World's top women match racers head to JPMorgan Asset Management Women's Winter Challenge Final this weekend 21/2/07

The 2007 JPMorgan Asset Management Women’s Winter Challenge Final will host one of the most competitive line ups the series has seen yet with five teams in the top ten of the women’s world rankings competing this weekend.

Ten teams from seven countries will gather at Queen Mary Sailing Club, Staines over a three-day weekend (23-25 February) to fight for the top prize and for a berth in the JPMorgan Asset Management Grand Final (9-11 March).

Claire Leroy from France, ranked number one in the women’s world rankings, has already earned her spot in the Grand Final after out sailing the male teams in qualifier five of the Winter Challenge series.

Former Women’s Match Race World Champion Klaartje Zuiderbaan from the Netherlands will also compete. She recently finished third in the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final.

Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, ranked second in the women’s world rankings will make the trip from Denmark, as will fellow national Camilla Ulrikkeholm, both ready to compete on the Queen Mary Reservoir and to test their skills against the predominantly European line-up.

After losing out to Leroy at the JPMorgan Women’s Final in 2006, Jenny Axhede, Sweden’s Female National Champion, will be hoping to go one better in 2007 and beat out her opponents for a berth in the Grand Final.

Finland’s Silja Lehtinen will swap her Olympic Class Yngling for one of the RYA’s J80s at the weekend event while Great Britain’s Josie Gibson from London, ranked eighth and Great Britain’s top female mach racer will also join the line-up.

Recent Olympic campaigner turned match racer, Gemma Farrell from Aylesbury, who has been steadily climbing the women’s rankings, jumping 17 places in the last six months, will also field a team.

Southampton’s Katie Archer, Great Britain’s current Women’s National Champion has attended several winter challenge events and will hope that her local knowledge will give her an advantage over the other competitors.

Ireland’s Mary O’Loughlin will bring the tenth team to the event with hopes of a positive finish at the Women’s Final.


Claire Leroy (FRA) 1

Lotte Meldgaared Pedersen (DEN) 2

Klaartje Zuiderbaan (NED) 3

Josie Gibson (GBR) 8

Jenny Axhede (SWE) 9

Gemma Farrell (GBR) 12

Silja Lehtinen (FIN) 15

Camilla Ulrikkeholm (Den) 19

Mary O’Loughlin (IRL) 30

Katie Archer (GBR) 42