Once again the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race marks the conclusion of a thrilling WIM Series season. A dozen of the world’s leading women match racing sailors have come to Korea, but only a quartet can still win the 2015 WIM Series and the coveted Terry J Kohler Perpetual Trophy. The American Epic Racing team, with ordinary skipper Stephanie Roble, is leading World #1 Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby by just 7 points in the Series’ standings, with Swede Anna Östling and Anne-Claire Le Berre of France respectively 12 and 14 points from the top spot:
“We expect this fierce competition to come down to the wire as the teams battle it out on the beautiful waters off the iconic Haeundae Beach in Busan” says WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis.
Stephanie Roble has so far had an extremely successful season with her Epic Racing team, posting their first ever WIM Series’ event victory last month on their home waters of Lake Michigan. On the Grand Finale in Busan, Roble herself will, however, not be able to attend:
“I’m extremely bummed I won't be in Busan with Epic Racing. I had a previous commitment to sail the Etchells Worlds in Hong Kong, where I will be defending the title from 2014” she explains.
Substituting for Roble is professional sailor and long time Epic Racing crew Maggie Shea, Sailing Director of the Chicago Match Race Center and a US Sailing Team member aiming for the 2016 Olympics in the 49er FX. In 2012 Roble and Shea became the first women to win both the US Women’s and the Open Match Racing Championships, an achievement they repeated in 2014:
“We have sent an extremely strong team, and I have no doubt that the girls will have a strong performance. Maggie and the team will do an excellent job!” Roble states convincingly.
“We will miss Steph at this regatta, but hope to win it all” Shea adds.
World #1 Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby experienced the same situation last year, when her pregnancy prevented her from travelling to Korea and co-skipper Trine Palludan had to secure the 2014 WIM Series title to the Danish team. This year Ulrikkeholm Klinkby is back at the helm, trying to catch up the 7 points for a second consecutive Terry J. Kohler Perpetual Trophy:
“It won’t be easy, but we’ll certainly do our best. I think we’ll have to win in Busan to be able to take the title, so that’s our goal” the Dane says, revealing their preparations:
“We’ve practised a lot with five people on board, like it will be in Busan. The K30.s will seem lighter and maybe easier to handle, than the heavier DS37.s we’ve used in our home club.”
The second Scandinavian team with a chance to step up to the WIM Series top position, is led by former World Champion Anna Östling of Sweden:
“It’s always exciting going into the final event, and we’re happy to be fighting for podium positions for the third year in a row. We’ve done a lot of racing and practising since the latest event in USA, so we really think we’re in race mode now. And it’s wonderful to be in warm and welcoming Busan again.”
Anne-Claire Le Berre and her team just won the French Women’s Match Racing Championship, and are now aiming for another victorious event in Korea. Le Berre praises the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race for the great hospitality and the superb sailing conditions:
“We’re really looking forward to this event. We’ve improved a lot during the latest two regattas, and now we’d like to make a very good finish to this year’s season.”
With the rich prize pool of USD 100 000 for the event and USD 40 000 for the WIM Series, there is a lot for the sailors to be fighting for. The eighth edition of the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race will be raced October 28 – November 1 on historic sailing waters, with the torch from the 1988 Olympics still to be seen close to the Haeundae Beach. The boats supplied are very well maintained K30.s:
“On behalf of the Busan Sailing Federation, I welcome all sailors to one of the authoritative yacht competitions in Korea. We hope all participants make unforgettable memories with us” says Junmo KIM, Chairman of the Organizing Committee.
“It’s a great honour to host such a prestigious event again this year, and I hope everyone will enjoy and have a wonderful time here in Busan. I’m looking forward to seeing some fantastic racing, good luck to all!” says Jabin LEE, Secretary General of the Organizing Committee.
“We are delighted to host again the final of the WIM Series. I will do the impossible to ensure the success of the event” Regatta Director Alfredo Ricci concludes.
The trophy for the WIM Series overall winner – The Terry J. Kohler Perpetual Trophy – is named after US businessman Terry Kohler, a long-time proponent and supporter of women's match racing.
Previous winners of the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race:
2008, Sally Barkow, USA
2009, Lucy Macgregor, GBR
2010, Claire Leroy, FRA
2011, Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN
2012, Claire Leroy, FRA
2013, Tamara Echegoyen, ESP (World Championship)
2014, Lucy Macgregor, GBR
Skippers in the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, the fourth and final event of the 2015 WIM Series:
Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN
Anna Östling, SWE
Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA
Pauline Courtois, FRA
Caroline Sylvan, SWE
Milly Bennett, AUS
Katie Spithill, AUS
Denise Lim, SIN
Renée Groeneveld, NED
Diana Kissane, IRL
Sung Eun Choi, KOR
Maggie Shea (substituting for Stephanie Roble), USA
Standings in the 2015 WIM Series, after three stages out of four (skipper, nationality, WIM Series points):
1. Stephanie Roble, USA, 67
2. Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 60
3. Anna Östling, SWE, 55
4. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 53
5. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 41
6. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 30
7. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED, 26
8. Lotte Meldgaard, DEN, 25
9. Juliana Senfft, BRA, 21
10. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 16
11. Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 14
12. Katie Spithill, AUS, 14
13. Alexa Bezel, SUI, 13
14. Diana Kissane, IRL, 12
15. Annabel Vose, GBR, 10
15. Milly Bennett, AUS, 10
17. Louise Christensen, DEN, 6
18. Morgan Wilson, USA, 4
18. Sanna Häger, SWE, 4
20. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 0
20. Johanna Larsson, SWE, 0
20. Nina Ramm-Schmidt, FIN, 0
– but the sailors praise the new boats
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
photo David Cannon/Getty images