The Women’s International Match Racing Series today announced the 2018 series schedule with events in Finland, Sweden, Russia and the US Virgin Islands. This year marks the sixth consecutive season of the WIM Series, the world’s first and only women’s professional sailing series founded in 2012.
Up to 30 of the top women’s match racing teams will battle for the coveted series trophy starting in Helsinki (Finland) 25-29 June followed by back-to-back events in Lysekil (Sweden) 6-11 August, and Ekaterinburg (Russia) 14-18 August. The Series finale will be staged in the turquoise waters of St.Thomas in the US Virgin Islands 29 November – 2 December. A penultimate fifth event is expected to be added to the schedule in September and the Series is keen to also add a US event.
Since it’s launch in 2012, the WIM Series has delivered 23 events worldwide, attracting over 400 female sailors from 25 countries including Olympic sailors, National and World Champions. Each year, one of the Series events also plays host to the Women’s Match Racing World Championship, sanctioned by the sports global governing body, World Sailing.
“We are thrilled with how the WIM Series has grown in such a short time” commented Series Director Anna Holmdahl White. “In the last few years, there has been a significant rise in women’s participation in sport, and sailing is just one example of where both men and women also compete on a level playing field. We have the highest number of teams registered for this year’s WIM Series.”
British skipper Lucy McGregor (GBR) and her team won both WIM Series events that they entered last year, one being the World Championship in Helsinki.
“Retaining the World Championship title is our main goal of this year. In addition to sailing the Worlds we will be competing in the Argo Group Bermuda Gold Cup this year which we are really looking forward to”, said McGregor adding:
“We will have some of the same team as last year but also a couple of changes. Different boats often requires a slightly different dynamic in the team.”
Anna Östling and her Team Anna have been ranked as the number one female match racing team in the world since August 2016, and they are looking forward to entering the new season.
“A big goal for us is the regatta in Lysekil, it’s our home event and of course it means a lot to us. We are focused in our own performance and being as good a team as we can be, and we also want to help encourage other younger teams to make the sport as good as it can be. The WIM Series is a great platform for match racing and it helps more sailors get into the sport”, says Anna Östling, skipper of team Anna and two-time World Match Racing Champion.
The WIM Series is looking at adding events to the 2018 calendar. And, as the only international professional sailing series for women, the Series aims to inspire both female and male sailors all over the world. In addition to competing at different venues on the WIM Series, teams will also be tested with sailing different boats at each event, one of the unique elements of the match racing series. The yachts, usually 20-30ft in length and designed for 5 crew, are supplied by each event. The class of boats will range from the J80’s in Helsinki, to the Far East 28’s in Sweden, Ricochet 747’s in Russia, and the classic IC24’s in St Thomas.
“It’s the ultimate test of skill for any match racing team” continues Anna Holmdahl White. “They have to adapt to different sailing conditions and also different boats at each event. It’s not easy, but it’s what makes a true Champion.”
WIM Series 2018 calendar
Helsinki Women's Match, Helsinki, Finland : 25 - 29 June (J/80)
Lysekil Women's Match, Lysekil, Sweden : 6 - 11 August (Fareast 28r)
Women's Match Racing World Championship, Ekaterinburg, Russia : 14 - 18 August (Ricochet 747)
Carlos Aguilar Match Race 2018, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands : 29 November - 2 December (IC 24)
photo Wagner Araujo
photo Jay Adeff