Qualifying Complete at WIM Series Busan
Published on October 27th, 2016
Busan, South Korea (October 27, 2016) – Experience counts when it comes to match racing and Claire Leroy has got loads of it. With two World Championship titles, several years as number one on the world ranking, and double triumphs in the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, Leroy now tops the standings again in the Busan Cup, the 4th event of the 2016 WIM Series (Women’s International Match Racing Series).
At the close of the qualifying single round robin stage, the French skipper leads the 12 teams with a 9-2 score entering the Quarterfinals.
“We really couldn’t imagine this result a couple of days ago, but now we’ll have to make it to the semis,” admits Leroy. “And anything can happen there.”
Leroy and her Mermaid Sailing Team stayed perfect all day to win six straight matches. In testing conditions with 20 knots of shifty and puffy breeze, combined with a lot of swell and some current, Leroy kept her head clear and followed a strategy the team laid out in the morning.
“We tried to be calm and patient in every situation, doing all manoeuvres in the easiest possible way,” Leroy revealed. “I wanted to save my crew, who had a really hard job in the rough weather.”
Some of Leroy’s matches were harder fought than others, and she’s especially mentioning her fierce battle against the Danish Team Ulrikkeholm, with substitute skipper Trine Palludan.
“We won the start, but it was quite close and they could cross in front of us up the first beat,” explained Leroy. “Then we caught a wind shift and managed to get ahead again at the next crossing. From there on I think we had the race, even if it was very close and exciting all the way to the finish,” says the French skipper.”
“The conditions were quite difficult today, with winds shifting a lot in both pressure and direction,” Palludan analyzed. “Generally I think we had our heads a little too much inside the boat, instead of outside it.”
Like Claire Leroy, Lucy Macgregor is a very skilled match racing skipper, with two previous overall wins in the Busan Cup. The British skipper finished runner-up in the round-robin, after winning a three-way-tie with Palludan and Swedish World #1 Anna Östling, all on a 8 – 3 score.
“It was really tough out there today, but my crew did an awesome job in our six straight matches, with nearly no mistakes at all,” notes Macgregor.”But we missed one shift against Anna, and of course she used that to her advantage.”
The local Korean hero Gyeong Jin Lee surprisingly won her match against the British team, when Macgregor got her boat stuck in a fishing net and had to spend some time backing off from it. As the Lee crew got their only victory for the week, they cheered and shouted loudly when coming ashore to their loyal supporters.
“It was just a pure mistake, Macgregor admits. “First we saw the net, but then we lost track of it again in the gusts and the swells.”
Reigning World #1 Anna Östling stresses again that match racing is truly a sailing discipline based on skills and experience, explaining how she could lose her match against Claire Leroy.
“We had a very bad start against Claire, and that’s just not allowed when facing such an experienced skipper,” said Östling. “It’s been very close racing, and I don’t think we’ve made very many mistakes. On the contrary we’ve consistently been sailing quite well.”
American Stephanie Roble is looking forward to the quarterfinals, not too disappointed with her sixth place in the round-robin.
“We had a good day with a lot of fun in the breeze, improving in every race,” shared Roble. “I think we made some really good prestarts too, and sailed the shifts well.”
If the breeze and the swells put all crews to the test, it was probably worst for the young Australian Team Tiger. Their crew members are so small that they can have six people on board, within the same weight limit as the five people teams. Nevertheless they had a hard time in the heavy weather, finishing the round-robin on 11th place with just one victory.
The Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race continues tomorrow with the quarterfinals and the conclusion on Saturday (Oct 29) with semis and final.
Round-robin result (top eight advances to the quarterfinals)
1. Claire Leroy, FRA, 9 – 2
2. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 8 – 3
3. Trine Palludan, DEN, 8 – 3
4. Anna Östling, SWE, 8 – 3
5. Katie Spithill, AUS, 7 – 4
6. Stephanie Roble, USA, 7 – 4
7. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 6 – 5
8. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 5 – 6
9. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 4 – 7
10. Diana Kissane, IRL, 2 – 9
11. Milly Bennett, AUS, 1 – 10
12. Gyeong Jin Lee, KOR, 1 – 10
About the WIM Series
The Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) is the first and only professional sailing series for women, hosted by the Women’s International Match Racing Association and joined by the world’s leading women match racing sailors. Match racing is sailed in two identical boats around a short course, providing fast action close to the crowds on shore. The intense racing is just as exciting for the spectators as it is strategically, tactically and physically challenging for the competing crews.
An overall prize purse of 50 000 USD will be distributed by the WIM Series, in addition to the prize money at each of the events included in the 2016 WIM Series (date, event name, location, boat type):
* June 27-July 1, Helsinki Women’s Match, Helsinki, Finland, J/80.
* August 8-13, Lysekil Women’s Match, Lysekil, Sweden, DS 37.
* September 21-25, Women’s Match Racing World Championship & Buddy Melges Challenge, Sheboygan, USA, Elliott 6m.
* October 25-29, Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, Busan, South Korea, K30.
* December 1-4, Carlos Aguilar Match Race, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, IC 24.
Source: WIM Series