Surveying the potential women's field, Andrew COX, Vice-Commodore of the host club, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club enthused, 'We are extremely happy to issue invitations to such a distinguished and talented field of women match racers. They will bring exciting competition to this prestigious ISAF World Championship. We know that our PRO, umpires, club volunteers and our sponsors will make this the best match race event of the year for these great sailors and for the world. We hope every one of the twelve who are invited will accept and we look forward to seeing them on Hamilton Harbour in October.'
In addition to competing for the Women's World Championship, each of the twelve skippers and crews will be battling for $25,000 in prize money. The new champion takes home $5,000 and the runner-up $3,500, with the chance for more spoils in the open competition of the ISAF Grade 1 King Edward VII Gold Cup, which follows the Worlds.
Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN (NED) is the defending champion of the ISAF Grade 1 Bermuda International Women's Match Racing Championship sponsored by Cicada in 2004. Last year she went on to defeat Dennis CONNER (USA) in round one of the ISAF Grade 1 King Edward VII Gold Cup. She was then defeated by current ISAF Match Racing World Champion, Ed BAIRD (USA). Jenny AXEHEDE (SWE) was runner up in the Bermuda International and lost in the first round to Russell COUTTS (NZL), the eventual Gold Cup champion. Number one sailor in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, Claire LEROY (FRA), also returns for her second consecutive Bermuda International Women's Match Racing Championship.
If any of the top ten do not accept their invitation by the deadline of the 10 July, invitations will be issued to the next ranked woman or women on the list. The other two slots will be offered to last year's ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship winner, BARKOW, and another woman sailor selected by Bermuda's National Authority, the Bermuda Sailing Association.
The Opening Ceremony for the ISAF Women's Worlds will take place on Friday 14 October and the Prizegiving is on Tuesday 18 October. The Gold Cup Qualifier sailed in International One Design Class boats (IOD) and the ISAF Women's Worlds, using J/24's with a crew of four, will be sailed simultaneously with no breaks... all run in four days.
The first and second placed finishers of the year's ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship will earn an automatic entry to the Investors Guaranty presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup.
The Gold Cup itself will be sailed in IODs from 20-23 October with it's own party and prizegiving. There will be eight seeded teams matched against six from the Qualifier Series and the champion and runner-up from the ISAF Women's Worlds.