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14 October 2005, 01:58 pm
Championship History
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Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2005
Hamilton, Bermuda

On the eve of the 2005 Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship www.sailing.org looks back at the history of the Championship, the previous winners and some of the favourites to lift the ISAF Women's Match Racing Championship Trophy in 2005.
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The ISAF Women's Match
Racing World Championship
medals
© ISAF

Women match racers contested their first World title seven years ago during the 1998 ISAF World Sailing Championship in Dubai, UAE. Betsy ALISON (USA) took the honours ahead of Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN (NED), both of whom will be competing for the World title this year. Dorte JENSEN (DEN) began a very successful career at the Worlds in third.

The following year saw the inaugural ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, which has been held annually since. This time ALISON had to settle for second place with JENSEN scoring the first of three successive World titles. In Florida the following year ALISON was again amongst the medals but this time Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) provided JENSEN with her closest challenge. The following year on Lake Ledro, Italy, BJÖRLING again finished as runner up to the Dane, with another of this year's competitors 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. Having lost twice to JENSEN is the previous two finals, BJÖRLING went to Calpe aiming for that elusive World title. After winning the opening and quarter final round robin and successfully progressing through her semi final match she entered the final as a clear favourite. However BJÖRLING 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 BJÖRLING in the semi final before edging a tight title contest with MELDGAARD PEDERSEN 3-2. For BJÖRLING there was some consolation as she overcame BAYLIS to take the bronze medal.

After taking a break from the match racing circuit shortly after the 2003 Worlds BJÖRLING missed the Championship in Annapolis, USA last year. 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 current number one in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings Claire LEROY (FRA) scoring her best Worlds' finish to date in third.

This year the Championship in Bermuda sees BARKOW return to defend her ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship title as the 2005 Yngling World Champion. BJÖRLING is back in the fold looking for the Worlds' win which has so far alluded her, whilst other strong challenges look set to come, from amongst others, former World Champion ALISON, home favourite Paula LEWIN (BER) and World number one LEROY.

Previous Winners

Year Venue Nation Winner Second Third
2004 Annapolis USA Sally BARKOW (USA) Betsy ALISON (USA) Claire LEROY (FRA)
2003 Sundsvall Sweden Malin MILLBOURN (SWE) Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN) Marie BJÖRLING (SWE)
2002 Calpe Spain Liz BAYLIS (USA) Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) Anne LE HELLEY (FRA)
2001 Lake Ledro Italy Dorte JENSEN (DEN) Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN)
2000 Florida USA Dorte JENSEN (DEN) Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) Betsy ALISON (USA)
1999 Genoa Italy Dorte JENSEN (DEN) Betsy ALISON (USA) Cory SERTL (USA)
1998* Dubai UAE Betsy ALISON (USA) Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN (NED) Dorte JENSEN (DEN)

* contested as part of the ISAF World Sailing Championship

For a complete list of all the news about the Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship CLICK HERE.

ISAF. Image, 2004 Champion Sally BARKOW (far right) with her crew, from left to right, Annie LUSH, Debbie CAPOZZI and Carrie HOWE:© Walter Cooper
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