The Dutch match racing star Renée Groeneveld earned her right to select her quarterfinal opponent by winning the round-robin on the second day of racing at the Carlos Aguilar Match Race (CAMR), the 5thand final event of the 2016 WIM Series, by a score of 10 wins and 1 loss. “We’ll take a good look at the round-robin score sheet and then make our pick,” says Groeneveld, who says she’ll wait until Saturdaymorning to reveal her choice. The only skipper to defeat Groeneveld was Pauline Courtois of France, one of her four contestants for the 2016 WIM Series runner-up position. All the others – Stephanie Roble (USA), Caroline Sylvan (SWE) and Josefine Boel Rasmussen (DEN) – also made it through to the quarter-finals.
With two of the 2016 WIM Series podium finishes still up for grabs, the conclusion of the round-robin on the beautiful waters of Charlotte Amalie harbor, showed some extraordinary tight and exciting racing. The match between Groeneveld and Courtois was certainly not an exception, but it was different from the Dutch skipper’s other matches in that the French skipper took an early command. A key situation occurred as the match reached the bottom mark and ran into the prestart maneuverings by the pair in the following match.
Courtois intelligently used the disorder surrounding the mark, perfectly executed her rounding, and came out of the difficult situation with an even stronger lead than before.
“We used the boats in the other match to our advantage and from there on we could just stretch away from Renée,” says the French skipper, who secured her quarterfinal spot to remain in the fight for the overall 2016 WIM Series podium places.
“We had an overlap at the rounding, but Pauline locked us out so we couldn’t gybe to reach the mark. And after her smart move it was sort of game over for us,” sighs Groeneveld, still happy with her round-robin performance. “Yes, we’ve been working very good as a team, generally with solid sailing. We know we’ll have to do really well during the weekend, to have a chance in the overall WIM Series results,” she comments.
Stephanie Roble and her Epic Racing team finished the round-robin in second place, with just one win less than the Dutch winners. A particularly difficult fight for the Americans was the one against Caroline Sylvan of Sweden.
“I think we beat ourselves in that match, not using the opportunities enough. But there were good learning moments that will make us better for the next rounds,” says Roble.
“Our race against Stephanie certainly was a great one. If we keep on improving in that way, we’ll be able to go very far in this regatta,” says Sylvan, who also beat compatriot and reigning World Champion Anna Östling in their match.
Josefine Boel Rasmussen, substitute skipper of Danish Team Ulrikkeholm, had a tough day with six matches in a row on the U.S. Virgin Island waters. She was virtually thrown into the skipper position earlier this week, as Trine Palludan had to head back home due to a family emergency. But after many years on different positions on board, Boel Rasmussen is no stranger to high-level competition on the WIM Series. And she’s taken on her new task with great dedication.
“It’s definitely a great feeling to have the support from the rest of the girls in my team” says Rasmussen.
The Carlos Aguilar Match Race, the 5th and final event of the 2016 WIM Series, continues Saturday with the quarterfinals and the 9th to 12th place sail-offs, in the Charlotte Amalie harbor of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
In addition, on Saturday, the Carlos Aguilar Youth Regatta will take place starting at 11:30 a.m. Twenty-two 8- to 17-year-old students enrolled in the MVP (Marine Vocational Program), will team up with WIM Series skippers for three short fleet races in the harbor.
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.
Day Two Standings (name, nationality, wins – losses):
The first eight move on to the quarterfinals:
2. Stephanie Roble, USA, 9 – 2
3. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 7 – 4
4. Nicole Breault, USA, 7 – 4
5. Anna Östling, SWE, 7 – 4
6. Josefine Boel Rasmussen, DEN, 6 – 5
7. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 5 – 6
8. Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 5 – 6
9. Sandy Hayes, USA, 4 – 7
10. Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 3 – 8
11. Morgan Collins, USA, 2 – 9
12. Linnea Floser, SWE, 1 – 10