other ones. And there is one sail racing discipline her heart beats a little extra for; match racing.
Intense and adrenaline packed
In the beginning of the 1990.s, Lotte spent half a year in a sailing school. At that time the DS 37, a new keelboat designed especially for match racing by compatriot Jacob Viero, was launched. Lotte got involved in sailing the first two boats from the yard to the sailing school, and found the fast and easily manoeuvrable, but also physically demanding boat, very attractive:
“We started match racing, and from day one I helmed. I enjoyed developing the crew work and using the rules to my advantage. Match racing is so intense and adrenaline packed, with the on water umpiring that demand immediate decisions and quick responses in every situation, and with the one-on-one action in all kinds of conditions. When other sailing disciplines stay ashore due to lack of wind or too much wind, we are still racing” the Danish top helmsman smiles, adding that there is no need for tiring after racing sessions when match racing.
Finally – World Champion
At her first World Championship in 2001, Lotte Meldgaard and her crew won the round-robin and finished the event with bronze medals around their necks:
“Another Danish team took the title, and it was a fantastic feeling to be on the podium listening to and singing the Danish national anthem, even though we didn’t win ourselves. To do better next time has been my main motivation since.”
Her ambitious goal has resulted in a number of bronze and silver medals, but not until this summer Lotte was able to step up to the top of the podium. On her home waters of Middelfart, she finally earned the well-deserved gold medal she had longed for:
“My team was chosen carefully with focus on the training process and their experience from sailing with me and in that particular boat, to do well together and enjoy our time on the water” she says, presenting her winning crew.
A team effort
“Anne Sofie Munk on the main, Tina Gramkov on trim and Nina Grunow on the bow are each very skilled at what they do. So is tactician Josephine Nissen, who unfortunately was injured and had to leave the competition. Another familiar face, Vivi Moller, replaced Josephine on very short notice, between two matches. Despite such an incident, we didn’t even miss a start. That’s fantastic, and proves the efficiency of the team” Lotte Meldgaard praises, adding a few more explanations to her world title.
“Last year’s third place at Lysekil Women’s Match and our victory in Sheboygan made me confident on how I’m doing things, and that I’m at level with the top sailors. Preparing for the Worlds we focused on limited but very efficient training at the Danish Sailing League, giving us a great feeling leading up to the event. And then we managed very well the challenging conditions in Middelfart, with both lighter and heavier breeze as well as some current.”
Supporting younger sailors
For the 2016 WIM Series season, Lotte Meldgaard will consider doing some of the events, but finding time enough is her limitation. With a Master’s Degree in engineering, she’s working within the field of ports and coastal projects for consultant company Sweco:
“I’m working mainly within in the Ports and Geotechnical department, with a main focus on the design of ports and marinas. Furthermore, I’m involved in many projects concerning protection against flooding, and the effects of climate change on coastal structures. I can definitely use my sailing career as inspiration to my professional work, with respect to team management, logistics and engineering field of expertise.”
As a member of the WIM Series’ management team, 43 years old Lotte Meldgaard is now supporting the next generation of match racing women:
“I hope that female sailors will take up match racing and realise what a fantastic part of our sport of sailing it is. I’m extremely happy so see the sport grow again, and the WIM Series is a clear signal to women sailors to come and compete at top-level events against the best sailors.”
Happy and proud
Lotte Meldgaard has not only crowned her more than two decades of successful match racing with this summer’s World Championship title, but she’s also got a chance to become the 2015 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year:
“I’m honoured, extremely happy and proud. It is soooo cool. To be nominated is a great recognition from the international sailing world of my performance. But I’m nothing without a crew, and for sure this is also a recognition of their hard work and performance this year.”