WIM Series to conclude in U.S. Virgin Islands
– a quintet of teams will fight for the overall podium places
The Carlos Aguilar Match Race, the 5th and ultimate event of the 2016 Women’s International Match Racing Series, is set to begin in U.S. Virgin Islands within just one week. Swedish World Champion Anna Östling has already secured the overall WIM Series title, but behind her a wasp’s nest of skippers are in the run for a podium finish:
“We are excited to have a close race for second overall and ready to battle,” says the American WIM Series winner from last year, Wisconsinite Stephanie Roble.
Since it’s premiere in 2013, the Women’s International Match Racing Series has been to many major sailing venues spread over the world, but not yet to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Finally the time has come to welcome a dozen of the worlds’ foremost women match racing sailors, to the picturesque and demanding waters of sailing metropolis St Thomas, and its Charlotte Amalie Harbor. The Carlos Aguilar Match Race has over the years attracted some of the best international match racing talent, from America’s Cup veterans to current World Champions, and is definitely qualified and ready to host the exciting conclusion to the 2016 WIM Series.
Early WIM Series winner Anna Östling and her team secured their title, 25 000 USD and the coveted Terry J Kohler Perpetual Trophy, by winning the first three events and finishing fourth in the latest regatta in Korea, a month ago. But behind the Swedes a group of five teams are all in the run for the runner-up position, aiming for a 15 000 USD reward. Pauline Courtois (FRA), Caroline Sylvan (SWE), Stephanie Roble (USA), Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby (DEN) and Renée Groeneveld (NED) can all get their share of fame and honour. And the last podium place will pay a 10 000 USD portion of the generous overall prize purse, so there are actually two chances left to top-up the team budget with an early Christmas gift.
Former World # 1 skipper Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby has recently given birth to her second child, and will be substituted for in St Thomas by Trine Palludan, who also led the Danish team to 5th place in Korea:
“The ultimate event will be really challenging, with five skilled teams still having the chance to finish 2nd. We have no secret weapons, but a lot of experience with many podium spots before. We know each other very well, and we know how to perform,” Palludan comments, revealing her tip on this year’s Carlos Aguilar Match Race winner:
“Stephanie Roble must be considered a favourite, knowing the boats and the course area. At least if she’s not getting too nervous about it,” the Danish skipper thinks.
With her Team Epic Racing, Roble finished second overall to the USVI’s Taylor Canfield in 2015, at her fourth Carlos Aguilar Match Race. Since the Korean WIM Series event in late October, she’s been enjoying some time at home after a busy summer, focusing on training in the gym and doing some 49er FX sailing with main sheet trimmer and tactician Maggie Shea. Now the American skipper is looking forward to round out her season in St Thomas:
“Because we have done this event so much and we have a lot of friends on the island, it definitely feels like a second home,” she says, describing the venue like this:
“It’s so fun and challenging. The racecourse parallels the sea wall that runs the length of the course. Being in the harbor it is super shifty and lots of traffic, including seaplanes landing nearby, and spectators. You are never out of a race, nor are you ever safe with your lead,” Stephanie Roble summarizes with a smile, pointing out her toughest opponent:
“The wind. It’s a tricky venue!”
The Carlos Aguilar Match Race is a World Sailing Grade One event. The format will feature 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 event will be sailed in IC 24, a modification of J/24, December 1 – 4 2016.
Standings in the 2016 WIM Series after four events out of five (skipper, country, WIM Series points):
1. Anna Östling, SWE, 93
2. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 60
3. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 58
4. Stephanie Roble, USA, 54
5. Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 54
6. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 49
7. Katie Spithill, AUS, 25
8. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 22
9. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 22
10. Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 21
11. Claire Leroy, FRA, 20
12. Lotte Meldgaard, DEN, 18
13. Samantha Norman, NZL, 14
14. Sanna Häger, SWE, 14
15. Diana Kissane, IRL, 14
16. Alexa Bezel, SUI, 12
17. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 12
18. Nicole Breault, USA, 10
19. Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 10
20. Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 10
21. Elizabeth Shaw, CAN, 8
22. Susanna Kukkonen FIN, 8
23. Milly Bennett, AUS, 6
24. Gyeong Jin Lee, KOR, 5
25. Sanna Mattsson, SWE, 5