WIM Series: Groeneveld wins battle, Östling wins war
Published on December 4th, 2016
St Thomas, USVI (December 4, 2016) – Olympic match racing star Renée Groeneveld and her Dutch team of Annemieke Bes, Lobke Berkhout and Mijke Lievens, won their first WIM Series event ever. They defeated American Stephanie Roble’s Epic Racing 3-0 in the thrilling final of the Carlos Aguilar Match Race, the last event of the 2016 WIM Series.
“Everything fell into place for us, and I’m really happy to sail so well together with my team,” comments Groeneveld, who took the third overall position on the 2016 WIM Series.
While Anna Östling (SWE) had secured the overall WIM Series title following the previous event, the remaining podium positions were up for grabs. By reaching the final, Roble’s team secured the runner-up spot.
After just a short postponement due to very light breeze this morning, Principal Race Officer Darcy Cook got the racing going in the Charlotte Amalie harbour of St Thomas. Groeneveld and Roble both continued their winning streak that started Saturday afternoon, finalising each of their semi finals to dispatch Swedes Caroline Sylvan and Anna Östling with a clear and comfortable 3 – 0 scorecard.
Having lost only two matches during the whole event, Groeneveld looked very strong going into the final matches. The question was how much Roble could capitalize on her local knowledge, having participated in many Carlos Aguilar Match Races over the last few years, with a runner-up finish in the open event in 2015. Apparently the prestarts showed to be more important than ever.
“The starts were tricky because along the shore there wasn’t a lot of breeze, so we had to try to keep the boat going and going,” says Groeneveld. “To win the start and pick the right side was the key today, and I think we did a really good job in the last half minute before the start, to achieve that. Then we had really good teamwork, really good spinnaker sets and drops, and it was good fun too. The flow in our boat was the best. This was the best match racing event I’ve ever been to. Can we please have a WIM Series event here next year again?”
Stephanie Roble, Maggie Shea, Liz Shaw and Janel Zarkowsky of Epic Racing did all they could to prevent Groeneveld & Co from winning the event, but their efforts weren’t enough.
“We were fighting for the starboard side of the course all day, and it was clear they wanted the same,” noted Roble. “Whoever got the starboard side on the first beat was able to extend, and they did a nice job doing that, so props to them. Coming into this event there were five teams in play for second overall, and we knew it was going to be about winning the war, not the battle. That being said, we focused on winning every race we could.”
The all-Swedish petite finale was sailed between two teams who know each other extremely well, both representing the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club. They raced in two tight matches, with lots of lead changes and exciting situations. World Champion and 2016 WIM Series winner Anna Östling of Team Anna proved to be strongest, defeating Caroline Sylvan and her New Sweden Match Racing Team with two straight wins.
“Our day ended really good at this fantastic event,” says Östling, referring to her disappointing 4th place in the Busan event a month ago. “It’s always better to finish a regatta with a win, and now we’re back on the podium again. It was a tough start this morning against Stephanie and her crew, who made a perfect last semi final race while we struggled a lot. They were better than us in these boats and in these conditions. But we learned a lot, and brought that with us into the bronze match.”
For Caroline Sylvan the fourth place in the U.S. Virgin Islands event is her best performance on the 2016 WIM Series.
“I think we sailed really well against Anna today, but unfortunately we got one penalty in each match, although we didn’t agree with the umpires,” Sylvan reports. “I wouldn’t say they decided the whole thing, but they certainly didn’t help us.”
The 2016 WIM Series kicked off with the Helsinki Women’s Match in Finland in June, followed by the Lysekil Women’s Match on the west coast of Sweden in early August. The World Championship and the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA, was held in September, and then the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race in Korea in October.
Finally the Carlos Aguilar Match Race in the sunny U.S. Virgin Islands was, according to WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis, the most perfect way to conclude the fourth WIM Series season. “As I said in the beginning of the week, there is nothing better than finishing the 2016 WIM Series in paradise!”
Carlos Aguilar Match Race Results:
1. Renée Groeneveld, Annemieke Bes, Lobke Berkhout, Mijke Lievens, NED, 25, $2,500
2. Stephanie Roble, Maggie Shea, Elizabeth Shaw, Janel Zarkowsky, USA, 22, $2,000
3. Anna Östling, Karin Almqvist, Linnéa Wennergren, Annie Wennergren, SWE, 20, $1,500
4. Caroline Sylvan, Malin Holmberg, Louise Kruuse Af Verchou, My Karlsten Sfiris, SWE, 18, $1,200
5. Nicole Breault, Eliza Richartz, Sarah Lihan, Sarah Suhich, USA, 16, $1,000
6. Josefine Boel Rasmussen, Trine Bentzen, Lærke Nørgaard, Joan Vestergaard Hansen, DEN, 14, $900
7. Pauline Courtois, Maelenn Lemaître, Bérénice Delpuech, Juliette Le Friec, FRA, 12, $800
8. Antonia Degerlund, Carla Westersund, Daniela Rönnberg, Lisa Gerkman, FIN, 10, $700
9. Johanna Bergqvist, Ellinor Hansson, Johanna Thiringer, Nora Nyborg, SWE, 8, $500
10. Morgan Collins, Julia Wiesner, Mimi Roller, Elleanor Wells, USA, 7, $400
11. Linnea Floser, Hanna Ericksson, Sara Edholm, Raisa Räisinen, SWE, 6, $300
12. Sandy Hayes, Cindy Olsen, Sarah Enwright, Marcy Lake, USA, 5, $200
Results in the final:
Renée Groeneveld, NED – Stephanie Roble, USA, 3 – 0
Results in the petite final:
Anna Östling, SWE – Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 2 – 0
Semi final results:
Renée Groeneveld, NED – Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 3 – 0
Stephanie Roble, USA – Anna Östling, SWE, 3 – 0
Overall results in the 2016 WIM Series:
1. Anna Östling, SWE, 95, $25,000
2. Stephanie Roble, USA, 76, $15,000
3. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 73, $10,000
4. Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 68
5. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 66
6. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 60
7. Nicole Breault, USA, 26
8. Katie Spithill, AUS, 25
9. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 22
10. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 22
11. Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 21
12. Claire Leroy, FRA, 20
13. Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 20
14. Lotte Meldgaard, DEN, 18
15. Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 18
16. Samantha Norman, NZL, 14
17. Sanna Häger, SWE, 14
18. Diana Kissane, IRL, 14
19. Alexa Bezel, SUI, 12
20. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 12
21. Elizabeth Shaw, CAN, 8
22. Susanna Kukkonen FIN, 8
23. Morgan Collins, USA, 7
24. Linnea Floser, SWE, 6
25. Milly Bennett, AUS, 6
26. Gyeong Jin Lee, KOR, 5
27. Sandy Hayes, USA, 5
28. Sanna Mattsson, SWE, 5
The Carlos Aguilar Match Race is a World Sailing Grade One event. The format will feature a full round robin of all teams, followed by knockout quarterfinals for the top eight, and then knockout semi-finals, petit-finals and finals. The event will be sailed in IC 24, a modification of J/24, on December 1 through 4.
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