Bermuda's, Paula LEWIN, will return to Hamilton Harbour for the 2003 Bermuda International Women's Match Racing Championship. Lewin, the reigning champion, will face sailors from the U.S., Denmark and Sweden in competition for $15,000 in prize money.
The winner and runner-up of the Bermuda International Women's Match Racing Championship will advance to Round One of the Investors Guaranty Presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup (October 22-26), the second event of the Swedish Match Tour 2003/04, where they will compete for another $100,000 in prize money.
Lewin, ranked at 17 in the ISAF Women's Match Race Rankings, will have her work cut out. She will compete head-to-head with the crew of current number 1 world-ranked skipper Marie BJORLING (SWE). Jenny AXHEDE, who usually crews for Bjorling, will take over the helm in Bjorling's absence. Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN of the Netherlands, who is ranked number 12 in the world, returns to competition, having placed third in last year's event. American Betsy ALISON, who is ranked number 8 and a past world match racing champion, will make her debut in Bermuda with this event. Also returning from last year are Americans Deborah WILLITS of Houston, Texas (# 16), Elizabeth KRATZIG of Corpus Christi, Texas (#25), Sandy HAYES of Scituate, Mass. (#21) and Sally BARKOW of Nashotah, Wisc., who competed as an unseeded skipper in 2002.
"There will be an increase in the level of competition,"
said Lewin, who is an Olympic hopeful in the Women's Keelboat, the Yngling class, "especially with the skippers who are returning from last year. They are going to be more savvy with the weather and the boats. Our team will have about a week before everyone else arrives for the regatta to practice boathandling in the IODs. And we will prepare exactly the same way as with our Yngling campaign. Every night there is a debrief of the day's racing, a rules discussion and a visualization session on our strategy."
Now in its second year of offering women sailors elite-level competition and a significant prize purse, the Bermuda International Women's Match Racing Championship has become known as one of the premier events on the international women's match racing calendar. "Interest is up with competitors around the world,"
said Lewin. "It's a high profile, well run event that every woman sailor wants to do."
Title sponsor is Investors Guarantyä . The event is hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Bermuda Department of Tourism. Renaissance Reinsurance is the Presenting Sponsor. Primary Sponsors are Bacardi, Colorcraft, Continental Airlines, Coral Beach & Tennis Club, Horizons Resort, Oleander Cycles, Omega, The Waterloo House and Wedgwood.
For further information on the event, click on the event website at the address below