Courtois sweeps in for WIM Series win

Published on December 16th, 2017

Tourville-la-Rivière, France (December 16, 2017) – The sun came out and the crowds followed to see the final day of racing at the 2017 International Bédanne’s Cup and see the champions decided for the 2017 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series). The local fans were not disappointed.

The morning began with each of the semi-finals on match point as Pauline Courtois (FRA) and Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) each led 2-0. With the racing within meters of the shore, the spectators could feel the excitement (and hear the shouts) from the race boats.

Courtois make quick work of her match when Allie Blecher (USA) received two penalties in the pre-start – one for fouling Courtois as the American tried to enter and the second for not entering on time – and then receiving a black flag (disqualification) for failing to take her penalty right after starting.

Margot Vennin (FRA) kept her hopes of advancing alive in the second semi-final as she led the first match against Le Berre from start to finish. But the more experienced team of Le Berre took care of business, stayed focused and sailed well in the shifts to take the series 3-1 to advance to meet Courtois in the finals.

After a short break ashore where the final and petit-final teams were presented on the stage to the spectators, the sailors took to the water to decide the podium places.

In the petit-finals, Vennin and Blecher exchanged wins for the first two matches and the 3rd place on the podium came down to a final deciding match. “The third match was interesting,” explained Vennin. “We had a good start, it was equal, and there was a wind shift. When she tacked, we tacked and we took advantage of that and managed to keep control until the finish.”

Fast forward to the final where Le Berre took the first blood by winning the first match wire to wire, but Courtois quickly put Le Berre on the ropes by winning the next two matches.

The fourth match started well for Le Berre as Courtois received a penalty in the pre-start for gybing along the shoreline when she did not have rights to do so. Le Berre continued to control the start and led Courtois off of the start line with a two boat length lead. But shortly up the first windward leg, Courtois took advantage of a shift and took a slight lead.

The match remained very close. On the second downwind leg Courtois gybed onto starboard just ahead of Le Berre, but Le Berre misjudged the distance and speared Courtois with her bow sprit to receive a penalty. This cancelled Courtois’ earlier penalty and Courtois sailed on to victory, winning the final 3-1.

The celebration on the dock was capped off by Le Berre and her French Match Racing Team surprising Courtois and tossing her in the frigid lake. After swimming ashore, Courtois and her team – Maelenn Lemaître, Louise Acker, and Sophie Faguet – received the inaugural International Bédanne’s Cup and a check for 2500 Euros for their performance.

With the her team’s victory at the International Bédanne’s Cup today, Pauline Courtois (FRA) and her Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team overtook Renée Groeneveld (NED), Trine Palludan (DEN), and Anna Östling (SWE) to jump from 4th in the overall Series standing to the top position for the 2017 WIM Series Championship and put their name on the Terry J. Kohler Perpetual Trophy.

“We are very happy to win the WIM Series,” shared Courtois. “We have looked forward to competing for that from the beginning of the season. And we look forward to trying to do it again next season.”

Final Results:
Pauline Courtois (FRA) defeats Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) 3-1

Petit-final Results:
Margot Vennin (FRA) defeats Allie Blecher (USA) 2-1

Semi-final Results:
Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) defeats Margot Vennin (FRA) 3-1
Pauline Courtois (FRA) defeats Allie Blecher (USA) 3-0

Final Standings (Team – Skipper & Crew – Nationality; Prize Money (Euros); WIM Series Points):
1- Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team –
Pauline Courtois, Maelenn Lemaître, Louise Acker, Sophie Faguet – FRA; 2500; 25
2- French Women’s Match Racing Team –
Anne-Claire Le Berre, Mathilde Geron, Cécile Andrieu, Sigrid Longeau – FRA; 2000; 22
3- Team CVSAE –
Margot Vennin, Juliette Dubreuil, Clotilde Ponçon, Sophonie Affagard – FRA; 1400; 20
4- Team BAAM –
Allie Blecher, Bekah Schiff, Ali Blumenthal, Meg Six – USA; 1000; 18
5- APCC Women’s Sailing Team –
Margot Riou, Clémentine Hilaire, Marion Ledoux, Tiphaine Ragueneau – FRA; 850; 16
6- L2 Match Racing Team –
Marinella Laaksonen, Carla Westersund, Camilla Cedercreutz, Lisa Gerkman – FIN; 800; 14
7- Peregrine Racing –
Linnéa Floser, Karin Hedén, Sara Edholm, Louise Thilo – SWE; 750; 12
8- ProKateam Sailing Team –
Ekaterina Kochkina, Natalia Iureva, Elena Buyanova, Anna Kulkova – RUS; 700; 10
9- Swedish Women’s Match Racing Team –
Sanna Mattsson, Niki Blässar, Louise Lindkvist, Nellie Lindnér – SWE; 0; 8

WIM SeriesEvent detailsResultsFacebook

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.

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

2017 WIM Series Final Standings (Skipper, team, nationality, WIM Series points):
1. Pauline Courtois, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 65
2. Renée Groeneveld, Dutch Match Racing Team, NED, 61
3. Trine Palludan, Team Kattnakken, DEN, 60
4. Anna Östling, Team Anna, SWE, 58
5. Lucy Macgregor, Team Mac, GBR, 48
6. Caroline Sylvan, New Sweden Match Racing Team, SWE, 42
7. Marinella Laaksonen, L2 Match Racing Team, FIN, 42
8. Linnéa Floser, Peregrine Racing, SWE, 26
9. Margot Riou, APCC Women’s Sailing Team , FRA, 23
10. Anne-Claire Le Berre, French Women’s Match Racing Team, FRA 22
11. Alexa Bezel, Swiss Women Match Racing Team, SUI, 21
12. Margot Vennin, Team CVSAE, FRA, 20
13. Johanna Bergqvist, Team Bergqvist Match Racing, SWE, 20
14. Allie Blecher, Team BAAM, USA, 18
15. Mikaela Fors, Pen & Hammer Sailing Team, FIN, 14
16. Ekaterina Kochkina, Team SailWay, RUS, 13
17. Antonia Degerlund, Team Sköna Vibbisar, FIN, 11
18. Sarah Parker, Team Parker, AUS, 10
19. Sanna Mattsson, Swedish Women’s Match Racing Team, SWE, 8
20. Clare Costanzo, Team Costanzo, AUS, 8
21. Octavia Owen, Athena Racing, GBR, 7
22. Martina Karlemo, Team Karlemo, FIN, 6
23. Eunjin Kim, Team Ladies, KOR, 5
24. Sanna Häger, Stockholm Match Racing Team, SWE, 4

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.

Source: WIM Series

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