Final four at WIM Series Sweden

Published on August 11th, 2017

Lysekil, Sweden (August 11, 2017) – After the round-robin stage of the Lysekil Women’s Match advanced yesterday the top four to the Quarter-Finals, the repechage round-robin today would select the next four teams from the remaining group of seven teams competing in this second event on the 2017 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series).

On the waters of off Släggö Island in Lysekil, on the beautiful Swedish west coast, the westerly winds and the bright sunshine continued today to offer sailors and spectators excellent conditions.

Uncharacteristically finding herself in the repechage, World #1 Anna Östling found her form to finish 5-1, with Marinella Laaksonen (FIN), Johanna Bergqvist (SWE), and Alexa Bezel (SUI) also making the cut for the Quarter-Finals.

Östling won the Swedish battle against Caroline Sylvan in their Quarter-Final. “Today we did our job with the right attitude and with really good starts. It was obviously an advantage for us to sail a lot of matches,” Östling says, referring to the six repechage matches.

The speed was definitely not a problem for Renée Groeneveld, who lost her first Quarter-Final match to Marinella Laaksonen of Finland, but then came back with three straight wins. “In the first match our gennaker fell into the water and Marinella could slip by, but in the last three matches we got off the starting line very fast and in the desired position,” noted Groeneveld. “Then we managed to stay ahead all the way round the course.”

Pauline Courtois also went through to the Semi-Finals with a 3 – 1 score over Bezel, and the French skipper is looking forward very much to continue racing tomorrow. “Today we only made very few mistakes, and we’re going to go on like that all the way through the final” Courtois says with confidence, praising the local conditions. “It’s a pleasure sailing, and winning, here in Lysekil!”

After her top placement in the round-robin, Trine Palludan of the Royal Danish Yacht Club defeated local hope Johanna Bergqvist 3 – 0 in their Quarter-Final. But despite the score, the Dane didn’t find the matches very easily won.

“No, definitely not, we had to fight hard for it,” admitted Palludan. “Johanna put herself in good positions, to put the pressure on us, as soon as we made even the slightest mistakes. We got three good matches, that will help us a lot for tomorrow.”

Lysekil Women’s Match finishes with semifinals and final on Saturday.

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Results in the Quarter-Finals
Trine Palludan, DEN – Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 3 – 0
Pauline Courtois, FRA – Alexa Bezel, SUI, 3 – 1
Renée Groeneveld, NED – Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 3 – 1
Anna Östling, SWE – Caroline Sylvan, SWE , 3 – 1

Results in the Repechage Round Robin
1. Anna Östling, Team Anna, SWE, 5 – 1
2. Marinella Laaksonen, L2 Match Racing Team, FIN, 4 – 2
3. Johanna Bergqvist, Team Bergqvist Match Racing, SWE, 4 – 2
4. Alexa Bezel, ChicaCER Women Match Racing Team, SUI, 3 – 3
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5. Linnéa Floser, Peregrine Racing, SWE, 2 – 4
6. Octavia Owen, Athena Racing, GBR, 2 – 4
7. Antonia Degerlund, Team Sköna Vibbisar, 1 – 5

Format: Teams will race Fareast 28R boats with the plan to hold the quarterfinals on Friday (Aug 11), while semis and final will be sailed Saturday. Consequently, the first three days will see the single round-robin and the repechage stage:

Competing skippers with ranking:

Anna Östling, SWE, 1
Local match racing ace and Olympian Anna Östling is not only #1 on the World Sailing ranking, double World Champion and overall winner of the 2016 WIM Series. Last year she also managed to take her first triumph in Lysekil Women’s Match and now will seek to defend her title. To develop their sailing skills and have fun is the ambition of Team Anna, and they are looking forward to race in the brand new Fareast 28R.

Renée Groeneveld, NED, 2
Renée Groeneveld took the World Championship bronze medal in the USA last year, and later she also won the WIM Series finale on US Virgin Islands. This year she finished runner-up in the Helsinki Worlds. In the 2012 Olympic Games in Weymouth, the Dutch sailing star reached the quarter finals. Groeneveld represents Haarlemsche Jachtclub close to Amsterdam, and looks after customer service and planning at Vopak when not sailing.

Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 4
Östlings fellow club member of the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club, 28 years old Caroline Sylvan, finished 5th on the 2016 WIM Series. Currently she’s holding the same spot on the World Sailing ranking, close to Groeneveld. Sylvan participated in all the 2016 WIM Series events, and earlier in her career she sailed a large number of international championships in different dinghy classes.

Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 6
25 years old mathematics student Marinella Laaksonen is not only the highest ranked female Finnish skipper on the World Sailing ranking, but she also has two straight National Championships in Women’s Match Racing. Before getting into match racing, Marinella sailed dinghy classes like Europe dinghy, Zoom 8 and 49erFX. She finished 5th in the World Championship on her home waters of Helsinki earlier this summer, and is doing her second Lysekil event.

Pauline Courtois, FRA, 7
28 years old sport teacher Pauline Courtois from Brest started sailing at seven and racing at nine. She has been in match racing on different positions since 2011. In 2013 she finished runner-up when calling the tactics for Julie Bossard in the WIM Series event in Saint-Quay-Portrieux, and took a bronze medal in the French championships. Pauline finished 7th on the 2016 WIM Series, and this year will be her third in Lysekil.

Trine Palludan, DEN, 8
As a main trimmer and tactician in successful Team Ulrikkeholm, 38 years old Trine Palludan from famous sailing metropolis Hellerup has got three World Championship silver medals. Trine will again be helming the Danish team, as she did in Busan in 2014 and 2016. But steering the boat is not a new task for Trine, who in 2004 became both World and European Champion as an Yngling skipper. When not sailing Trine works as a chiropractor in Frederiksberg, in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 12
Living in small town Grankulla just west from Finnish capital Helsinki, 30 years old Antonia Degerlund represents NJK, the yacht club that introduced matchracing in the country. Antonia is a management consultant at world-renowned company Accenture, also managing her own match racing team since a couple of years. Antonia and her crew states that in their boat the purpose of sailing is to have fun. In the 2016 Finnish Match Racing Nationals they finished 4th.

Alexa Bezel, SUI, 17
In Horgen on the west coast of the elongated Lake Zürich, right where the ferry to Meilen departs, is the home waters of Swiss skipper Alexa Bezel, 25, and her team. Their sailing background is in 470 and Laser as well as in keelboats, multihulls and Volvo Ocean Race. In 2012 the girls in Team ChicaCER came to Lysekil for the first time, and shocked everybody with their runner-up result! In 2015 and 2016 they finished 7th in Lysekil.

Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 18
Team X Match Racing was born just a few years ago as a Swedish team from Gothenburg. Skipper Johanna Bergqvist has already, at age 21, competed at several international regattas in different dinghy classes. Since her debut she’s been able to gain more than 100 spots on the World Sailing match racing ranking, and she was extremely close to getting through to the quarterfinals of this year’s World Championship. Most of her crewmembers have a background in dinghies, but some also have experience in keel-boat racing.

Linnea Floser, SWE, 22
Living in the Swedish capital Stockholm, and representing the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, 25 years old Linnea Floser started her international match racing career in the WIM Series event on US Virgin Islands late last year. She has raced several dinghy classes and is working as the head coach for local sailing club Boo SS, and as skipper at match racing centre At Sea Events. Linnea Floser is a certified personal trainer, and has studied science and meteorology at the Stockholm University.

Octavia Owen, GBR, 26
Youngster skipper of the year is 18 years old Octavia Owen from West Kirby Sailing Club on the British westcoast, just outside Liverpool. In 2015 Octavia was part of the silver team in the team racing worlds, and she also has a silver medal from the Women’s National Match Racing Championships. She began match racing in 2015, after a career in Cadet and Firefly. Her team Athena Racing consists of young women who have sailed together since they were five. They’re now making their WIM Series debut in Lysekil.

Background: The Women’s International Match Racing Series is in its fifth season, providing in 2017 a four-event professional sailing circuit organized by the Women’s International Match Racing Association for the world’s leading women match racing sailors.

2017 Women’s International Match Racing Series
June 16-21 – Women’s Match Racing World Championship – Helsinki, Finland
August 7-12 – Lysekil Women’s Match – Lysekil, Sweden
November 13-18 – Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race – Busan, South Korea
Nov 30-Dec 3 – Carlos Aguilar Match Race – St Thomas, US Virgin Islands

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