– International Bedanne’s Cup in Tourville-la-Rivière
Nine teams from five countries are set to begin racing at the 2017 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) final event – the International Bedanne’s Cup. Local hero, Pauline Courtois, tops the line-up for the final WIM Series event of 2017. “We are very excited to be able to host the WIM Series in our home club with a chance of winning the overall title” an exuberant Pauline Courtois exclaimed.
After Hurricanes Irma and Marie ripped through the Caribbean in September and left St. Thomas severely damaged, the WIM Series scrambled to find a replacement final event to take the place of the Carlos Aguilar Match Race. The Ligue de Voile de Normandy (LVN) stepped up to help out by organizing the International Bedanne’s Cup with very short notice. “It has been many years that the LVN has wanted to organize an international match racing event for the women. We have been very active in match racing training and we want to help advance the women. The difficulties in St. Thomas gave us the occasion to help the WIM Series and we hope this will be a great event. And we hope next year to do it again – perhaps in the summer” smiled Cédric Chateau, Event Manager for the LVN, as he looked out at the teams practicing in the cold rain. “It will be a little colder outside than St. Thomas, but we will make the event as welcoming as possible for the sailors with palm trees and red wine inside the warm club house” continued Chateau.
The International Bedanne’s Cup with a prize pool of 10,000 Euros is organized by the Ligue de Voile de Normandie with the technical support of the Club Nautique de Saint Aubin – Elbeuf (CVSAE) and sailed at the Base de Loisirs de Bedanne in Tourville-la-Rivière, France. The CVSAE President, Jean Paul Réné, welcomed the sailors to the small lake in Normandy: “We are very proud to welcome the sailors and the WIM Series to Bedanne. All of the volunteers and club staff have been working very hard for many weeks to make the event and we look forward to sharing our home with all of the teams.”
The event will be sailed in CVSAE’s fleet of equally matched and colourful Beneteau First Class 7.5 boats. “We are very happy to sail these boats that we are familiar with and to be sailing in our home waters for the final event of the WIM Series”, smiled a confident Pauline Courtois, one of two teams who train year-round at the host club along with Margot Vennin and her Team CVSAE.
Courtois and her Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team are the top ranked team at this event and have the opportunity to win the Terry J. Kohler Perpetual Trophy for the 2017 WIM Series championship as they currently sit in 4th just 9 points out of first. Each team may count their top 3 (of 4) events for the WIM Series championship and with 25 points awarded to the event winner, a change at the top is likely. The top four teams all planned to attend the final event, but due to the change of schedule, three of the top four had to later decline their invitations - Renée Groeneveld (1st), Anna Östling (2nd), and Trine Palludan (3rd) were unable to change work commitments when the dates changed. This opens up the possibility for the overall title to go to Courtois.
Skippers in the International Bedanne’s Cup, the final event of the 2017 WIM Series, in Tourville-la-Rivière, France, France (name, nationality, team name, world ranking November 15 2017):
Pauline Courtois, FRA, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, 5
28 years old sport teacher Pauline Courtois from Brest started sailing at seven and racing at nine. She has been in match racing on different positions since 2011. In 2013 she finished runner-up when calling the tactics for Julie Bossard in the WIM Series event in Saint-Quay-Portrieux, and took a bronze medal in the French championships. Pauline finished 7th on the 2016 WIM Series and this year finished runner-up in Lysekil and recently won the French Women’s Match Racing Championship.
Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, L2 Match Racing Team, 6
25 years old mathematics student Marinella Laaksonen is not only the highest ranked female Finnish skipper on the World Sailing ranking, but she also has two straight National Championships in Women’s Match Racing. Before getting into match racing, Marinella sailed dinghy classes like Europe dinghy, Zoom 8 and 49er FX. She finished 5th in the World Championship on her home waters of Helsinki earlier this summer and made the quarterfinals in Lysekil.
Linnea Floser, SWE, Peregrine Racing, 13
Living in the Swedish capital Stockholm, and representing the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSS), 24 years old Linnéa Floser made her debut on the WIM Series at the 2016 Carlos Aguilar Match Race event in St Thomas. She has raced several dinghy classes and is working as a personal trainer at SATS Lidingö and as a skipper at the At Sea Events match racing centre. Floser’s match racing career started in 2015, with fast climbing to her current ranking position. Linnéa Floser is a certified personal trainer, and has studied science and meteorology at the Stockholm University, and now works as the Chief Operations Officer at At Sea Events.
Sanna Mattsson, SWE, Swedish Women's Match Racing Team, 20
This 25 years old Swede’s whole life seems to be about sailing. Sanna Mattsson graduated from the Sailing High School in Lerum, Sweden, five years ago. She is hired by the Swedish Sailing Association to coach RS Feva sailors, and she’s also training new coaches for the West Coast Sailing Association. With a background in several dinghy classes, in the spring of 2016 Sanna formed a brand new match racing team and made her WIM Series debut in Helsinki. After competing successfully this year in Sweden, the team returns to the WIM Series for 2017 finale in France.
Ekaterina Kochkina, RUS, ProKateam Sailing Team, 28
Ekaterina Kochkina may be young, but she has accomplished a lot since starting as a youth 14 years ago in the Optimist and working her way up through dinghies to match racing in keelboats. She was bitten by the match racing bug in 2012 and now completely devotes herself to match racing when not working as a sailing instructor at the Moscow Sailing Academy. Her list of top finishes include silver medals at the last 3 open Russian National Match Racing Championships with her eye on the gold this year. Kochkina made her WIM Series debut in 2017 in Helsinki for the Women’s Match Racing World Championship and she returns to compete in France with her ProKateam Sailing Team.
Margot Vennin, FRA, Team CVSAE, 43
As one of the youngest skippers on the WIM Series, Margot Vennin, 21, makes her skipper debut on the WIM Series at the 2017 International Bedanne’s Cup. When not racing Margo is an engineering student from Paris. She only began match racing in September of 2016 following a successful international career in dinghies with a top ten finish at the 420 World Championship and winning the French Inshore Youth Championship as crew. Margot and her team from the local club, CVSAE, hope to be competitive at the Bedanne’s Cup and carry that into further success on the WIM Series in 2018.
Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, French Women's Match Racing Sailing Team, 51
35 years old Anne-Claire Le Berre from Brest on the Atlantic coast of France returns to the match racing circuit after second child and a job change. She has match raced since 2005 and achieved the world number 1 ranking in early 2016. She has done three Olympic campaign – 4 years each in the 470, Yngling, and match racing. Anne-Claire Le Berre is a naval architect currently working in Lorient as an engineer for the Imoca 60 offshore team Initiatives-coeur with skipper Sam Davies preparing for the Vendée Globe 2020. When she has time, her primary sailing is match racing with a silver medal at the Worlds in 2016 and winning the Busan Cup in 2015.
Margot Riou, FRA, APCC Women's Sailing Team, 56
Margot Riou has put together a young team of students who share the same passion for sailing with the same motivation for competition and formed the APCC Women’s Sailing Team (Equipage Féminin - APCC). The team from Pornichet is making a mark on the J/80 fleet racing circuit in France as well as the match racing circuit. Riou and her team come to the Bedanne’s Cup with a recent a silver medal performance at the 2017 French Women’s Match Racing Championship.
Allie Blecher, USA, Team BAAM, unranked
Allie Blecher makes her debut on the WIM Series at the 2017 International Bedanne’s Cup. Although she is currently unranked in the world match racing ranking, you can’t take her lightly. She is a four-time US Collegiate All-American fro the formidable College of Charleston Sailing Team where she earned Quantum Women’s Sailor of the Year honors – the highest honor you can receive. Since graduating, she has progressed from competing in Laser Radial dinghies to 49er FX skiffs and more recently keelboats – J/70s and Melges 32s and started match racing. While not sailing she work as a Procurement Analyst in the aerospace industry in Southern California.
2017 WIM Series Standings after three events (Skipper, team, nationality, WIM Series points):
1. Renée Groeneveld, Dutch Match Racing Team, NED, 61
2. Trine Palludan, Team Kattnakken, DEN, 60
3. Anna Östling, Team Anna, SWE, 58
4. Pauline Courtois, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 52
5. Lucy Macgregor, Team Mac, GBR, 48
6. Caroline Sylvan, New Sweden Match Racing Team, SWE, 42
7. Marinella Laaksonen, L2 Match Racing Team, FIN, 38
8. Alexa Bezel, Swiss Women Match Racing Team, SUI, 21
9. Johanna Bergqvist, Team Bergqvist Match Racing, SWE, 20
10. Mikaela Fors, Pen & Hammer Sailing Team, FIN, 14
11. Linnéa Floser, Peregrine Racing, SWE, 14
12. Antonia Degerlund, Team Sköna Vibbisar, FIN, 11
13. Sarah Parker, Team Parker, AUS, 10
14. Clare Costanzo, Team Costanzo, AUS, 8
15. Octavia Owen, Athena Racing, GBR, 7
16. Margot Riou, APCC Women's Sailing Team , FRA, 7
17. Martina Karlemo, Team Karlemo, FIN, 6
18. Eunjin Kim, Team Ladies, KOR, 5
19. Sanna Häger, Stockholm Match Racing Team, SWE, 4
20. Ekaterina Kochkina, Team SailWay, RUS, 3
The International Bedanne’s Cup in Tourville-la-Rivière, France, will kick off the round-robin racing on Tuesday the 12th of December, and continue through Saturday the 16th with final races, prize giving and closing ceremony.