The regatta format for the ISAF Women’s Match Race World Championship was a single round robin, quarterfinals, semis & finals. For the round robin, our goal was to learn as much as we could about the boats, venue and each team we raced. Although it would have been awesome to win the round robin, we were prepared to race anyone in the quarterfinals. We came out of the RR tied for 4th and ultimately losing the tie breaker to place 5th with a 9-3 record. We thought that record would have placed us in the top three but the top 8 was incredibly close!
We ended up racing Claudia Pierce from New Zealand in a first-to-three-point series. Quarterfinals day presented us with some beautiful Irish summer weather: 25 knots, 50 degrees and whipping rain. With a reef in our main we lead the charge off the dock with the semis on our minds. In race 1, we came in hot by giving Pierce a penalty, having a crush start and taking the race. Race 2 we had another strong start but she managed to stay hot on our tail with a few lead changes. We ended up reaching over the top of her on the last run to take the win. For the next two races, the breeze lightened up and we continued to dominate the starts. We had a few miscommunications on what to do with her tactically upwind, however, and she took the next two races. With all pressure on for the 5th race, we reset, took out our reef, and felt more relaxed with a wind shift that presented college sailing conditions (i.e. shifty and puffy). We, again, used our strong pre-start to gain control and led the race around the track.
For the semis, we were paired with Anna Kjellberg from Sweden who is ranked 2nd in the World. We knew we had a tough fight in front of us but were fully physically and mentally prepared for the battle. It was again a breezy, shifty day, 15-18 knots off Camden.
Each race was incredibly close in this series. After a close loss in race 1, we again determined that our pre-starts were our strength. For the next two races we capitalized as much as possible on this, won the right side of the course and ultimately won the next two races. We had great momentum but in race 3 we copped a penalty for not sailing our proper course downwind. We tried to burn the penalty but she got around us. Race 5 left us in a sudden death scenario. Immediately upon entry we gave the Swedes a penalty. All we had to do was stay ahead or stay just close enough to them so they couldn’t make a play. Unfortunately we had a boat handling error that set us behind and she was able to spin her penalty and keep her lead.
It was gut wrenching to lose the series after we put up such a tough fight. We came to shore knowing that we had left everything we had on the water. We were proud of our series and our regatta but we ultimately just ended up having more mistakes than Anna.
On the final day, we raced Caroline Sylvan from Sweden for the last podium spot. We left the dock with a mutual understanding that 4th was not an option for us. We wanted the bronze medal so bad and our flag on the podium. We did exactly that by winning the petite finals.
Although we didn’t claim the World Championship title, we are still stoked about our finish. It was our first World Championship as a team and are still in the running for the overall Women’s International Match (WIM) Series title. We are so happy with how we progressed as a team throughout the week and are very much looking forward to the rest of the season.
We would like to give a special shout out to Helly Hansen for providing us with some sweet swag for our team. Through all the crazy Irish weather patterns, our temperatures were properly regulated.
You can check out daily videos from WIM Series can be here: http://www.wimseries.com/videos/
And finally, THANK YOU to all of you who sent us supportive messages throughout the week and for being an Epic Racing fan!