Renée Groeneveld is leading after the first day round-robin sailing at the Carlos Aguilar Match Race (CAMR), the 5th and final event of the 2016 Women’s International Match Racing (WIM) Series. The Dutch skipper controlled the shifty conditions in St. Thomas’ Charlotte Amalie, posting five wins and no losses in Thursday’s racing. The USA’s Stephanie Roble shares the runner-up position with Josefine Boel Rasmussen of Denmark.
The racing in Charlotte Amalie harbor kicked off Thursday in slightly different conditions than the sailors with lots of experience in this venue would have expected. The dominant wind direction today, a bit more from the south than the usual easterly breeze, gave the newcomers to the CAMR a better chance to stand up against the event veterans. Still, most of the sailors struggled with the conditions, as the breeze changed often in both strength and direction.
“We got through the round-robin as anticipated and it wasn’t very hard to set a proper course. I think it was tougher for the sailors,” says Principal Race Officer Darcy Cook, who solved the matter by laying two top marks to give the race committee options.
Renée Groeneveld, 2012 Dutch Olympian, mastered the challenges in a most impressive way, going through the day undefeated with five straight wins.
“We made really good starts, especially in our important matches against Roble and Östling. Generally, you just had to be patient out there, look around you and wait for the puffs to come,” the overall leader comments.
The USA’s Stephanie Roble, who the 2015 WIM Series and finished second overall in the 2015 CAMR, enjoyed an exciting match today against this season’s early winner, World Champion Anna Östling from Sweden. As both boats went around the committee boat in the prestart, the Swedish skipper failed to keep clear of Roble in a port tack versus starboard tack situation, earning a penalty for her mistake.
“Anna then got back into the race on the second beat, and we rounded tip to tail at the mark. On the run, we did a fake gybe to get her slow and extended from there,” Roble explains.
For Östling it was game-over as the umpires gave her a second penalty for pumping, a few boat lengths before the finishing line, followed by the black disqualification flag for not immediately making the penalty turn.
“The pumping was a stupid and nervous move from my side, but I don’t agree with the umpires on the black flag,” says Östling. Looking forward to the remaining races, she adds, “We will climb the list; can’t wait for tomorrow!”
With a 4 – 1 score Roble shares the runner-up position in the regatta with Josefine Boel Rasmussen. The latter is normally tactician and mainsail trimmer of the experienced Team Ulrikkeholm of Denmark, but now on very short notice she is substitute skipper for this event:
“I woke up early this morning, super nervous about how to control the boat in the prestarts today. I tried to remember what I’ve seen from my ordinary position, my crew guided me, and it all went way better than we expected,” an obviously very relieved Danish skipper points out.
US Women’s Match Racing Champion Nicole Breault sits on 4th place so far, also with four wins but unfortunately with two losses.
“We adapted to the boats in some exciting initial races, sorting things out. The later races were calmer, as we used our skills in boat handling execution,” she comments.
A graduate of St. Thomas’ Antilles School, All-American sailor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and 2012 Olympian in the Laser Radial, local sailing star Mayumi ‘Mimi’ Roller is for this regatta trimming in an American crew, skippered by Morgan Collins:
“It was a slow start for our team today, but we slowly worked out the kinks and won a race. We’re excited to continue improving,” says Roller, looking forward to a future within match racing, to complete her extensive fleet racing background. “I definitely want to do more. It would be great to have an entire USVI team to compete in not only the Carlos Aguilar Match Race, but also in the WIM Series.”
The round-robin of the Carlos Aguilar Match Race, the 5th and final event of the 2016 WIM Series, continues Friday in the Charlotte Amalie harbour of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The CAMR WIM Series finale is a World Sailing Grade One event. The format features a full round robin of all teams, followed by knockout quarterfinals for the top eight, and then knockout semi-finals, petit-finals, and finals.
The Virgin Islands Sailing Association (VISA) and St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) are the organizing authorities for the CAMR, namesake for the late Carlos Aguilar, who was an avid sailor and loved match racing.
Sponsors for the CAMR include the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; Heineken and Captain Morgan, distributed by Bellows International; Yacht Haven Grande; K3; International Capital & Management Company; Auven Therapeutics; John and Claire Foster; XO Energy; the Prior Family Foundation; Ballerina Jewelers, St. Thomas and St. John; AH Riise, Official Rolex Retailer, U.S. and British Virgin Islands; Self Insurance Consultants, Inc.; and VINow.com
Day One Standings
(name, nationality, wins – losses):
- Renée Groeneveld, NED, 5 – 0
- Stephanie Roble, USA, 4 – 1
- Josefine Boel Rasmussen, DEN, 4 – 1
- Nicole Breault, USA, 4 – 2
- Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 3 – 2
- Anna Östling, SWE, 3 – 2
- Pauline Courtois, FRA, 3 – 3
- Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 3 – 3
- Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 2 – 4
- Morgan Collins, USA, 1 – 4
- Sandy Hayes, USA, 1 – 5
- Linnea Floser, SWE, 0 – 6