Final Four Advance at WIM Series Busan
Published on October 28th, 2016
Busan, South Korea (October 28, 2016) – For the top eight teams that had advanced to the quarterfinals in the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, it was cold, rainy, wet and not very windy but yet an eventful day on the waters just outside Haeundae Beach.
At the end of the day it was Claire Leroy (FRA), Lucy Macgregor (GBR), Anna Östling (SWE) and Katie Spithill (AUS) going through to the semifinals. And for Östling, her advancement at the penultimate event of the WIM Series (Women’s International Match Racing Series) was enough for her to secure the 2016 title.
“We’ve wanted to win the WIM Series for so many years, and finally we made it,” said the Swedish skipper. “I’m so proud of my team.”
In the early morning, round-robin winner Claire Leroy surprised most people as she chose compatriot Pauline Courtois to be her quarterfinal opponent. Swedish skipper Caroline Sylvan, who finished the round-robin on 8th place, would perhaps have been a more natural choice.
“We chose between Pauline and Caroline,” Leroy explained. “I haven’t raced either of them very much, but I think Caroline has more experience in bigger boats, as here in Korea, so that’s why we picked Pauline for our quarterfinal.”
Obviously Leroy’s move was right, since she defeated Courtois in two straight matches, for a slot in tomorrow’s semi final.
“The matches were close, but maybe a little bit like a lottery,” Leroy noted. “Weak winds, occasional puffs and a lot of big wind shifts made it very hard today.”
Sylvan faced Lucy Macgregor, and was down 0 – 1 after the first match when a private puff took her around the British team on the last run, for victory in their second match. Before that, two of their matches had been abandoned in the light winds, so they got a lot of prestart exercise. In the last and decisive match, Macgregor broke back to secure her semi final ticket 2 – 1.
“We had to work hard for that today, and I think we deserved to win,” Macgregor comments. “We won all five starts and were ahead also in the abandoned races. And when Caroline came from behind it was a tossing coin situation.”
Australian Katie Spithill raced Trine Palludan, substitute skipper for Danish Team Ulrikkeholm, and had to fight really hard over five matches to advance to the semis with a 3 – 2 score. In the weak winds and shifty conditions Palludan found a speed advantage, forcing Spithill to use every conceivable tool in her match racing skill box. The Aussie had to cause her opponent no less than four penalties to be able to make it.
“I’m happy for the tight racing against Trine, since it taught us a lot for the semis,” says Spithill.
“I think we sailed really well today, but we fell on lack of match racing experience,” Palludan admits.
By defeating American Stephanie Roble 3 – 1 in their quarterfinal, World #1 Anna Östling didn’t only get her Busan semi final slot, but her advancement also gives her a top four finish in this 4th event, meaning no one else can threaten her WIM Series 2016 title.
Never before has a skipper won three WIM Series events in one year, but Anna Östling conquered Helsinki, Lysekil and Sheboygan to gain maximum 75 points before Busan. And she declares that she’s not finished yet.
“By no means,” she declares. “Tomorrow we will do our utmost to take our first victory here in Busan too.”
The Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race will conclude with semis and final on Saturday, October 29.
Claire Leroy, FRA – Pauline Courtois, FRA, 2 – 0
Lucy Macgregor, GBR – Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 2 – 1
Trine Palludan, DEN – Katie Spithill, AUS, 2 – 3
Anna Östling, SWE – Stephanie Roble, USA, 3 – 1
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