The Quarter finalists Decided in Shanghai
The second day of racing at the 2019 China International Women’s Match Race on Dishui Lake in Shanghai showed light breeze and shifty conditions. The race committee, led by French International Race Officer Anne Malledant set up a course close to the shoreline and the spectators on the docks of the Shanghai Sailing Club.
The tricky conditions put high pressure on the teams and the racing showed that good tactical decisions could make a huge difference. The matches were tight with many lead changes in the first flights of the day. After flight 13 Swedish Skipper Johanna Bergqvist came into the dock with a smile on her face, still unbeaten after her 8 matches. She commented: ”It has been a good day for us today in the tricky conditions. The girls have done an amazing job with the tactics and boat handling. And we are really enjoying the racing on the lake!”
French Skipper Pauline Courtois and her Match in Pink by Normadiy Elite Team continued to sail with self-confidence, good speed, precise boat handling and excellent tactical calls on the course. With eight wins and no losses, she has already secured her spot into the quarterfinals together with Johanna Bergqvist’s team.
Russian Skipper Ekaterina Chashchina and her Seven Feet Team from Vladivostok found their boat speed and came off the water with five wins today and a total of six wins and five losses in the round robin and can now follow tomorrow’s last three flights of stage one from ashore and see where that score will take them.
For the lower ranked teams it was a new challenge to adapt from yesterday’s breeze to today’s lighter conditions. Local Chinese Skipper Yuting Lu shared her thoughts on her first WIM Series experience after today’s racing: “We enjoyed the racing very much and would like to do it again. The team has learned a lot by racing against the best teams. It was a great experience! We now need to improve our match racing skills and help match racing grow in China.”
Both Yuting Lu and Korean Skipper Eunjin Kim were eliminated from further racing finding themselves in places 11 and 12 as they finished stage one. Despite being knocked out, Kim reflected positively on the event: “It was a long tiring day, but a great experience. It is our second match racing event and our first time in these boats. We appreciate the opportunity to be invited and for having us, we feel grateful. If we get the chance, we look forward to participate in WIM Series again.”
The more experienced local skipper Xiaowen Ni showed their progress and made it into the repechage stage tomorrow. The team had tight races and showed the excitement of the sport to the spectators at the dock cheering for their local heroes.
The morning of the third day of racing at China International Women’s Match Race decided the teams that would make it straight to the quarter-finals and which teams would have to fight for the four spots in the repechage round.
Racing took off in a breeze of 10 knots with nice shifts to play for the teams as we saw the higher ranked teams racing each other in the end of the first stage. But the matches got tighter and the excitement built, as did the wind. There were quite a few lead changes as the spectators watched from the shore.
At the end of Stage One, the Australians led by skipper Clare Costanzo were the only team that beat Pauline Courtois’ Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team who won the first stage with a ten wins and only that one loss. Kiwi Celia Willison’s Edge Racing and the Swedish team of Johanna Bergqvist tied with 9 wins, with Willison winning the tie break. These three teams were joined by Margot Riou and her APCC Women Sailing Team to advance directly to the quarter-final and earn an afternoon off from racing.
In the afternoon the breeze at Dishui Lake was building to over 16 knots with gusts to 22. Six teams went out to the Repechage round to fight for the last four spots to the quarter-finals. Costanzo’s Australian team found themselves just outside the top four team, but they had a second chance. And as the day went on the Australians looked better and better. In the Repechage they went undefeated and Costanzo summarized it: "Things have started to fall into place on the racetrack. We are really enjoying sailing with each other and the wind today was fun in the Fareast 28r. Our race against Courtois was good to consolidate everything we have learnt as a team and convert it into a win. We’re really looking forward to more racing tomorrow."
The breeze made it challenging in the Fareast 28r boats with the huge gennaker to control. And it came down to the very last match of the day when Russian skipper Ekaterina Chashchina managed to pass the local Chinese team skippered by Xiaowen Ni just before the finish line, winning with only a few meters between them. A few meters that gave her a ticket to the quarter-finals.
After being defeated and thrown out from further racing Xiaowen Ni commented on the loss and their experience as a local team at the event: "We feel very good about our achievement this week. For me it was the first time as a skipper in a match racing event and we are new as a team. I did match racing in the Elliott 6m as a bow-person, but it was more challenging and fun to drive. We really sailed our best and the learning curve is steep. We are already looking forward to next year!”
All eight teams for the quarter-finals starting tomorrow are now confirmed with Danish Lea Richter Vogelius’ Team Kattnakken and French Margot Vennin’s Matchmoiselles by Normandy Elite Team also advancing from the Repechage.