The ISAF Women's Match Racing Worlds is an annual event which was first held in Genoa, Italy in 1999 after a successful event was held as part of the 1998 ISAF Sailing World Championship in Dubai, UAE.
Skippers are invited to attend the Championship based on their ISAF World Match Racing Ranking position.
The winning team at the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship are crowned World Champions and presented with the ISAF Francoise Pascal Memorial - Women's Match Racing World Championship Trophy. The trophy is named in honour of the late Francoise Pascal, a former Vice-President of the Fédération Française de Voile and a hugely influential figure in the growth of women's match racing.
The first, second and third place overall team receive ISAF Gold, Silver and Bronze medals respectively. In addition, the first-placed skipper following the round robins are presented with the ISAF Nucci Novi Ceppellini Memorial Trophy. The trophy is named after Nucci Novi Ceppellini, ISAF Vice-President from 1998-2008, who passed away in February 2008 after many years dedicated to the sport, with women's match racing one of her particular passions.
Winner in Dubai, Betsy Alison (USA) had to settle for second place in 1999, with Dorte Jensen (DEN) scoring the first of three successive World titles. In 2000 in Florida, USA Marie Bjorling (SWE) provided Jensen with her closest challenge and finished runner up again to Jensen in 2001 on Lake Ledro, Italy with Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN) in third.
In 2002 the World Championship moved to Calpe, Spain and with Jensen leaving the match racing circuit to focus on an Yngling Olympic campaign, the field looked wide open. Bjorling had to be content with a third successive silver medal as Liz Baylis (USA) defeated her 2-1 to take the World crown.
The following year the title did go to Sweden, but it was Malin Millbourn who took the honours on her home waters in Sundsvall. She defeated Bjorling in the semi final before edging a tight title contest with Meldgaard Pedersen 3-2. For Bjorling there was some consolation as she overcame Baylis to take the bronze medal.
In 2003 the Championship moved to Annapolis, USA and with six American sailors in the field, there looked like a great chance of home success. The wind died on the final day and cut the competition short, leaving Sally Barkow (USA), the lowest Ranked of all the competitors, to take the title ahead of fellow American Alison, with Claire Leroy (FRA) finishing third.
In 2005, Bermuda hosted the championship and Barkow successfully defended her title. Fellow American Alison added to her collection of silver medals from the Championship with Leroy again taking the bronze.
Copenhagen, Denmark was the host city in 2006 and Jensen was tempted back to the fray by the chance to compete on her home waters. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Scandinavian teams dominated, with Jensen winning an unprecedented fourth World Championship title, again defeating Bjorling in the final. Linda Rahm (SWE) completed the podium.
After years of dominating the Women's ISAF World Match Race Rankings, Leroy finally claimed the ultimate prize in 2007. Competing at her home yacht club in St Quay, France, the French skipper triumphed to become the 2007 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion. Australia's Katie Spithill finished as runner up to become the first skipper from Oceania to win a medal at the championship, with Denmark's Meldgaard Pedersen in third.
Leroy dominated the competition at Auckland in 2008 to successfully retain her title. American Baylis claimed the silver medal, with Finland's Silja Lehtinen completing the podium.
With the selection of Women's Match Racing as an event for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, the field became even more competitive and in 2009 Nicky Souter (AUS) defeating Bjorling in the final at Lysekil, Sweden.
Great Britain's Lucy Macgregor won the 2010 event in Newport, USA after she defeated Barkow in a tense final which saw the Brit pip the American to the title.
The Women's Match Racing Worlds were combined with the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships from 3-18 December 2011. The regatta saw eight out of 12 London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition spots up for grabs in one of the biggest Match Racing regattas ever put together. Twenty nine teams featured with only one coming out on top. 2011 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) took the title after she defeated Macgregor 4-0 in the final.
The 14th edition of the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship took place from 25-30 June 2012 and saw the twelve Olympic hopefuls come up against each other before London 2012. The title went to Silja Lehtinen and her team from Finland after they defeated defending champion Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) in the final. The bronze medal also went to the USA after Sally Barkow claimed victory from Claire Leroy (FRA).
Busan, Korea hosted the 15th version of the Championship as it ventured to Asia for the first time from 4-9 June 2013. Sailing Bakewell 9m match race boats Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) went on a run of 22 matches with zero defeats. She lost two consecutive matches in the final against Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN) but fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and added a World title to her Olympic Women's Match Racing crown won at the London 2012 Olympic Games.