Courtois claims WIM Series 2019 title
Published on October 16th, 2019
Shanghai, China (October 16, 2019) – The racing at the fifth day of inaugural China International Women’s Match Race took off in perfect racing conditions for the semi-finals and finals, a path that proved smooth for Pauline Courtois’ number one ranked team (above) to win the event and the overall 2019 WIM Series title.
The racing in stellar 12-15 knots of northerly wind along the shore of Dishui Lake allowed spectators to follow the matches as the sailors maneuvered right in front of the docks under a sunny Shanghai sky.
Despite losing to Clare Costanzo’s team (AUS) in the round robin, Courtois (FRA) chose the Australian as her opponent in the semi-finals during the draw at the morning briefing. This left Johanna Bergqvist (SWE) and Celia Willison (NZL) to fight in the other semi-final match.
Due to time constraints, the semi-finals were shortened to the best of three matches and they both turned out to be quick affairs, with both the Swedes and French rolling over their opponents 2-0 as the two top-ranked teams invited to the regatta never giving their opponents a chance to pass in the semis.
The afternoon racing was all about the podium places with the petit final first out of the gate. We saw Willison’s New Zealand team win the first race in a comfortable way. But in the second race of the petit final, the Australians were ahead and the match was still on until near the end of the last downwind leg when the Kiwis caught a puff and managed to pass and win by only one boat length to earn the third place step on the podium.
“Our team’s goal coming into the event was to make the semi finals so to finish 3rd in our second WIM event feels awesome,” shared Willison. “I’m really proud of how hard the girls have worked this week considering the close competition.
“It was upsetting to lose to Johanna and her team in the semi final, but her team sailed really well. The girls bounced back like champions to finish in 3rd place. Thanks to all the other teams for the close racing, and thanks to the race officials and volunteers for making it a great event!”
This left the finals and one remaining question – Could the Swedes, ranked #3 in the world, give the French team who has been sitting at the top of the World ranking since 2018 a run for the top prize money?
In the first two matches of the final, the French team sailing with precision and not giving the Swedish team any opportunities to pass. After two losses all pressure was on the Swedish team, they had to win; if not it would be over.
In the third pre-start Courtois was in control until the last minute when Bergqvist managed to get out of the French grip and in the same move put a penalty on Courtois. After the intense start with both teams showing their emotions, the match became tight with Bergqvist ahead extending upwind and Courtois closing the gap downwind. But Bergqvist never let Courtois come close enough to offset her penalty. The game was still on!
In the fourth match Team Bergqvist again pushed hard in the pre-start and came off the line at the favored end and with better speed. The French team showed better patience and made the tactical call of the match on the first upwind as they waited for the left shift in the breeze at the top of the course and passed the Swedes. They held on to the finish and took the win.
Courtois showed she is #1 in the world and safely sailed into the finish as the winner of the first ever grade one match racing event for women in China and her team takes home the top prize of $10,000 USD and some beautiful necklaces provided by Jenecca Fine Jewelry.
“We have had a really good time together on the water today but unfortunately we didn’t make it all the way this time,” noted Bergqvist. “We sailed with confidence in the semifinals and managed to secure our spot in the finals but Pauline was too good today. We still have some lessons to learn before we can beat her. We love the challenge though and are looking forward to racing her again in the future!”
“It has been intense all day long and we couldn’t let up,” said Courtois. “Every meter was important and we are overjoyed about the way we sailed! We really enjoyed this great event on such nice boats against so many very good teams. We’d like to thank all the teams, but also the efficient race committee, WIMRA and the organizers.”
With their victory in Shanghai, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team secured their third consecutive WIM Series title. They are joined on the 2019 WIM Series podium by Team WINGS skippered by Anna Östling (SWE) in second place, and fellow French team Matchmoiselles by Normandy Elite team in third.
Format: Racing in the Fareast 28R was from October 12 to 16, beginning with the round robin in which the top four teams advance to the quarterfinals while the next six had a second change in the repechage stage to advance to the quarter-finals. The semi-finals and finals concluded the event.
Final Standings – China International Match Race 2019
1. Pauline Courtois, Maëlenn Lemaître, Louise Acker, Nathalie Corson, Claire Pruvot; Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 25, $10,000 USD
2. Johanna Bergqvist, Isabelle Bergqvist, Johanna Thiringer, Beata Törneman, Julia Carlsson; Team Bergqvist Match Racing, SWE, 22, $4,700 USD
3. Celia Willison, Charlotte Porter, Ruby Scholten, Paige Cook, Alison Kent; Edge Racing, NZL, 20, $3,900 USD
4. Clare Costanzo, Juliet Costanzo, Emma Harrison, Jessica Grimes, Anneliese Scholten; Fusion Australia, AUS, 18, $3,100 USD
5. Margot Riou, Clémentine Hilaire, Tiphaine Ragueneau, Marie Zugolaro, Blandine Jaffrain; APCC Women Sailing Team, FRA, 16, $2,700 USD
6. Ekaterina Chashchina, Daria Istratova, Anna Sannikova, Aleksandra Voloshenko, Aleksandra Shutafedova; Seven Feet Team, RUS, 14, $2,400 USD
7. Lea Richter Vogelius, Annette Strøm, Helle Jespersen, Sille Christensen, Joan Wester Hansen; Team Kattnakken, DEN, 12, $1,900 USD
8. Margot Vennin, Juliette Dubreuil, Clotilde Ponçon, Chloé Salou, Sophonie Affagard; Matchmoiselles by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 10, $1,300 USD
9. Xiaowen Ni, Xufeng Huang, Xiaoni Li, Shuke Zheng, Tingting Pan; Team FAREAST Ladies, NZL, 8
10. Megan Thomson, Serena Woodall, Anna Merchant, Chelsea Rees, Rebecca Gmuer Hornell; 2.0 Women’s Racing, CHN, 7
11. Eunjin Kim, Songeun Ku, Jiseon Moon, Yunseo Cho, Dongmin Kim; Team Ladies, KOR, 6
12. Yuting Lu, Li Li, Yangi Cui, Ziyi Wang, Yingda Li, Dan Sun; Team Join Sailing Ladies, CHN, 5
Final Standings – WIM Series 2019 (three events)
1.Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, Pauline Courtois – FRA, 70
2.WINGS, Anna Östling – SWE, 38
3.Matchmoiselles by Normandy Elite Team, Margot Vennin – FRA, 35
4.Team Bergqvist Match Racing, Johanna Bergqvist – SWE, 34
5.Team Kattnakken, Trine Palludan / Lea Richter Vogelius – DEN, 34
6.Team Emerson, Marie Björling Duell – SWE, 30
7.APCC Women Sailing Team, Margot Riou – FRA, 28
8.Team Mac, Lucy Macgregor – GBR, 25
9.L2 Match Racing Team, Marinella Laaksonen – FIN, 25
10.Mermaid Sailing Team, Claire Leroy – FRA, 22
11.Edge Racing, Celia Willison – NZL, 20
12.Fusion Australia, Clare Costanzo – AUS, 18
13.Dutch Match Racing Team, Renée Groeneveld – NED, 18
14.Seven Feet Team, Ekaterina Chashchina – RUS, 14
15.Vela Racing, Nicole Breault – USA, 10
16.No Name Sailing Team, Chloé Le Bars – FRA, 10
17.2.0 Women’s Racing, Megan Thomson – NZL, 8
18.Team FAREAST Ladies, Xiaowen Ni – CHN, 7
19.Team Ladies, Eunjin Kim – KOR, 6
20.Swiss Women Match Racing Team, Alexa Bezel – SUI, 6
21.Team Join Sailing Ladies, Yuting Lu – CHN, 5
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.
2019 WIM Series Schedule:
June 6-9 – Normandie Match Cup 2019 – Le Havre, France
August 6-10 – Women’s Match Racing World Championship (Lysekil Women’s Match) – Lysekil, Sweden
October 11-16 – China International Women’s Match Race – Shanghai, China
Source: WIM Series