Cream rising at WIM Series finale
Published on December 15th, 2017
Tourville-la-Rivière, France (December 15, 2017) – Another day on Lake Bédanne and another nerve wracking adventure for the sailors with shifty winds, lead changes, and big puffs. The penultimate day of the 2017 International Bédanne’s Cup, the final event of the 2017 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series), brought some exciting matches for the spectators who braved the elements.
The morning started with the quarter-finals to see who would be joining the winner of the double round robin, local hero Pauline Courtois and her Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team in the semi-finals. With light and shifty winds, the premium was on getting ahead and keeping your head out of the boat and playing the shifts.
Anne-Claire Le Berre summed up her quarter-final matches with Linnéa Floser’s Peregrine Racing team: “The lake is very shifty. In our matches with the Swedes we managed to win our starts and stay ahead by concentrating on looking for the shifts and sailing on the good side of the shifts. So, it was good and we won 3-0.”
The other two quarter-finals followed the same pattern as American Allie Blecher’s Team BAAM took care of Margot Riou’s APCC Women’s Sailing Team from Pornichet, France, 3-0 while local Team CVSAE with skipper Margot Vennin defeated the Finnish L2 Match Racing Team skippered by Marinella Laaksonen also with a score of 3-0.
With the quarter-finals complete, Courtois was given the task of choosing her opponent for the semi-finals. “The choice for the semi-finals was very difficult as all of the teams are very good. We chose the American team (Blecher) because we think that our boathandling is maybe a little better.”
So the stage was set for the semi-finals, but first came the battle for the Queen of the Castle – places 5th to 9th in the final standings while the semi-finalists waited ashore. And the competition lived up to expectations with hard fought battles at each step, especially the last match.
Anne Malledant, Bédanne’s Cup Principal Race Officer, had the best view of the Queen of the Castle finish: “I like the game of the Queen of the Castle because it can give the chance for some competitors to get a better ranking. The final of the Queen of the Castle today was totally amazing because they were very, very close and I was ready on the race committee boat with the yellow and blue flags and I didn’t know until the very end who would win. They arrived to the finish in a big gust with luffing spinnakers and just two seconds before the finish Riou passed Laaksonen to take the win. It was great racing.”
After the Queen of the Castle was finished, it was back to the business of the semi-finals. Two flights of the best of five semi-finals were sailed leaving the deciding matches for the final day in Bédanne.
First up was Le Berre versus Vennin and Le Berre gave away some of her team’s semi-final strategy secrets: “Margot is a local team and they can be very good in sailing these boats because they very well know this lake and these boats. So, for us, the aim is to win the starts, with a penalty is better, and stay ahead after because she can sail faster than us.”
Le Berre continued: “In the second match we had a very good fight with Margot. We leading the first downwind, but she got ahead of us on the run when she chose the better side. Just before the leeward mark we gybed and with a big luff we crossed behind her to take the left gate mark and we stayed ahead until the end of the match and go up 2-0.”
Next up came Courtois versus Blecher. Courtois gave credit to her crew for the two wins over Blecher’s team: “My crew did a great job with boat handling, especially on very fast spinnaker sets at the windward mark and very good roll gybes to keep us going very fast.”
In addition to the final of the International Bédanne’s Cup, the WIM Series Final podium will also be decided tomorrow. Pauline Courtois (FRA) has the opportunity to overtake Renée Groeneveld (NED) for the top place and put her name on the Terry J. Kohler Perpetual Trophy for the 2017 WIM Series Championship with a win in the semi-finals. If Courtois does not make the finals here, then Groeneveld will win the WIM Series Championship.
The International Bédanne’s Cup in Tourville-la-Rivière, France, finishes with the completion of the semi-finals, finals, prize giving and closing ceremonies on Saturday, December 16.
Semi-final Results (after two flights of “first to 3 points” knock-out):
Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) leads Margot Vennin (FRA) 2-0
Pauline Courtois (FRA) leads Allie Blecher (USA) 2-0
Allie Blecher (USA) defeats Margot Riou (FRA) 3-0
Margot Vennin (FRA) defeats Marinella Laaksonen (FIN) 3-0
Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) defeats Linnéa Floser (SWE) 3-0
Queen of the Castle Results:
5th / 6th: Margot Riou (FRA) defeats Marinella Laaksonen (FIN) 1-0
6th / 7th: Margot Riou (FRA) defeats Linnéa Floser (SWE) 1-0
7th / 8th: Linnéa Floser (SWE) defeats Ekaterina Kochkina (RUS) 1-0
8th / 9th: Ekaterina Kochkina (RUS) defeats Sanna Mattson (SWE) 2-1
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