Former World Champion (2014) Anna Östling of Sweden ruled the Finnish waters when the Helsinki Women’s Match rounded up Friday. Winning this opening event of the 2016 WIM Series, also takes her to the top of the Series’ leader board:
“It was so nice. We felt absolutely unstoppable today” the Swede smiles, praising her crew Malin Källström, Marie Berg and Annika Carlunger.
The final day of the Helsinki Women’s Match, the opening event of the 2016 Women’s International Match Racing Series, started off in the morning with some sunshine in-between the clouds, but flat water and very little breeze off Hernesaari (Ärtholmen).
As winner of the round-robin, Dutch match racing ace Renée Groeneveld picked Pauline Courtois (FRA) as her semi final opponent, a choice Groeneveld may have regret later. In a very exciting semi final series, which went all the way to five thrilling matches, the French skipper finally secured her first spot ever in a WIM Series event final:
“Obviously we found a speed advantage against Renée, who was a little bit slower” Courtois analyses.
“Boat speed was the key today, and unfortunately we didn’t have much of it” sighs Groeneveld, not happy at all with her semi final result.
Scandinavian sparring partners World #1 Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby (DEN) and Anna Östling fought each other in the second semi final, won by the latter 3 – 1:
“We had a slightly poor starting sequence against Camilla in the third match, but except for that we sailed just fine” the Swede says.
“Some small mistakes in tactics and boat handling ruined our day. In this competition you can never afford even the smallest mistakes” Ulrikkeholm Klinkby reflects.
Due to lack of wind and time, the Race Committee had to shorten the final and the petit final to “first scoring 2 points” instead of the “first scoring 3 points” that was initially scheduled. Immediately after that call, a little more pressure filled in over the racecourse, allowing fair racing, but still in rather light conditions under a bright sun from a clear blue sky.
In the final Östling took command already in the pre-start duels, controlling her French opponent as they both struggled to get the advantageous starting position. In the second race the Swede even forced Courtois to a premature start. When Courtois had turned around the leeward buoy and back over the starting line, very slowly in the light wind, Östling was already a couple of boat lengths up the first beat, and with good speed ahead.
Quite easily the Swedes could secure their second final match triumph, for the victory in the Helsinki Women’s Match as well as for the top spot of the 2016 WIM Series leader board:
“Such a great feeling! Everything fell into place and we had perfect flow in the boat. We’ve done everything better each day, exactly according to plan. To be the best crew on the last day is what counts” Anna Östling smiles.
“We really didn’t expect anything, but I’m very disappointed on our pre-starts in the final matches. My feeling is that we never gave it a chance. But on the other hand, we never gave up either” Pauline Courtois explains.
Renée Groeneveld defeated Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby 2 – 0 to finish on the podium, while the Danish skipper concluded on fourth place in the regatta.
Results in the final of the Helsinki Women’s Match, the opening event of the 2016 WIM Series:
Anna Östling, SWE – Pauline Courtois, FRA, 2 – 0
Results in the petit final:
Renée Groeneveld, NED – Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 2 – 0
Semi final results:
Renée Groeneveld, NED – Pauline Courtois, FRA, 2 – 3
Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN – Anna Östling, SWE, 1 – 3
Total results in Helsinki Women’s Match, and standings in the 2016 WIM Series after the first event out of five (skipper, nationality, WIM Series points):
1. Anna Östling, SWE, 25
2. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 22
3. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 20
4. Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 18
5. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 16
6. Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 14
7. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 12
8. Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 10
9. Susanna Kukkonen FIN, 8
10. Diana Kissane, IRL, 7
11. Sanna Häger, SWE, 6
12. Sanna Mattsson, SWE, 5
Link to all videos from Helsinki Women’s Match: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLZA3nKxcZcod_9tbAVWlzjHod3WQF-0s
The next event on the 2016 WIM Series will be Lysekil Women’s Match, August 8 – 13.
photo Getty Images