– quarters and semis decided in tricky Saturday conditions.

A Saturday with shifty, puffy and in general quite tricky conditions in the Buddy Melges Challenge, saw local hope Stephanie Roble and Anne-Claire Le Berre of France getting through to Sunday’s final. In the semi finals Roble beat Dutch Renée Groeneveld 3 – 2 after five thrilling matches, while Le Berre disposed of the previous dominant Anna Östling, Sweden, with a 3 – 1 record.

PRESS RELEASE SEPTEMBER 19 2015
Home sailors Stephanie Roble, Maggie Shea and Janel Zarkowsky won their semi final of the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA, and will Sunday face Anne-Claire Le Berre, Mathilde Geron and Morgane Gautier of France in the final. Photo: Christopher Rydblom/WIM Series.Roble & Le Berre to meet in Sheboygan final – quarters and semis decided in tricky Saturday conditions

A Saturday with shifty, puffy and in general quite tricky conditions in the Buddy Melges Challenge, saw local hope Stephanie Roble and Anne-Claire Le Berre of France getting through to Sunday’s final. In the semi finals Roble beat Dutch Renée Groeneveld 3 – 2 after five thrilling matches, while Le Berre disposed of the previous dominant Anna Östling, Sweden, with a 3 – 1 record: “It was really difficult to know where the wind shifts were going today, but I think we made fewer mistakes than the others. Now we’re aiming for the top of the podium” Le Berre declares. “My crew did an awesome job finding the right tactics in the shifts today” says Roble.

The fog and the clouds from Friday went away over the night to Saturday, leaving behind the beautiful sunshine seen on the first two days of match racing in the Buddy Melges Challenge. Lake Michigan offered a rather puffy and shifty Saturday breeze, causing the race committee to make a few course changes. As the Saturday afternoon progressed the wind gradually faded, with the buildings of Sheboygan generating some challenging shadows and eddies in the quite light wind at the windward mark, tucked up under the shoreline.

“It was definitely a challenging and very stressful day” Stephanie Roble states, adding: “We won the last two semi finals against Renée thanks to my crew, who did an amazing job finding the pressure and letting me focus on driving the boat. In the quarters Pauline Courtois won two out of three starts, but we managed to dig back and play the shifts right, also thanks to great crew work.” “There was a lot going on out there and tough racing, all about picking the right shifts. Simply we lost one match too much, as they didn’t make any mistakes at all” Groeneveld comments, still enjoying being back in match racing after a few years absence. “It’s really good fun. The racing here is very well organized, with good quality and boats in excellent condition. I’ll do the next and final event in Korea for sure, and after that we will decide about our future involvement in the WIM Series” she reveals.

Anne-Claire Le Berre struggled with her speed in the big waves at the beginning of the week, but found it timely enough for the quarterfinals, despatching World #1 Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby. Then the French team defeated World #2 Anna Östling in the semis: “We changed our boathandling to get faster upwind, and that helped. Today we sailed very well, playing the tactics and the shifts and managing to choose the right side of the course” Le Berre explains. “We had a hard time today, beginning when Juliana Senfft offered great competition in the quarters and we barely made it to the semis. Then Le Berre raced without mistakes, while we made a few costly ones. The lead changed a lot of times in every race, but she always managed to be ahead of us at the finish.” Östling says, now determined to fight hard for third. “We need that to gain valuable WIM Series points” she concludes.

Semi final results in the 2015 Buddy Melges Challenge, the third stage of the 2015 WIM Series: Stephanie Roble, USA – Renée Groeneveld, NED, 3 – 2 Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA – Anna Östling, SWE, 3 – 1

Quarterfinal results: Anna Östling, SWE – Juliana Senfft, BRA, 3 – 2 Renée Groeneveld, NED – Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 3 – 1 Stephanie Roble, USA – Pauline Courtois, FRA, 3 – 0 Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA – Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 3 – 0

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