Saturday’s third day of racing in the Carlos Aguilar Match Race (CAMR), presented by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, and the 5th and final event of the 2016 WIM Series, offered some hugely exciting racing. Within arm’s reach of the Charlotte Amalie shoreline, the world-class crews put their boats through breath-taking maneuvers. Not only were the quarterfinals decided, but two matches in each semifinal were also run. Approaching the fourth and final day’s conclusion, Dutch round-robin winner Renée Groeneveld and the USA’s Stephanie Roble, are both leading their respective semis 2 – 0. Their opponents Caroline Sylvan and Anna Östling, both from Sweden, will not have an easy task to bounce back and stay alive in the regatta.
Stephanie Roble and her Epic Racing team showed their skills and consistency Saturday, first defeating the Finnish crew led by Antonia Degerlund 3 – 0 in their quarterfinal. Then, later in the afternoon, the Americans reloaded to gain a 2 – 0 lead in their semifinal over World Champion and World #1 Anna Östling.
“Our prestarts were really hard with a lot of changes in control and a lot of maneuvering, but my girls did a really nice job calling the shift that they wanted on the final approach, and we were able to execute that both times,” Roble explains. “We got to go to the side that we wanted after the start, and I think we had good speed throughout the two races, and played the shifts really well. The entire crew just nailed it, spot on with the shifts!”
Östling would obviously rather have liked to go to bed Saturday evening without being two down, and will now try to completely erase the lost semifinal matches from her mind.
“This afternoon I simply didn’t do my job the way I usually do it. We still have to win three races, and in a semifinal, it doesn’t really matter which three races you win. We will erase the later part of what happened today, focusing instead on what we have to do tomorrow,” she comments.
Renée Groeneveld picked Josefine Boel Rasmussen of Team Ulrikkeholm for her quarter-finals, and may have regretted this as the Danes put up a fierce fight. The Dutch won the first match, but earned two penalties in the second and lost it. After two more hard fought wins, Groeneveld chose Sylvan for their semis. Maybe a brave choice as Sylvan beat Groeneveld in the round-robins of both the Sheboygan and the Busan WIM Series event earlier this year. However, the Dutch team took two quite comfortable semis matches Saturday afternoon, over Sylvan’s New Sweden Match Racing Team.
“We know we can beat them, but today we had some boat speed problems and they sailed really well. Tomorrow is another day, and it’ll be different!” promises Sylvan.
On Saturday, twenty-two 8- to 17-year-old students from the MVP (Marine Vocational Program) set sail in the Carlos Aguilar Match Race Youth Regatta. These students, who were also members of the Boys & Girls Club of the Virgin Islands, took the place of crew for the WIM Series skippers in a series of three exciting fleet races in the Charlotte Amalie harbor.
The Youth Regatta is a signature feature of the CAMR as namesake Carlos Aguilar enjoyed coaching young sailors. The MVP program’s goal is to provide island young people with skills that will enable them to have successful careers in the U.S. Virgin Islands famous marine industry.
When asked how he enjoyed racing today with the USA’s Nicole Breault, 11-year-old Shamoi Shaw said: “I liked how they taught us to act on the yachts, like when I got to drive. Oh, and winning a race. I liked that too.”
Eight-year-old De’Jahnie Huggins crewed for Sweden’s Caroline Sylvan. “What I liked best was tacking and gybing. It was fun.”
The CAMR, the 5th and final event of the 2016 WIM Series, concludes Sunday with the semis, the final and the petite final, in the Charlotte Amalie harbor of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Semi Final Standings
Renée Groeneveld, NED – Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 2 – 0
Stephanie Roble, USA – Anna Östling, SWE, 2 – 0
Renée Groeneveld, NED – Josefine Boel Rasmussen, DEN, 3 – 1
Stephanie Roble, USA – Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 3 – 0
Caroline Sylvan, SWE – Nicole Breault, USA, 3 – 1
Anna Östling, SWE – Pauline Courtois, FRA, 3 – 0