Top four advance at WIM Series Sweden

Published on August 10th, 2017

Lysekil, Sweden (August 10, 2017) – In bright sunshine and shifty westerly winds, the round-robin stage of the Lysekil Women’s Match concluded today. Trine Palludan of the Royal Danish Yacht Club was best in the qualifier at 9-1 of this second event on the 2017 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series).

“Now we appreciate getting a little rest before the quarters,” says Palludan, who, thanks to her top spot, can choose her quarter-final opponent.

Alexa Bezel, SUI, was the only skipper to beat Palludan in the round-robin, by taking the start and leading all the way to the finish of their match. The Danes came up close at the bottom mark, but touched the Swiss boat with their gennaker to get penalized.

“After that we felt a little bit safer,” says Bezel.

“We lost too much distance to be able to do something,” Palludan admits.

In Tour de France à la voile earlier this summer, Pauline Courtois crashed with her boat, and a crewmember was so hurt that she couldn’t sail in Lysekil. However, a partly new team doesn’t seem to bother the French skipper, finishing the round-robin in second with eight wins.

“Well, I have to admit we’re a little bit surprised, but I know we can handle gennaker sailing. We’ve raced a lot in J/80s and in First 7.5s,” Courtois explains, looking forward to continue racing in the event. “We like the new Fareast 28R boats and the conditions here in Lysekil, so we’re aiming high.”

Local hope Caroline Sylvan of the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club and the Dutch Match Racing Team’s Renée Groeneveld both finished the round-robin with seven wins and three losses each. Thanks to winning their match with Sylvan, the Dutch skipper places third.

“It wasn’t a bad day for us, but we made some mistakes in the starts,” admits Sylvan. “Generally we had good boat handling, but sometimes we made it a little bit too hard for ourselves. Today we’ve learnt a lot. Because of the shifty conditions we had to change the trim all the time. Another important task was to look out over the course for pressure.”

Palludan, Courtois, Groeneveld and Sylvan are now qualified straight into the quarter-finals, while the remaining seven crews have to continue fighting for the other four spots in a repechage round-robin. Not very expected is to find World #1 and Lysekil defending champion Anna Östling (SWE) among the latter, but she’s not too upset about it.

“It is what it is,” said Östling. “At least we get another six matches to learn more and get even better in these new boats. That’s not a disadvantage.”

The plan is for the Repechage Round Robin stage to be held tomorrow morning and then begin the Quarter-finals later that day, with semis and final to follow on Saturday, August 12.

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Day Three Standings
1. Trine Palludan, Team Kattnakken, DEN, 9-1
2. Pauline Courtois, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 8-2
3. Renée Groeneveld, Dutch Match Racing Team, NED, 7-3
4. Caroline Sylvan, New Sweden Match Racing Team, SWE, 7-3
5. Alexa Bezel, ChicaCER Women Match Racing Team, SUI, 6-4
6. Anna Östling, Team Anna, SWE, 6-4
7. Johanna Bergqvist, Team Bergqvist Match Racing, SWE, 4-6
8. Marinella Laaksonen, L2 Match Racing Team, FIN, 4-6
9. Linnéa Floser, Peregrine Racing, SWE, 2-8
10. Octavia Owen, Athena Racing, GBR, 1-9
11. Antonia Degerlund, Team Sköna Vibbisar, FIN, 1-9

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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