Courtois wins the WIM Series and the Bédanne Cup

An incredible final day at the Base de loisirs de Bédanne, as the sun came out and the crowds followed to see the final day of racing at the 2017 International Bédanne’s Cup and see the champions decided for the 2017 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series). The local fans were not disappointed.
The morning began with each of the semi-finals on match point as Pauline Courtois (FRA) and Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) each led 2-0. With the racing within meters of the shore, the spectators could feel the excitement (and hear the shouts) from the race boats. Courtois make quick work of her match when Allie Blecher (USA) received two penalties in the pre-start – one for fouling Courtois as the American tried to enter and the second for not entering on time – and then receiving a black flag (disqualification) for failing to take her penalty right after starting.
Margot Vennin (FRA) kept her hopes of advancing alive in the second semi-final as she led the first match against Le Berre from start to finish. But the more experienced team of Le Berre took care of business, stayed focused and sailed well in the shifts to take the series 3-1 to advance to meet Courtois in the finals.
After a short break ashore where the final and petit-final teams were presented on the stage to the spectators, the sailors took to the water to decide the podium places.
In the petit-finals, Vennin and Blecher exchanged wins for the first two matches and the 3rd place on the podium came down to a final deciding match. “The third match was interesting. We had a good start, it was equal, and there was a wind shift. When she tacked, we tacked and we took advantage of that and managed to keep control until the finish,” explained a very happy Vennin after the race.
Fast forward to the final where Le Berre took the first blood by winning the first match wire to wire, but Courtois quickly put Le Berre on the ropes by winning the next two matches.
The fourth match started well for Le Berre as Courtois received a penalty in the pre-start for gybing along the shoreline when she did not have rights to do so. Le Berre continued to control the start and led Courtois off of the start line with a two boat length lead. But shortly up the first windward leg, Courtois took advantage of a shift and took a slight lead. The match remained very close. On the 2nd downwind leg Courtois gybed onto starboard just ahead of Le Berre, but Le Berre misjudged the distance and speared Courtois with her bow sprit to receive a penalty. This cancelled Courtois’ earlier penalty and Courtois sailed on to victory, winning the final 3-1.
The celebration on the dock was capped off by Le Berre and her French Match Racing Team surprising Courtois and tossing her in the frigid lake. After swimming ashore, Courtois and her team – Maelenn Lemaître, Louise Acker, and Sophie Faguet – received the inaugural International Bédanne’s Cup and a check for 2500 Euros for their performance.
Cédric Chateau, Event Manager for the Ligue de Voile de Normandy (LVN), expressed his happiness with the event and looked to the future: “I am very happy to have all of the support of the Club Nautique de Saint Aubin – Elbeuf (CVSAE). The staff and volunteers and host families put on a very good show for the teams. They gave a very warm welcome despite the cold weather. We look forward to hopefully hosting another WIM Series event and showing everyone Normandy in the summer.”
WIM Series Manager, Liz Baylis, thanked the organizers: “On behalf of the Women’s International Match Racing Association (WIMRA), the sailors, and the WIM Series, I would like to thank the LVN, the CVSAE, the sponsors, and all of the volunteers for helping us escape from the hurricane and hosting this event with such short notice. We truly appreciate the warm hospitality and this wonderful event.”
With the her team’s victory at the International Bédanne’s Cup today, Pauline Courtois (FRA) and her Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team overtook Renée Groeneveld (NED), Trine Palludan (DEN), and Anna Östling (SWE) to jump from 4th in the overall Series standing to the top position for the 2017 WIM Series Championship and put their name on the Terry J. Kohler Perpetual Trophy. “We are very happy to win the WIM Series. We have looked forward to competing for that from the beginning of the season. And we look forward to trying to do it again next season,” smile Courtois and her teammates as they celebrated with their local fans after the prizegiving.
The event closed with the CVSAE President, Jean Paul Réné, welcoming Father Christmas to the docks to the cheers of the crowd gathered for the closing ceremonies.
Final Standings (Team – Skipper & Crew – Nationality; Prize Money (Euros); WIM Series Points):
1- Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team –
Pauline Courtois, Maelenn Lemaître, Louise Acker, Sophie Faguet – FRA; 2500; 25
2- French Women's Match Racing Team –
Anne-Claire Le Berre, Mathilde Geron, Cécile Andrieu, Sigrid Longeau – FRA; 2000; 22
3- Team CVSAE –
Margot Vennin, Juliette Dubreuil, Clotilde Ponçon, Sophonie Affagard – FRA; 1400; 20
4- Team BAAM –
Allie Blecher, Bekah Schiff, Ali Blumenthal, Meg Six – USA; 1000; 18
5- APCC Women's Sailing Team –
Margot Riou, Clémentine Hilaire, Marion Ledoux, Tiphaine Ragueneau – FRA; 850; 16
6- L2 Match Racing Team –
Marinella Laaksonen, Carla Westersund, Camilla Cedercreutz, Lisa Gerkman – FIN; 800; 14
7- Peregrine Racing –
Linnéa Floser, Karin Hedén, Sara Edholm, Louise Thilo – SWE; 750; 12
8- ProKateam Sailing Team –
Ekaterina Kochkina, Natalia Iureva, Elena Buyanova, Anna Kulkova – RUS; 700; 10
9- Swedish Women's Match Racing Team –
Sanna Mattsson, Niki Blässar, Louise Lindkvist, Nellie Lindnér – SWE; 0; 8
Final Results:
Pauline Courtois (FRA) defeats Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) 3-1
Petit-final Results:
Margot Vennin (FRA) defeats Allie Blecher (USA) 2-1
Semi-final Results:
Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) defeats Margot Vennin (FRA) 3-1
Pauline Courtois (FRA) defeats Allie Blecher (USA) 3-0
2017 WIM Series Final Standings (Skipper, team, nationality, WIM Series points):
1. Pauline Courtois, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, FRA, 65
2. Renée Groeneveld, Dutch Match Racing Team, NED, 61
3. Trine Palludan, Team Kattnakken, DEN, 60
4. Anna Östling, Team Anna, SWE, 58
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, 42
8. Linnéa Floser, Peregrine Racing, SWE, 26
9. Margot Riou, APCC Women's Sailing Team , FRA, 23
10. Anne-Claire Le Berre, French Women’s Match Racing Team, FRA 22
11. Alexa Bezel, Swiss Women Match Racing Team, SUI, 21
12. Margot Vennin, Team CVSAE, FRA, 20
13. Johanna Bergqvist, Team Bergqvist Match Racing, SWE, 20
14. Allie Blecher, Team BAAM, USA, 18
15. Mikaela Fors, Pen & Hammer Sailing Team, FIN, 14
16. Ekaterina Kochkina, Team SailWay, RUS, 13
17. Antonia Degerlund, Team Sköna Vibbisar, FIN, 11
18. Sarah Parker, Team Parker, AUS, 10
19. Sanna Mattsson, Swedish Women’s Match Racing Team, SWE, 8
20. Clare Costanzo, Team Costanzo, AUS, 8
21. Octavia Owen, Athena Racing, GBR, 7
22. Martina Karlemo, Team Karlemo, FIN, 6
23. Eunjin Kim, Team Ladies, KOR, 5
24. Sanna Häger, Stockholm Match Racing Team, SWE, 4

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