– even though Groeneveld scored more wins.

On her comeback to the match racing scene, Renée Groeneveld of the Netherlands surprised with six wins and just one loss on the first day of the Buddy Melges Challenge, the penultimate event of the 2015 WIM Series. World #2 Anna Östling scored one win less on Lake Michigan, USA, but still sits alone on the very top of the leader board, rewarded for her perfect 5 – 0 score.

Swedish crew of Anna Östling and Annie and Linnea Wennergren defeating Renée Groeneveld, Annemieke Bes and Michelle Broekhuizen of the Netherlands, at the first day of racing in the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA. Photo: Christopher Rydblom/WIM Series.

Östling undefeated at the top in Sheboygan – even though Groeneveld scored more wins

On her comeback to the match racing scene, Renée Groeneveld of the Netherlands surprised with six wins and just one loss on the first day of the Buddy Melges Challenge, the penultimate event of the 2015 WIM Series. World #2 Anna Östling scored one win less on Lake Michigan, USA, but still sits alone on the very top of the leader board, rewarded for her perfect 5 – 0 score: “We worked smoothly together in the boat today, focusing on the big picture. That made us really fast, especially upwind” the Swede comments. “It was good fun today, in great conditions. The waves made the racing very technical, but our boat handling was excellent” says Groeneveld.

Renée Groeneveld represented the Netherlands at the match racing competition of the 2012 London Olympics in Weymouth, reaching the quarterfinals. Since then she hasn’t done much match racing, and is currently without a position on the ISAF World Ranking. That situation will definitely change if she continues the Buddy Melges Challenge on Lake Michigan in the same way she’s started the event: “Some parts of today’s racing were feeling really natural, while other parts didn’t. We made some big match racing mistakes, real presents for our opponents” Groeneveld laughs and shakes her head.

In Wednesday’s seven matches the Dutch team was only defeated once. Despite a red flag penalty in the match against Anna Östling, for taking room she wasn’t entitled to at the top mark, Groeneveld continued her fierce fight. All the way to the finish line she and Östling raced on in their head-to-head battle, narrowly won by the Swedish boat at the end: “We had rather big waves and excellent surfing conditions, so the finish came down to who got the last surf. This time we were fortunate” Östling analyses the outcome.

Local hope Stephanie Roble was challenged by the sailing conditions, with 10 to 15 knots of quite steady breeze and waves enough to get the big surfs, all under a bright sun from a clear blue sky: “We haven’t done any match racing since the latest WIM Series event in Sweden more than a month ago, so we have to get back into the groove and get into the Elliotts again. Today it was tricky driving conditions with the big waves, and we struggled a bit coordinating our crew work. The matches were close but we lost two. Now we’re looking forward to learning from today’s lessons and continuing racing tomorrow” the American World #3 says.

Standings in the 2015 Buddy Melges Challenge, the third stage of the 2015 WIM Series, after the first day of round-robin (skipper name, nationality, wins – losses): 1. Anna Östling, SWE, 5 – 0 2. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 6 – 1 3. Stephanie Roble, USA, 4 – 2 3. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 4 – 2 3. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 4 – 2 6. Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 3 – 2 7. Juliana Senfft, BRA, 2 – 3 8. Diana Kissane, IRL, 2 – 5 9. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 1 – 3 10. Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 0 – 5 11. Morgan Wilson, USA, 0 – 6

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 40 000 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 four events included in the 2015 WIM Series (date, event name, location, boat type): * July 8 – 12, ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship, Middelfart, Denmark, Match 28. * August 3 – 8, Lysekil Women's Match, Lysekil, Sweden, DS 37. * September 16 – 20, Buddy Melges Challenge, Sheboygan, USA, Elliott 6. * October 28 – November 1, Busan Cup Women's International Match Race, Busan, Korea, K30.

The WIM Series is hosted by WIMRA. 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 www.wimseries.com/media/

More information about the Women’s International Match Racing Series: WIM Series Press Officer Joakim Hermansson, media@wimseries.com, +46 70 604 25 04 WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis, Liz@wimseries.com, +1 415 691 6202 www.wimseries.com www.facebook.com/WIMSeries www.twitter.com/WIMSeries www.youtube.com/WIMRSeries www.instagram.com/WIMSeries

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, mattw@seasheboygan.org, +1 920 918 9204 www.sailsheboygan.org www.seasheboygan.org www.sheboyganyachtclub.com www.facebook.com/SailSheboygan www.twitter.com/USSCSheboygan