Claire Leroy took the Busan round-robin
– and Lucy Macgregor won three-way-tie for runner-up position
Experience, experience and nothing but experience, that’s what really counts when it comes to match racing, the chess game of sailing. And Claire Leroy has got loads of it, with two World Championship titles, several years as number one on the world ranking, and double triumphs in the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race under her belt. Now the French skipper has just won yet another round-robin. In Korea. With an impressive 9 – 2 score. Is she on her way to a third Busan title?
“We really couldn’t imagine this result a couple of days ago, but now we’ll have to make it to the semis. And anything can happen there,” she notes with a smile.
Claire Leroy and her Mermaid Sailing Team had a really successful Thursday on the waters just outside Haeundae Beach in Busan. The French team won six straight matches, and didn’t lose a single one during the whole day. That perfect score took them all the way to the top of the leader board. In testing conditions with 20 knots of shifty and puffy breeze, combined with a lot of swell and some current, Leroy kept her head clear and followed a strategy the team laid out in the morning:
“We tried to be calm and patient in every situation, doing all manoeuvres in the easiest possible way. I wanted to save my crew, who had a really hard job in the rough weather,” she reveals.
Some of Leroy’s matches were harder fought than others, and she’s especially mentioning her fierce battle against the Danish Team Ulrikkeholm, with substitute skipper Trine Palludan:
“We won the start, but it was quite close and they could cross in front of us up the first beat. Then we caught a wind shift and managed to get ahead again at the next crossing. From there on I think we had the race, even if it was very close and exciting all the way to the finish,” says the French skipper.
“The conditions were quite difficult today, with winds shifting a lot in both pressure and direction. Generally I think we had our heads a little too much inside the boat, instead of outside it,” Palludan analyses.
Like Claire Leroy, Lucy Macgregor is a very skilled match racing skipper, with two previous overall wins in the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, this year the 4th event of the 2016 WIM Series. The British skipper finished runner-up in the round-robin, after winning a three-way-tie with Palludan and Swedish World #1 Anna Östling, all on a 8 – 3 score:
“It was really tough out there today, but my crew did an awesome job in our six straight matches, with nearly no mistakes at all. But we missed one shift against Anna, and of course she used that to her advantage,” Macgregor explains.
The local Korean hero Gyeong Jin Lee surprisingly won her match against the British team, when Macgregor got her boat stuck in a fishing net and had to spend some time backing off from it. As the Lee crew got their only victory for the week, they cheered and shouted loudly when coming ashore to their loyal supporters:
“It was just a pure mistake. First we saw the net, but then we lost track of it again in the gusts and the swells,” Macgregor sighs.
Reigning World #1 Anna Östling stresses again that match racing is truly a sailing discipline based on skills and experience, explaining how she could lose her match against Claire Leroy:
“We had a very bad start against Claire, and that’s just not allowed when facing such an experienced skipper. It’s been very close racing, and I don’t think we’ve made very many mistakes. On the contrary we’ve consistently been sailing quite well,” she points out.
American Stephanie Roble is looking forward to the quarterfinals, not too disappointed with her sixth place in the round-robin:
“We had a good day with a lot of fun in the breeze, improving in every race. I think we made some really good prestarts too, and sailed the shifts well,” she comments.
If the breeze and the swells put all crews to the test, it was probably worst for the young Australian Team Tiger. Their crew members are so small that they can be six people on board, within the same weight limit as the five people teams. Nevertheless they had a hard time in the quite heavy Thursday weather, finishing the round-robin on 11th place with just one victory:
“It’s pretty cool coming out here racing the top sailors. We’re really happy to be here and learn a lot,” says Team Tiger skipper Milly Bennett.
The Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race continues Friday with the quarterfinals, to conclude Saturday with semis and final.
Round-robin result in the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, the 4th event of the 2016 WIM Series (name, nationality, wins – losses). The top eight advances to the quarterfinals:
1. Claire Leroy, FRA, 9 – 2
2. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 8 – 3
3. Trine Palludan, DEN, 8 – 3
4. Anna Östling, SWE, 8 – 3
5. Katie Spithill, AUS, 7 – 4
6. Stephanie Roble, USA, 7 – 4
7. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 6 – 5
8. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 5 – 6
9. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 4 – 7
10. Diana Kissane, IRL, 2 – 9
11. Milly Bennett, AUS, 1 – 10
12. Gyeong Jin Lee, KOR, 1 – 10
The Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) is the first and only professional sailing series for women, hosted by the Women’s International Match Racing Association and joined by the world’s leading women match racing sailors. Match racing is sailed in two identical boats around a short course, providing fast action close to the crowds on shore. The intense racing is just as exciting for the spectators as it is strategically, tactically and physically challenging for the competing crews.
An overall prize purse of 50 000 USD will be distributed by the WIM Series in addition to the prize money at each of the four events included in the 2016 WIM Series (date, event name, location, boat type):
- June 27 – July 1, Helsinki Women’s Match, Helsinki, Finland, J/80.
- August 8 – 13, Lysekil Women’s Match, Lysekil, Sweden, DS 37.
- September 20 – 25, Women’s Match Racing World Championship & Buddy Melges Challenge, Sheboygan, USA, Elliott 6m.
- October 25 – 29, Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race, Busan, South Korea, K30.
- December 1 – 4, Carlos Aguilar Match Race, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, IC 24.
The WIM Series is hosted by WIMRA. Official suppliers are Sailnet, Sebago, MILK, Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan, Adstream, Intertidal Ventures, Fredag and Match Racing Results Service.
Images: A number of hi-res images are available for download on www.wimseries.com/media/
More information about the Women’s International Match Racing Series:
WIM Series Press Officer Joakim Hermansson, email@example.com, +46 70 604 25 04
WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis, Liz@wimseries.com, +1 415 691 6202
The Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race is hosted by the Busan Sailing Federation, with the support of the Metropolitan City of Busan.
More information about the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race:
Busan Cup Organizing Committee Jay Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org, +82 10 8745 5754
Busan Cup Press Contact Ji Hyun Choi, email@example.com