Challenging winds at WIM Series
Published on November 30th, 2018
St Thomas, USVI (November 30, 2018) – Each of the clouds that continually paraded over the Charlotte Amalie harbor today brought with them a different microclimate and meteorological condition. These natural elements tested the tactical skills of the 12 international teams who raced the first full round robin’s flights 12 through 19 on the second day of racing in the 2018 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) Finale, hosted at the Carlos Aguilar Match Race (CAMR).
For some teams, reading the wind shifts correctly proved advantageous to out-distancing a competitor. French skipper Pauline Courtois did with aplomb, as she and her Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team of Maëlenn Lemaître, Louise Acker and Sophie Faguet remain undefeated and in the lead. For others, like Swedish skipper Johanna Bergqvist and her Bergqvist Match Racing team, it meant the chance for a come-from-behind victory.
“In one race today, we were a few boat-lengths behind our competitor. We told ourselves to stay calm and stay close to our opponent because anything can happen. We kept our eyes far out on the water looking for wind and sure enough were able to take the next shift to get ahead and win,” says Bergqvist, who started competing in the WIM Series in 2015, sailed in the 2016 WIM Series Finale at the CAMR and is now racing with crew Isabelle Bergqvist, Beata Törneman, Johanna Thiringer.
Bergqvist and her team are currently second overall behind France’s Courtois with seven wins and only one loss to the Netherland’s Renee Groeneveld’s Dutch Match Racing Team.
“We’re looking forward to finishing the round robin and take it from there as to what teams we’ll be facing hopefully in the semi-finals,” says Bergqvist.
Another team with a come-from-behind victory today was French skipper Margot Riou and her APCC Women Sailing Team.
“We sailed eight matches total by early this afternoon and won five,” says Riou, who earned a silver medal at the 2017 French Women’s Match Racing Championship and for this event is sailing with crew Clémentine Hilaire, Caroline Vandame, Laurane Mettraux.
“In one of those this morning, we were behind. Then, we were able to put a penalty on our opponent (Great Britain and Athena Racing skipper Octavia Owen). In the time it took her to do her penalty turn, we found just enough breeze to move ahead and win. That’s what we like about match racing, and especially at this event. The racing is very close and exciting.”
It’s the never-know-what-will-happen excitement of the shifting winds that Owen enjoys.
“Sailing can be very difficult when its very light and challenging too when its too heavy,” says Owen. “What I like here is that you are never stuck in one condition. There is a lot of wind channeling here and finding those channels is a challenge and a reward. As a result, our game plan is to keep it simple, to not overthink and to take each race anew and on its own.”
Owen had won a silver medal at the then-ISAF Under 19 Team Racing World Championship at age 15, making her debut in the WIM Series in 2017 and in this event is sailing with crew Ruby Riggs, Amber Riggs and Hebe Hemming.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, it is Courtois, Bergqvist, Sweden’s Anna Ostling, and France’s Margot Vennin, who are strong contenders to move into the semi finals of the 2018 WIM Series Finale at the Carlos Aguilar Match Race.
Vennin, skipper of the Matchmoiselles by Normandy Elite Team, and her team of Marie Zugolaro, Juliette Dubreuil and Sophonie Affagard proved quick studies on the harbor’s wind conditions and this has contributed to their high standings.
“We began the first day of racing against two teams we never sailed against, the USA’s Morgan Collins and Sweden’s Helena Nielsen, and won,” says Vennin. “Then our third race was against Octavia and we won that too. We were happy with that result and became more comfortable in the next matches. I think our success is reading the puffs correctly at the start, good speed off the line and good team work throughout the match.
Vennin, who is an engineering student from Paris and achieved a top ten finish at the 420 World Championships, began match racing in 2016 and has raced in all five of the 2018 WIM Series events.
Racing continues tomorrow starting at 9 a.m. local time.
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. Racing continues tomorrow at 9 a.m. local time.
Racing is planned for November 29-December 2.
Standings after 19 Flights (of 22) in the Round Robin
1. Pauline Courtois, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 8-0
2. Johanna Bergqvist, Team Bergqvist Match Racing, SWE, 7-1
3. Anna Östling, Team Anna, SWE, 7-1
4. Margot Vennin, Matchmoiselles by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 6-2
5. Renée Groeneveld, Dutch Match Racing Team, NED, 8-3
6. Margot Riou, APCC Women Sailing Team , FRA, 5-3
7. Octavia Owen, Athena Racing, GBR, 5-6
8. Janel Zarkowsky, As One, USA, 4-7
9. Morgan Collins, Caribbean Wind Racing, USA, 3-8
10. Helena Nielsen, Team Nielsen, SWE, 2-9
11. Linnea Floser, Peregrine Racing, SWE, 1-7
12. Sanna Mattsson, Swedish Women’s Match Racing Team, SWE, 1-10
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