Claire Leroy, a double world champion made a comeback on the WIM Series last year and lead her team to a victory in the Swiss International Women’s Match. Now she is one of the strongest contenders in the line-up in Lysekil Women’s Match 2019.
Claire Leroy, 39, belongs to the small group of sailors who have been named Sailor of the Year by World Sailing. After securing her second straight World Championship title gold in match racing 2008, she was well worth the prestigious award. The career is full of impressive top results including two wins in Match Cup Sweden, sixth place in the London 2012 Olympics and three second places in Lysekil.
The last few years, she hasn’t been competing as much, but last summer Leroy got a chance to once again feel the pulse in match racing. She replaced Swedish skipper Caroline Sylvan in Lysekil and the regatta ended with a fifth place. She came back again with a new team in the WIM Series event in Switzerland and now she was once again on the top of the podium.
“When I competed with Caroline’s team in Lysekil, it was fantastic and so I came back to Switzerland. When we won that competition we started thinking about the World Championships in Lysekil. But because I had not sailed for a long time, my ranking was low so we knew it would be difficult to get a spot”, Leroy says.
But when the invitation came to the World Championship qualifying event in Långedrag in May, a door opened for the French team.
“With the qualifying event we got a chance. We trained as much as we could at GKSS in Gothenburg before the competition and it laid the foundation for us to win a World Championship ticket. I have a new team, I have sailed a lot with Julie Gerecht before but the other two in the team have been opponents of mine before. Now we are really looking forward to coming to Lysekil together.
“Lysekil is a fantastic event. The sailing is so close to the cliffs and with many track boundaries it becomes an exciting game on the track”.
The latest world championship for Claire Leroy was in Gothenburg in 2012.
“It feels like so long ago and like another life. Much has changed and then everyone was so focused on the Olympics because the competition was just before we went to London. But it is clear that we have missed the feeling of competing in such a big competition”.
The victory in the Swiss International Women’s Match 2018 in Ascona last year shows that Leroy can compete with the best teams in the world. The team will be training in the Fareast 28 this week and some team members are warming up with the Tour de Voile in France.
“We aim high and prepare ourselves as much as we can, but there are many other teams that sail more than we do. Winning would be fantastic, our strength is our routine and we have nothing to lose”.
Midsummer Match Cup in Skärhamn and GKSS Match Cup Sweden at Marstrand have been decided. Now Lysekil Women’s Match, the official Women’s Match Racing World Championship, will be the next big sailing event on the Swedish west coast.
Less than four weeks remain to the first start of Lysekil Women’s Match 2019. The summer has been full of exciting match racing so far and with Midsummer Match Cup in Skärhamn, a new concept with mixed teams was introduced. There, British skipper Lucy Macgregor, reigning world champion, showed great form in the quarter finals when she knocked out the then world champion on the men’s side, Torvar Mirsky (AUS) with 3-0.
“The Midsummer Match Cup was a perfect event for me to prepare for the World Championships, I hadn’t sailed the boats until then so I certainly have a much better feel for them now than previously”, says Macgregor who ended up on fourth place in the regatta.
Last week, the Nordea Women’s Trophy was sailed during the GKSS Match Cup Sweden at Marstrand, with match racing in M32 catamarans. Anna Östling’s Team Wings ended up at the top of the podium. In Sweden, England, France, Denmark, Switzerland, USA and Finland, 12 teams are now preparing for the World Championship in Lysekil where they will be fighting for the World Championship title. Lucy Macgregor is looking forward to the highlight of the sailing calendar.
“You always need a bit of luck….but we also have a fantastic crew for the event and I’m really looking forward to racing with them all again. I have always enjoyed racing in Lysekil. There a very few venues that have such a natural amphitheatre and it really does create a great atmosphere in which to race”, says Macgregor.
Lysekil Women’s Match taks place August 5-11 – read more about the program for the event here!
Today it’s one month left until the start of Lysekil Women’s Match, the official Women’s Match Racing World Championship. Marie Björling Duell’s team will return to the arena where they fought for the gold medals ten years ago.
The preparations for the match racing World Championship have been going on for a long time, both in Lysekil and among the participating sailors. The starting line-up includes twelve of the world’s best match racing skippers, such as the Pauline Courtois (FRA), number one on World Sailings match racing ranking and the reigning world champion Lucy Macgregor (GBR).
Last time Lysekil hosted the World Championship in match racing was in 2009. Then Marie Björling Duell team reached final. After several years of absence from international match racing, they are now back among the elite teams fighting for the medals. Björling Duell gathered her former team to train for the qualifying event for the World Championships in Gothenburg earlier this spring, where they ended up as the best Swedish team and won a World Cup ticket.
”There was a lot of joy on board when we got to compete together again. And I think our routine became an advantage because there was a lot at stake”, says the skipper who has won several World Championship medals, but never a gold.
”We don’t think about this being a chance at winning the World Championships once and for all. That would be fantastic but it’s not what drives us to compete. We will be happy and proud if we can sail as well as we can every day. It’s an incredibly tough starting field and we are only going to focus on our performance”
But the fighting spirit creates a desire to stay as long as possible in the competition. The key to success lies in getting a good start and then constantly getting a little better for each match.
”We made a similar journey in 2009 when we hadn’t sailed together for a while either. Then we grew into the competition and finally took a silver medal. We have been in situations with a lot of pressure before, we know that you can come back from defeats and we are going to bring that attitude with us.”
Sailing the finals is just one of many great memories from Lysekil Women’s Match.
”Lysekil is always a special regatta. It’s a professionally organised event and has a nice atmosphere in the evenings with social activities with other sailors and sponsors. It’s also a fantastic arena for showing off sailing as a sport. The spectators on the cliffs come close to what is happening on the race course and sailors really feel the pressure from the rocks.”
Credit: Lisa Barryd. Team Marie Björling Duell: Elisabeth Nilsson, Anna Holmdahl White, Marie Björling Duell, Anna Nordlander and Jenny Axhede.
The team; Elisabeth Nilsson, Jenny Axhede, Anna Nordlander and Anna Holmdahl White joined the first WIM Series event in Normandie where they ended up on fifth place. Now they are preparing both on water and on land to be in the best possible form when Lysekil Women’s Match starts on August 5. According to Björling Duell, their strength are their routine and love of match racing, the same factors that gave them a ticket to the World Championship in the first place.
”Match racing is an intensive form of sailing where you need to be in a flow, not thinking about anything else than being in the situation. Many different factors play a part and you have to think tactically, know the rules and on how to trim and get speed in the boat. It’s a magical feeling when you sail at your maximum level as a team.”
– Östling and Vennin take silver and bronze
Local knowledge and good sailing lead to a win at the inaugural Normandie Match Cup by the Le Havre-based Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team lead by Pauline Courtois in blustery conditions.
The final day of racing in Le Havre started in the rain with a nice 14 to 17 knot northwesterly sea breeze. The round robin leaders, Pauline Courtois (FRA) and Anna Östling (SWE), focused their teams and wasted no time taking care of business in their respective semi-finals.
Östling and teammates Annie Wennergren, Linnea Wennergren, and Annika Carlungeras Team WINGS dispatched the other local skipper Margot Vennin’s Matchmoiselle by Normandy Elite Team (Juliette Dubreuil, Chloé Salou, and Sophonie Affagard) 3-0 in their matches. But it was not without some drama as Dubreuil injured her knee in the first match and as replaced for the rest of the day by Nathalie Corson. (The injury is not serious and Juliette will be back for the next event.)
Courtois and her Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team – Maëlenn Lemaître, Louise Acker, and Sophie Faguet- showed the skills that have them on top of the women’s match racing world rankings. By virtue of winning the round robin stage, they chose their opponent for the semi-finals and they chose Marinella Laaksonen’s L2 Match Racing Team from Finland. The French continued their undefeated streak through the semi-finals taking care of the Finns in 3 straight matches.
The Petite-Finals say Vennin’s team rebound from their semi-final performance and knock out Laaksonen’s team 2-0. “We were able to re-focus and keep things simple. It was good to see that our practice over the winter has paid off and we are looking forward to our next events, especially the Worlds in Lysekil.”
The “Queen of the Castle” kept with the theme and followed suit to maintain the positions from the round robin with Swedish skipper Marie Björling Duell’s Team Marie coming out on top of the Castle. “We had everything to lose going into today’s racing, so we are happy that we were able to win our match and keep our spot” said a relieved Anna Holmdahl White, Team Marie’s tactician.
Östling’s team was able to find a weakness in Courtois’ game and took a 1-0 lead in the Finals. That was short lived as Courtois came back and won the next two matches that were sailed on the outside course.
The last match of the Final was sailed inside the very spectator friendly confines of the commercial port of Le Havre. All commercial traffic was suspended for the duration of the racing giving the sailors a fantastic venue with smooth water and steady breeze to showcase their athleticism. One of the spectators enjoying the racing was Agnes Firmin Le Bodo, Member of Parliament for Seine-Maritime. And she had the opportunity to watch the French team perform.
Courtois and her team – Maëlenn Lemaître, Louise Acker, Sophie Faguet– thrilled the local crowd by winning the final match wire to wire. After the win they entertained the spectators while showering each other with champagne!
Most of the teams competing here will be race in the next event on the WIM Series calendar – the Women’s Match Racing World Championship at Lysekil Women’s Match in Lysekil, Sweden August 5-10.
Final Standings – 2019 Normandie Match Cup
(skipper, crew; team name, country, WIM Series points, prize money):
1. Pauline Courtois, Maëlenn Lemaître, Louise Acker, Sophie Faguet; Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 25, 4000€
2. Anna Östling, Annie Wennergren, Linnea Wennergren, Annika Carlunger; WINGS, SWE, 22, 2500€
3. Margot Vennin, Juliette Dubreuil, Chloé Salou, Sophonie Affagard; Matchmoiselles by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 20, 1500€
4. Marinella Laaksonen, Sofia Tynkkynen, Camilla Cedercreutz, Anna Savisaari; L2 Match Racing Team, FIN, 18, 1000€
5. Marie Björling Duell, Anna Holmdahl White, Elisabeth Nilsson, Anna Nordlander; Team Marie, SWE, 16, 250€
6. Lea Richter Vogelius, Sille Christensen, Vivi Møller, Joan Wester Hansen; Team Kattnakken, DEN, 14, 250€
7. Margot Riou, Clémentine Hilaire, Tiphaine Ragueneau, Blandine Jaffrain; APCC Women Sailing Team, FRA, 12, 250€
8. Chloé Le Bars, Jeanne Le Goff, Eliette Ferronnière, Maïwenn Deffontaines; No Name Sailing Team, FRA, 10, 250€
Results in the finals:
Pauline Courtois, FRA – Anna Östling, SWE 3 – 1
Results in the petit-finals:
Margot Vennin, FRA – Marinella Laaksonen, FIN 2 – 0
Results in the semi-finals:
Pauline Courtois, FRA – Marinella Laaksonen, FIN 3 – 0
Anna Östling, SWE – Margot Vennin, FRA 3 – 0
The line-up for the Women’s Match Racing World Championship 2019 in Lysekil is now official and includes a list of top ranked teams and former World Championship medallists.
Lysekil Women’s Match has, since it started in 2004, evolved into the leading international match racing event for women on the circuit. This year, the event is bigger and more prestigious as it has also been awarded official World Championship status from World Sailing.
Among the teams that are entering the event, raced August 5-11, ten have been invited according to their position on the official world ranking. For skipper Anna Östling, World Champion in 2014 and 2016, the event in Lysekil on her home arena will be a career highlight.
“To prepare for a World Championship in Sweden is very inspiring, it’s going to be the most fun event ever for us. The line-up is really strong but our goal is clear, we want to win our third gold, and a lot of things have to work perfectly in the team for that to happen. We are doing a lot of training to get comfortable in the Fareast 28 and with gennaker sailing”, says Anna Östling who is sailing with Annie Wennergren, Linnéa Wennergren, Marie Berg and Annika Carlunger.
British skipper Lucy Macgregor (GBR) has won the last two World Championship titles in 2017 and 2018 and also won the gold back in 2010. She will enter Lysekil Women’s Match with Annie Lush, Kate Macgregor, Mary Rook and Bethan Carden.
“I am lucky to have a fantastic crew with me this year for the World Championship, I have two of the same crew as I won with last year, Annie and Kate and the three of us also won the 2010 World Championship with Mary. In addition I have recently returned from the Argo Gold Cup in Bermuda where we finished fourth with Bethan as part of the team, it’s these girls that give us an advantage”, says Lucy Macgregor who also won the inaugural Women’s International Match Racing Series in 2013, which had the final event in Lysekil.
”It has been far too long since I raced in Lysekil. In my first few years of Match Racing it was always one of our main events of the year, fun boats, great racing and a fantastic atmosphere. I am looking forward to experiencing the same this year”.
Pauline Courtois is the current number one on the World Ranking and the French skipper won Lysekil Women’s Match as well as the WIM Racing Series in 2018.
”Our goal is of course to win again. It’s an advantage to have sailed on the arena before but each regatta is different so we will just try to do our best and have fun on the water. The line-up is awesome. We are very excited to sail against the best women’s match racers especially this year with a lot of former world number ones and world medallists”, says Pauline Courtois who’s team includes Maëlenn Lemaitre, Louise Acker, Nathalie Corson and Sophie Faguet.
Trine Palludan (DEN) took bronze in last year’s World Championship in a petit finale against Alexa Bezel (SUI). Marinella Laaksonen (FIN) and French skipper Margot Vennin are currently ranked fifth and seventh in the world. Nicole Breault (USA) will enter the regatta after a number of strong results in American events, including a second place finish at the recent World Sailing Nations Cup Grand Final held out of the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, USA.
Renee Groeneveld from the Netherlands has both silver and a bronze from previous World Championships. Of the Swedish teams, Johanna Bergqvist, 22, has the youngest crew in the line-up and they are currently ranked fourth in the world.
In May, a qualifying event was raced in Gothenburg where the winning team as well as the best Swedish team was awarded a ticket to Lysekil Women’s Match. Claire Leroy, a double World Champion won the final and Marie Björling and her team ended up third and the best Swedish team in the regatta. Marie Björling raced in Lysekil in 2009 and won silver when the event was also the official World Championship.
Skipper line-up for the Women’s Match Racing World Championship 2019
(Skipper, ranking, nationality)
Pauline Courtois, 1, (FRA)
Trine Palludan, 2, (DEN)
Anna Östling, 3, (SWE)
Johanna Bergqvist, 4, (SWE)
Marinella Laaksonen, 5, (FIN)
Nicole Breault, 6, (USA)
Margot Vennin, 7, (FRA)
Alexa Bezel, 8, (SUI)
Lucy Macgregor, 10, (GBR) – Defending World Champion
Renée Groeneveld, 13, (NED)
Claire Leroy, 15, (FRA)
Marie Björling, 36, (SWE)
PHOTO: Dan Ljungsvik
The Notice of Race for the 2019 edition of the Women’s Match Racing World Championship, which will be held in Lysekil, Sweden, has been released.
Lysekil Yacht Club Gullmar, an internationally renowned match racing venue, will host the world’s leading female match racers from 5 – 10 August 2019.
A prize fund of 300,000 SEK (Swedish Krona), €29,000 EUR, will be up for grabs with the winner receiving 100,000 SEK.
Twelve skippers will be invited and only skippers invited by the Organising Authority will be eligible to compete in the event.
As the defending champion, Lucy Macgregor (GBR) automatically receives an invitation and is followed by nine skippers using the Women’s Match Racing World Ranking. Sweden and one international wildcard will also be entitled to an entry from a qualifying event agreed with the organisers and World Sailing.
The Championship will be sailed in Fareast 28R type boats with a mainsail, gib and gennaker provided and these will be allocated by a draw.
The Championship will consist of six stages including:
Stage 1 – Single Round Robin
Stage 2 – Repechage Round Robin
Stage 3 – Quarter-Finals
Stage 4 – Semi-Finals
Stage 5 – Petit Finals
Stage 6 – Finals
For further information on entry process, event format, prize fund allocation and crew requirements, please consult the Notice of Race.
About the Women’s Match Racing World Championship
The Women’s Match Racing Worlds is an annual event which was first held in Genoa, Italy in 1999 after a successful event was held as part of the 1998 World Sailing World Championship in Dubai, UAE.
Skippers are invited to attend the Championship based on their World Sailing World Match Racing Ranking position.
The winning team at the World Sailing Women’s Match Racing World Championship are crowned World Champions and presented with the Francoise Pascal Memorial – Women’s Match Racing World Championship Trophy. The trophy is named in honour of the late Francoise Pascal, a former Vice-President of the Fédération Française de Voile and a hugely influential figure in the growth of women’s match racing.
The first, second and third place overall team receive World Sailing Gold, Silver and Bronze medals respectively. In addition, the first-placed skipper following the round robins is presented with the World Sailing Nucci Novi Ceppellini Memorial Trophy. The trophy is named after Nucci Novi Ceppellini, World Sailing Vice-President from 1998-2008, who passed away in February 2008 after many years dedicated to the sport, with women’s match racing one of her particular passions.
Great Britain’s Lucy Macgregor claimed the past two World Championship titles.
French skipper Pauline Courtois defeated Henriette Koch from Denmark in the final of Lysekil Women’s Match 2018 with 3 straight victories to take the title.
– ”Koch’s team were very good, they were no simple opponents. But we’re incredibly proud of our team’s performance”, says Pauline Courtois.
Lysekil Women’s Match 2018 is over and the winner is French skipper Pauline Courtois with her team Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team. Courtois ended on second place 2017, but this was her year.
– ”We’re so happy, this feels amazing. It was tough today, the wind was tricky out there but we nailed all our pre-starts”, says Pauline Courtois who won three straight victories in today’s final after falling behind 0-2 in her semi-final match with the Swedish team of Anna Östling. Courtois is the defending champion of the WIM Series and is aiming to defend her title.
Henriette Koch sailed her first match racing regatta here in Lysekil this week and although they would have loved to win she is more than happy with the team’s second place in today’s final.
– ”All three matches were really tight where their experience helped them win. Everyone on the team is extremly competitive so it’s never fun to lose. However, we’ll leave Lysekil with a proud feeling and we are so happy that we made it to the finals”, says skipper Henriette Koch, Women On Water/Team Kattnakken.
In the petite final, Swedish skipper Johanna Bergqvist with her team Team Bergqvist Match Racing, won the first match against Anna Östling. However, Östling and her experienced crew evened the battle and forced a third and deciding match between the two Swedish teams.
– ”We were really close to taking them in the first match, after that we came back to the way we usually perform and it feels good to have reached the podium”, says skipper Anna Östling after today’s bronze medal.
– ”We had the most amazing start in the last match and gave us an advantage that we never gave up”, says Annika Carlunder, about the team effort in the deciding match.
Two competitions of the WIM Series 2018 have been conducted. The next regatta, which runs in Ekaterinburg, Russia next week, is also the official Women’s Match Racing World Championship 2018.
Results in the final in Lysekil Women’s Match
Henriette Koch, DEN – Pauline Courtois, FRA 0-3
Results in the petite final in Lysekil Women’s Match
Anna Östling, SWE – Johanna Bergqvist, SWE 2-1
Results in the semi-finals in Lysekil Women’s Match
Henriette Koch, DEN – Johanna Bergqvist, SWE 3-2
Anna Östling, SWE – Pauline Courtois, FRA 2-3
Results in Lysekil Women’s Match 2018 (team, crew, nationality):
1. Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team – Pauline Courtois, Maëlenn Lemaître, Louise Acker, Nathalie Corson, Sophie Faguet – FRA
2. Women On Water / Team Kattnakken – Henriette Koch, Trine Bentzen, Josefine Boel Rasmussen, Lærke Ilsøe Nørgaard, Lærke Marie Sørensen – DEN
3. Team Anna – Anna Östling, Annie Wennergren, Linnéa Wennergren, Marie Berg, Annika Carlunger – SWE
4. Team Bergqvist Match Racing – Johanna Bergqvist, Isabelle Bergqvist, Johanna Thiringer, Ellinor Hansson, Anna Sundberg – SWE
5. New Sweden Match Racing Team – Claire Leroy, Louise Kruuse af Verchou, Klara Ekdahl, Frida Langenius, Malin Holmberg – FRA
6. L2 Match Racing Team – Marinella Laaksonen, Daniela Rönnberg, Camilla Cedercreutz, Roosa Wederhorn, Eva-Lotta Hokkonen – FIN
7. Swiss Women Match Racing Team – Alexa Bezel, Fiona Testuz, Manon Kivell, Louise Thilo, Nicole Bolliger – SUI
8. Team Sköna Vibbisar – Antonia Degerlund, Carla Westersund, Janina Hallberg, Disa Långström, Lisa Gerkman – FIN
9. ProKaTeam Sailing Team – Ekaterina Kochkina, Tatiana Suslova, Natalia Noga, Sara Edholm, Ann Johnson – RUS
10. Matchmoiselles by Normandy Elite Team – Margot Vennin, Marie Zugolaro, Clotilde Ponçon, Juliette Dubreuil, Sophonie Affagard – FRA
11. Swedish Women’s Match Racing Team – Sanna Mattsson, Niki Blässar, Therese Berg, Louise Lindkvist, Nellie Lindnér – SWE
12. Athena Racing – Octavia Owen, Ruby Riggs, Hebe Hemming, Amber Riggs, Pip Benson – GBR
Standings in WIM Series 2018 after two events (team, skipper, nationality, points):
1. Team Kattnakken / Women On Water, Trine Palludan / Henriette Koch – DEN, 47
2. Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, Pauline Courtois – FRA, 45
3. Team Bergqvist Match Racing, Johanna Bergqvist – SWE, 40
4. L2 Match Racing Team, Marinella Laaksonen – FIN, 32
5. Team Sköna Vibbisar, Antonia Degerlund – FIN, 24
6. Team Anna, Anna Östling – SWE, 20
7. New Sweden Match Racing Team, Caroline Sylvan / Claire Leroy – SWE / FRA, 16
8. Team BAAM!, Allie Blecher – USA, 16
9. Matchmoiselles by Normandy Elite Team, Margot Vennin – FRA, 14
10. Swiss Women Match Racing Team, Alexa Bezel – SUI, 12
11. NZ Match, Celia Willison – NZL, 12
12. Stockholm Match Racing Team, Sanna Häger – SWE, 10
13. Swedish Women’s Match Racing Team, Sanna Mattsson – SWE, 10
14. ProKaTeam Sailing Team, Ekaterina Kochkina – RUS, 8
15. Team Skogman, Jassi Skogman – FIN, 8
16. APCC Women Sailing Team , Margot Riou – FRA, 6
17. Athena Racing, Octavia Owen – GBR, 5
18. Peregrine Racing, Hanna Ericksson – SWE, 5