July 6, 2023 – Middelfart, Denmark: A low pressure with thunderstorms, lightning, and strong winds was predicted to hit the racing area Wednesday afternoon, so an early start could make it possible to catch up on some of the flights that were cancelled on the first day of the racing – also due to strong winds.
The early start at 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning paid off for the organizers of the 2023 Women’s Match Racing World Championship – powered by Bunker One – and the event got back on track before the 11 teams were sent back to shore in the late afternoon as a front approached with gusts up to 45 knots.
Last year’s winner of the world championship and current World Ranking #1, Pauline Courtois, and crew members Maëlenn Lemaître , Louise Acker, Thea Khelif, Clara Bayol (FRA) went undefeated throughout the day and now sit somewhat comfortable on top of the leaderboard after winning over her strongest opponents – World Ranking #2 Anna Österling (SWE), Lea Richter Vogelius (DEN) and Celia Willison (NZL).
- We are pleased about the first part of the championship. The weather conditions are difficult here with many big shifts, but the girls did a good job on the boat, so we are happy for now, says Pauline Courtois.
- We tried to race without big risks in the pre-starts, and my crew has done a good job of setting up the boats to be fast, and we are, she explains.
Indeed she is. Her team has not lost a match since the Normandy Cup round-robin at the end of May. She didn’t give away victories during the European Championship last week in Lake Ledro, Italy.
On a side note – in the last race of the day, the world champion and crew almost did a copy/paste of the spectacular Dutch team crash a few days before when the breeze picked up. But they managed to keep themselves out of too much trouble and were able to get the boat back under control and take the win.
Just behind Courtois on the leaderboard is the World Ranking number two – Anna Österling and her crew members Anna Holmdahl, Linnéa Wennergren, Annika Carlunger, Jenny Axhede – SWE. The team has two losses from day one but has been consistent since and getting better as the championship moves along.
- We are getting better as we are getting used to the boats. Today was a long day, but we managed to get a lot of races on the scoreboard in difficult conditions as the wind picked up or slowed down. So it was challenging to constantly shift the setup and maintain speed. We had all kinds of weather today, but it was great fun to be out there and give it all, says skipper Anna Östling.
The local Danish hope for a spot at the podium, Lea Richter Vogelius – number 7 on the world ranking – is hanging on to the top-3 of the championship.
- We are pretty happy about the start of the championship. The conditions are hard, but everyone on my team struggled, and I think we’ve done well so far in finding our way up the course, and our boat handling is getting better, so we are pretty happy about where we are now.
Racing resumes Thursday, intending to get into the quarter and semifinals. The forecast calls for 10-15 knots of wind from a Westerly direction. Finals are planned for Friday when the new world champions get their gold medals at Middelfart Marina.
The 2023 Women’s Match Racing World Championships is sailed in Middelfart, Denmark, from 4th–7th July. Eleven teams from around the world compete in identical Blu26 class keelboats.
Standings after day two at the world championship:
The 2023 Women’s Match Racing World Championships is being held in Middelfart, Denmark, from 4th–7th July. Eleven teams from around the world will be competing in Blu26 class keelboats.
Pauline Courtois, Maëlenn Lemaître , Louise Acker, Thea Khelif, Clara Bayol – FRA, World Ranking #1
Anna Ӧstling, Anna Holmdahl, Linnéa Wennergren, Annika Carlunger, Jenny Axhede – SWE, World Ranking #2
Celia Willison, Ruby Scholten, Charlotte Porter, Serena Woodall, Alison Kent – NZL, World Ranking #4
Megan Thomson, Josi Andres, Anna Merchant, Chelsea Rees, Juliet Costanzo – NZL, World Ranking #5
Sophie Otter, Hebe Hemming, Hatty Ward, Jemima Lawson, Alice Bradford – GBR, World Ranking #6
Lea Richter Vogelius, Joan Wester Hansen, Louise Ulrikkeholm Bredvig, Sille Christensen, Josefine Boel Rasmussen – DEN, World Ranking #7
Kenza Coutard, Lola Billy, Enza Geslin-Grimaud, Victoire Lerat, Sophonie Affagard – FRA, World Ranking #15
Octavia Owen, Abbie Sanders, Kate MacAdorey, Jodie Martin, Yasmine Sfaxi – GBR, World Ranking #20
Louise Kristine Olesen, Nora Berg, Mille Brandt Jensen, Line Mørkebjerg, Sara Keir Wright – DEN, World Ranking #21
Kristine Marie Mauritzen , Helena Gustavs Formgren, Pernilla Lindnér , Christina Andersen , Emilie Nordby Lauritzen – DEN, World Ranking #22
Julia Aartsen, Eva Asbeek Brusse, Nerine Usman, Ismene Usman, Svea Karsenbarg – NED, World Ranking #27
Event website: https://gosail.dk/womens-match-racing-world-championship-2023