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Fickle Winds Challenge Sailors in Helsinki

Fickle Winds Challenge Sailors in Helsinki

Fickle Winds Challenge Sailors in Helsinki
The game was against nature as well as other teams

Someone forgot to make a deal with the Nordic wind god, Aeolius, as racing starts in Finland for the 2017 Women’s Match Racing World Championship. The race committee and teams faced challenges all day as light and shifty winds dominated the first day of the round robin stage in the beautiful waters of Helsinki Harbour. The local teams seemed to take to the conditions a little better than some of the higher-ranked international teams as the local Pen & Hammer Sailing Team skippered by Mikaela Fors (FIN) took an early win over the current World Champions, Team Anna, skippered by Anna Östling (SWE). “Very difficult conditions here so you have to be super alert all of the time” noted Fors.

The day started with very light southerly winds that bounced around with forty degree shifts followed by a huge shift to the west before dying out completely for nearly two hours. The patience of the race committee and sailors paid off as a more steady southerly breeze came in the afternoon.

“We were not envious of the group sailing in the morning, but were very happy to get two wins in the afternoon to start off our week. The race committee did a very good job in tricky conditions” commented Lucy Macgregor (GBR).

Although the sailors may have been frustrated waiting for the winds to fill in, the spectators enjoyed the warm summer day along the shoreline watching the racing. The crowds at the popular Löyly restaurant and saunas were treated to mark rounding within meters of their balcony when the winds shifted to the west. Later in the day, the large crowds in Hernesaaren Ranta were entertained by live commentary from local match race expert Alpo ‘Abe’ Kaakinen.

The forecast for the rest of the Championship may continue to cause challenges, so the world-class sailors will need to focus on the details if they are going to become champions.

Results in the 2017 Women’s Match Racing World Championship, the first event of the 2017 WIM Series, after day 1 of the round-robin (skipper, nationality, wins – losses):
1. Mikaela Fors, FIN, 3 – 1
1. Trine Palludan, DEN, 3 – 1
3. Martina Karlemo, FIN, 2 – 0
3. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 2 – 0
5. Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 2 – 1
5. Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 2 – 1
7. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 1 – 0
7. Margot Riou, FRA, 1- 1
9. Anna Östling, SWE, 1 – 2
9. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 1 – 2
11. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 0 – 1


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.

2017 WIM Series (date, event name, location, boat type):
* 16-21 June – 2017 Women’s Match Racing World Championship – Helsinki, Finland – J/80
* 7-12 August – 2017 Lysekil Women’s Match – Lysekil, Sweden – Fareast 28
* 13-18 November – 2017 Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race – Busan, South Korea – K30
* 30 November – 3 December – 2017 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, Adstream, Intertidal Ventures, Fredag and Match Racing Results Service.

Images: A number of hi-res images are available for download on
Video: All videos are available on

More information about the Women’s International Match Racing Series:
WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis,, +1 415 691 6202

Nyländska Jaktklubben, NJK, was founded in 1861 and is with more than 2 000 members and numerous yacht racing accomplishments the leading Finnish Yacht Club. NJK has trained several Olympic champions, and has a great heritage within match racing. The event venue of the 2017 Women’s Match Racing World Championship will be close to the shore in the southern part of the town, near Eira and Hernesaari (Ärtholmen) areas. The former industrial site of Hernesaari is transforming into a residential area, and thanks to the great sea views, the Hernesaaren ranta restaurant complex and the Löyly public sauna, the place has quickly become very popular.

More information about the 2017 Women’s Match Racing World Championship:
Local Press Officer Leena Vento-Selen,, +358 50 389 46 00

The World Sailing Women’s Match Racing World Championship is an annual event that was first held in Genoa, Italy in 1999, after a successful event was held as part of the 1998 ISAF Sailing World Championship in Dubai, UAE. Skippers are invited to attend the Championship based on their World Sailing Match Racing Ranking position. Denmark’s Dorte Jensen is the most successful sailor, having amassed four World Championship titles.

World Sailing Communications Department,, + 44 2380 635 111