WIM Series Returns to U.S. Virgin Islands
Published on November 7th, 2018
Twelve of the world’s best women match racers will compete in the 2018 Carlos Aguilar Match Race (CAMR), presented by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, on November 29-December 2. Following a hiatus in 2017 after major hurricanes damaged the island, the CAMR is back and once again hosting the fifth and final event of the 2018 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series).
It’s a perfect scenario: world-class sailors competing in St. Thomas’ Charlotte Amalie harbor, one of the world’s best sailing destinations. “We as organizers have enjoyed watching the world’s best female sailors perform and are happy to offer our wonderful sailing environment,” said Bill Canfield, regatta co-director with Verian Aguilar.
“We believe our event gives the sailors great conditions for sailing and a wonderful environment to relax a bit and enjoy our islands after racing. To our competitors we say, ‘Welcome back! We hope you love it here as much as we do’.”
One of three teams representing France at the WIM Series finale at the CAMR is Match in Pink by Normandy Elite led by skipper Pauline Courtois. Courtois and her crew sailed in the 2016 CAMR, won the 2017 WIM Series and are leading this year’s Series going into the Virgin Islands event.
“It’s a wonderful place to sail in awesome conditions,” Courtois says, of her anticipation at racing in St. Thomas again. “We received a very friendly and warm welcome two years ago and are very excited to visit and sail again.”
Also returning is Sweden’s Johanna Bergqvist and her Team Bergqvist Match Racing.
“We loved everything about our trip to St. Thomas two years ago, from the beautiful island to the boats and people and are preparing for an amazing week in nice weather,” says Bergqvist. “We have climbed the rankings a lot this year and are looking forward to close out this year’s final event with a bang.”
The remaining ten skippers competing with their teams in the WIM Series finale at the CAMR are: 2016 CAMR defending champion, Renee Groeneveld, from the Netherlands; France’s Margot Vennin and Margot Riou; Sweden’s Anna Östling, Linnea Floser, Sanna Mattsson, and Helena Nielsen; Great Britain’s Octavia Owen; and the USA’s Morgan Collins and Janel Zarkowsky.
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.
The CAMR is a World Sailing (WS)-provisional Grade One event. The format will feature a full round robin of all teams followed by knockout quarterfinals for the top 8, then knockout semi-finals, petit-finals and finals. The event will be sailed in IC24, a modification of J/24.
Namesake for the late Carlos Aguilar, who was an avid Virgin Islands’ sailor, the CAMR has traditionally featured highly ranked men’s and women’s match racing teams.
Past winners of the Open Division in the CAMR reads like a Who’s Who of sailing: the USVI’s Taylor Canfield (2008, 2015), USVI’s Peter Holmberg (2009), Portugal’s Alvaro Marinho/Seth Sailing Team (2010), USA’s Sally Barkow (2011), Finland’s Staffan Lindberg (2012) and the USA’s Don Wilson (2013).
Women’s Division winners are just as renowned: the USA’s Genny Tulloch triumphed in 2008 and 2010 and France’s Claire Leroy in 2009. In 2016, the first year the CAMR hosted the WIM Series, Groeneveld and her Dutch team won.
“The WIM Series is very excited to be coming back to St. Thomas after a one-year hiatus due to the hurricanes,” says Liz Baylis, series manager and executive director of the Women’s International Match Racing Association. “From the racing side, we know it will be a very competitive and well-run event as is the standard with past events in St. Thomas. But on a more personal level, we can’t wait to get back and see our friends and offer any support we can helping bring back a semblance of normal after last year’s devastating storms.”
The CAMR is known internationally for introducing young sailors to the sport, working cooperatively with the V.I. government and V.I. Department of Tourism in its efforts to get more of the island’s youth out on the water. As such the event hosts the CAMR Youth Regatta each year.
The Women’s International Match Racing Association (WIMRA) was formed in 1996 and is an international association of women sailors whose mission is to expand and strengthen global match racing and promote opportunities for competitive women’s sailing at every level.
WIMRA created the first and only professional sailing series for women in 2013 – the Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series). The WIM Series delivers a global circuit of competition to test the world’s best sailors in a format of round robin and knock-out matches.
2018 WIM Series Schedule:
June 25-29: Helsinki Women’s Match – Helsinki, Finland (J/80)
August 6-11: Lysekil Women’s Match – Lysekil, Sweden (Fareast 28r)
August 14-18: Women’s Match Racing World Championship – Ekaterinburg, Russia (Ricochet 747)
October 30-November 3: Swiss International Women’s Match – Ascona, Switzerland (J/70)
November 29-Decenber 2: Carlos Aguilar Match Race – St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (IC 24)
2018 WIM Series Results (after 4 of 5 events):
1. Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, Pauline Courtois – FRA, 87
2. Team Kattnakken, Trine Palludan / Henriette Koch – DEN, 85
3. L2 Match Racing Team, Marinella Laaksonen – FIN, 56
4. Swiss Women Match Racing Team, Alexa Bezel – SUI, 46
5. Mermaid Sailing Team / New Sweden Match Racing Team, Claire Leroy – FRA, 41
6. Team Bergqvist Match Racing, Johanna Bergqvist – SWE, 40
7. Matchmoiselles by Normandy Elite Team, Margot Vennin – FRA, 33
8. Team Mac, Lucy Macgregor – GBR, 25
9. ProKaTeam Sailing Team, Ekaterina Kochkina – RUS, 24
10. Team Sköna Vibbisar, Antonia Degerlund – FIN, 24
11. ChicaCER, Laurane Mettraux – SUI, 22
12. APCC Women Sailing Team, Margot Riou – FRA, 21
13. Team Anna, Anna Östling – SWE, 20
14. Team BAAM!, Allie Blecher – USA, 16
15. Swedish Women’s Match Racing Team, Sanna Mattsson – SWE, 16
16. Stockholm Match Racing Team, Sanna Häger – SWE, 15
17. Women On Water, Henriette Koch – DEN, 14
18. Peregrine Racing, Linnea Floser / Hanna Ericksson – SWE, 13
19. BERGAUF Sailing Team, Milena Laverycheva – RUS, 12
20. NZ Match, Celia Willison – NZL, 12
21. Athena Racing, Octavia Owen – GBR, 11
22. BornToSail, Alexandra Martynova – RUS, 10
23. Team Skogman, Jassi Skogman – FIN, 8
24. Dutch Match Racing Team, Renée Groeneveld – NED, 0
24. Team Nielsen, Helena Nielsen – SWE, 0
24. As One, Janel Zarkowsky – USA, 0
24. Caribbean Wind Racing, Morgan Collins – USA, 0
Source: WIM Series