Qualifying complete at WIM Series finale
Published on December 14th, 2017
Tourville-la-Rivière, France (December 14, 2017) – The qualifying double round robin series concluded today to decide the quarter-finalists at the International Bedanne’s Cup – the final event of the 2017 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series).
Pauline Courtois (FRA) and her Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team kept hold of the top spot by sailing a flawless undefeated second round robin.
Needing to complete four flights today in the double round robin stage, the overall order of the stage was still undecided. But with a loss by Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) in her first match of the day to Allie Blecher (USA) and a win by Pauline Courtois (FRA) over her fellow Club de Voile Saint Aubin Elbeuf (CVSAE) sailor Margot Vennin (FRA), the free pass to the semi-finals was settled in favour of Courtois.
“The key for our team was to stay focused for each match and we use each match to improve as a team,” said Courtois. “We enjoy sailing here as we have very good fans who come out to cheer us on!”
The event format advances Courtois directly to the semi-finals with the positions from second to seventh will be now sailing the quarter-finals. “We think it’s difficult to stay ashore tomorrow as it will be difficult to stay focused on the competition,” admitted Courtois. “But we are very happy to sail on the final day and know that we are happy, for sure, to be in the semis!”
The tension remained until the last flight of the round robin as the final spot in the quarter-finals was up for grabs. It came down to the battle of Sweden – Sanna Mattsson (Swedish Women’s Match Racing Team) from Gothenburg and Linnea Floser (Peregrine Racing) from Stockholm.
The pre-start was lively with lots of close manoeuvring and a few green flags before Floser came off the start line with a slight advantage as she was ahead but in the lee bow position. The boats sailed off towards the clubhouse side of the lake where Floser was able to tack and just cross on port. She extended her slight lead in a nice puff and secured the advantage when Mattsson’s team had a messy drop at the leeward mark. The Stockholm team celebrated with high fives at the finish.
While the winner of the round robin, Pauline Courtois, looked on, the next six teams made the draw for quarter-finals. Anne-Claire Le Berre was given the first choice of opponent and chose the last qualifier, Linnea Floser. Margot Vennin chose Finnish skipper Marinella Laaksonen leaving American Allie Blecher to sail against Margot Riou.
The quarter-finals are scheduled as ‘first to score 3 points’ (or best of five) and will begin tomorrow morning followed by the racing to finalize the lower places in the overall standings.
This stage, called the Queen of the Castle, will see the bottom two teams from the round robin face off in a knock-out series with the winner surviving to fight another race against the lowest ranked losing quarter-finalist. This pattern continues until the fifth place team is confirmed. There is a difference in prize money from 5th to 9th of 850 Euros, so there is more than pride to play for in this stage.
The International Bédanne’s Cup in Tourville-la-Rivière, France, moves to the knock-out stages tomorrow with the quarter-finals and Queen of the Castle before finishing with the semi-finals, finals, prize giving and closing ceremonies on Saturday, December 16.
Standings in the 2017 International Bedanne’s Cup after completion of the double round-robin (skipper, nationality, team, points):
1- Pauline Courtois, FRA, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, 15
2- Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, French Women’s Match Racing Sailing Team, 12
3- Margot Vennin, FRA, Team CVSAE, 11
4- Allie Blecher, USA, Team BAAM, 11
5- Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, L2 Match Racing Team, 7.5
6- Margot Riou, FRA, APCC Women’s Sailing Team, 6
7- Linnéa Floser, SWE, Peregrine Racing, 4
8- Sanna Mattsson, SWE, Swedish Women’s Match Racing Team, 3
9- Ekaterina Kochkina, RUS, ProKateam Sailing Team, 2
Nine teams from five countries is planned for December 12-16.
Skippers in the International Bedanne’s Cup, the final event of the 2017 WIM Series, in Tourville-la-Rivière, France, France (name, nationality, team name, world ranking as of November 15):
Pauline Courtois, FRA, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, 5
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 finished runner-up in Lysekil and recently won the French Women’s Match Racing Championship.
Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, L2 Match Racing Team, 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 49er FX. She finished 5th in the World Championship on her home waters of Helsinki earlier this summer and made the quarterfinals in Lysekil.
Linnea Floser, SWE, Peregrine Racing, 13
Living in the Swedish capital Stockholm, and representing the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSS), 24 years old Linnéa Floser made her debut on the WIM Series at the 2016 Carlos Aguilar Match Race event in St Thomas. She has raced several dinghy classes and is working as a personal trainer at SATS Lidingö and as a skipper at the At Sea Events match racing centre. Floser’s match racing career started in 2015, with fast climbing to her current ranking position. Linnéa Floser is a certified personal trainer, and has studied science and meteorology at the Stockholm University, and now works as the Chief Operations Officer at At Sea Events.
Sanna Mattsson, SWE, Swedish Women’s Match Racing Team, 20
This 25 years old Swede’s whole life seems to be about sailing. Sanna Mattsson graduated from the Sailing High School in Lerum, Sweden, five years ago. She is hired by the Swedish Sailing Association to coach RS Feva sailors, and she’s also training new coaches for the West Coast Sailing Association. With a background in several dinghy classes, in the spring of 2016 Sanna formed a brand new match racing team and made her WIM Series debut in Helsinki. After competing successfully this year in Sweden, the team returns to the WIM Series for 2017 finale in France.
Ekaterina Kochkina, RUS, ProKateam Sailing Team, 28
Ekaterina Kochkina may be young, but she has accomplished a lot since starting as a youth 14 years ago in the Optimist and working her way up through dinghies to match racing in keelboats. She was bitten by the match racing bug in 2012 and now completely devotes herself to match racing when not working as a sailing instructor at the Moscow Sailing Academy. Her list of top finishes include silver medals at the last 3 open Russian National Match Racing Championships with her eye on the gold this year. Kochkina made her WIM Series debut in 2017 in Helsinki for the Women’s Match Racing World Championship and she returns to compete in France with her ProKateam Sailing Team.
Margot Vennin, FRA, Team CVSAE, 43
As one of the youngest skippers on the WIM Series, Margot Vennin, 21, makes her skipper debut on the WIM Series at the 2017 International Bedanne’s Cup. When not racing Margo is an engineering student from Paris. She only began match racing in September of 2016 following a successful international career in dinghies with a top ten finish at the 420 World Championship and winning the French Inshore Youth Championship as crew. Margot and her team from the local club, CVSAE, hope to be competitive at the Bedanne’s Cup and carry that into further success on the WIM Series in 2018.
Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, French Women’s Match Racing Sailing Team, 51
35 years old Anne-Claire Le Berre from Brest on the Atlantic coast of France returns to the match racing circuit after second child and a job change. She has match raced since 2005 and achieved the world number 1 ranking in early 2016. She has done three Olympic campaign – 4 years each in the 470, Yngling, and match racing. Anne-Claire Le Berre is a naval architect currently working in Lorient as an engineer for the Imoca 60 offshore team Initiatives-coeur with skipper Sam Davies preparing for the Vendée Globe 2020. When she has time, her primary sailing is match racing with a silver medal at the Worlds in 2016 and winning the Busan Cup in 2015.
Margot Riou, FRA, APCC Women’s Sailing Team, 56
Margot Riou has put together a young team of students who share the same passion for sailing with the same motivation for competition and formed the APCC Women’s Sailing Team (Equipage Féminin – APCC). The team from Pornichet is making a mark on the J/80 fleet racing circuit in France as well as the match racing circuit. Riou and her team come to the Bedanne’s Cup with a recent a silver medal performance at the 2017 French Women’s Match Racing Championship.
Allie Blecher, USA, Team BAAM, unranked
Allie Blecher makes her debut on the WIM Series at the 2017 International Bedanne’s Cup. Although she is currently unranked in the world match racing ranking, you can’t take her lightly. She is a four-time US Collegiate All-American from the formidable College of Charleston Sailing Team where she earned Quantum Women’s Sailor of the Year honors – the highest honor you can receive. Since graduating, she has progressed from competing in Laser Radial dinghies to 49erFX skiffs and more recently keelboats – J/70s and Melges 32s and started match racing. While not sailing she works as a Procurement Analyst in the aerospace industry in Southern California.
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 – Cancelled
December 12-16 2017 International Bedanne’s Cup – Tourville-la-Rivière, France
WIM Series Standings (After 3 events)
1. Renée Groeneveld, Dutch Match Racing Team, NED, 61
2. Trine Palludan, Team Kattnakken, DEN, 60
3. Anna Östling, Team Anna, SWE, 58
4. Pauline Courtois, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 52
5. Lucy Macgregor, Team Mac, GBR, 50
6. Caroline Sylvan, New Sweden Match Racing Team, SWE, 42
7. Marinella Laaksonen, L2 Match Racing Team, FIN, 38
8. Alexa Bezel, Swiss Women Match Racing Team, SUI, 21
9. Johanna Bergqvist, Team Bergqvist Match Racing, SWE, 20
10. Mikaela Fors, Pen & Hammer Sailing Team, FIN, 14
11. Linnéa Floser, Peregrine Racing, SWE, 14
12. Antonia Degerlund, Team Sköna Vibbisar, FIN, 11
13. Sarah Parker, Team Parker, AUS, 10
14. Clare Costanzo, Team Costanzo, AUS, 8
15. Octavia Owen, Athena Racing, GBR, 7
16. Margot Riou, APCC Women’s Sailing Team , FRA, 7
17. Martina Karlemo, Team Karlemo, FIN, 6
18. Eunjin Kim, Team Ladies, KOR, 5
19. Sanna Häger, Stockholm Match Racing Team, SWE, 4
20. Ekaterina Kochkina, Team SailWay, RUS, 3
Source: WIM Series