As we prepare for the second event in this year’s WIM Series in Vannes, France, it seems appropriate to remember someone from France who quietly, and in the background, was a major figure in women’s match racing.
As time passes, we sometimes lose sight of the people who have had great influence on our lives, and in some cases they may be people we never actually met.
In the realm of women’s match racing, one such person is Francoise Pascal. Those of you women who are now match racing, or who have match raced, may not realize the debt of gratitude that women’s match racing owes to her.
The trophy for the ISAF World Champion of Women’s Match Racing, given by the FFV (Fédération Française de Voile – French Sailing Federation) is named in in her honor.
Francoise was a very influential woman in the FFV and in ISAF. She was a strong and persistent advocate for women’s sailing in general, but most particularly for women’s match racing. She continually promoted and pushed for a larger role on the world’s sailing stage for women in match racing. She was a Vice-president of the FFV and a very staunch and articulate member of the ISAF Match Racing Committee.
Without her advocacy and persistence, it is unlikely that women’s match racing, worldwide, would have reached the level that it has. Francoise Pascal helped pave the way and was, in large measure, responsible for the popularity and success that women’s match racing has achieved.
Pascal passed away much too soon, some years ago, but she left a legacy from which all of you in match racing have benefited. For that we say “Thank you, Francoise.”