Groeneveld beat Roble to win St. Thomas event
– but on the 2016 WIM Series podium the order is reversed
On St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Olympic match racing star Renée Groeneveld and her Dutch team of Annemieke Bes, Lobke Berkhout and Mijke Lievens, won their first WIM Series event ever. They defeated Stephanie Roble’s Epic Racing 3 – 0 in the thrilling final of the Carlos Aguilar Match Race. But, by reaching the final, the American’s secured the runner-up spot on the 2016 WIM Series:
“The girls on board did a really amazing job keeping us fast around the course at all points, and keeping us calm in the shifty conditions. I think that paid off over the long run,” says Stephanie Roble.
“Everything fell into place for us, and I’m really happy to sail so well together with my team,” comments Groeneveld, who took the 3rd podium position on the 2016 WIM Series.
After just a short postponement due to very light breeze Sunday morning, Principal Race Officer Darcy Cook got the racing going in the Charlotte Amalie harbour of St Thomas. Renée Groeneveld and Stephanie Roble both continued their winning streak that started Saturday afternoon, finalising each of their semi finals to dispatch Swedes Caroline Sylvan and Anna Östling with a clear and comfortable 3 – 0 scorecard.
Having lost only two matches during the whole event, Renée Groeneveld looked very strong going into the final matches. The question was how much Stephanie Roble could capitalize on her local knowledge, having participated in many Carlos Aguilar Match Races over the last few years, with a runner-up finish in the open event in 2015. Apparently the prestarts showed to be more important than ever:
“The starts were tricky because along the shore there wasn’t a lot of breeze, so we had to try to keep the boat going and going. To win the start and pick the right side was the key today, and I think we did a really good job in the last half minute before the start, to achieve that,” says Groeneveld.
“Then we had really good teamwork, really good spinnaker sets and drops, and it was good fun too. The flow in our boat was the best,” analyses Groeneveld, sending her regards to Regatta Director Verian Tuttle and her team.
“This was the best match racing event I’ve ever been to. Can we please have a WIM Series event here next year again?”
Stephanie Roble, Maggie Shea, Liz Shaw and Janel Zarkowsky of Epic Racing did all they could to prevent Groeneveld & Co from winning the event, but their efforts weren’t enough:
“We were fighting for the starboard side of the course all day, and it was clear they wanted the same. Whoever got the starboard side on the first beat was able to extend, and they did a nice job doing that, so props to them,” says Roble, who at least secured the 2nd place on the 2016 WIM Series.
“Coming into this event there were five teams in play for second overall, and we knew it was going to be about winning the war, not the battle. That being said, we focused on winning every race we could,” Roble comments.
The all-Swedish petite finale was sailed between two teams who know each other extremely well, both representing the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club. They raced in two tight matches, with lots of lead changes and exciting situations. World Champion and 2016 WIM Series winner Anna Östling of Team Anna proved to be strongest, defeating Caroline Sylvan and her New Sweden Match Racing Team with two straight wins:
“Our day ended really good at this fantastic event. It’s always better to finish a regatta with a win, and now we’re back on the podium again,” says Östling, referring to her disappointing 4th place in the Busan event a month ago.
“It was a tough start this morning against Stephanie and her crew, who made a perfect last semi final race while we struggled a lot. They were better than us in these boats and in these conditions. But we learned a lot, and brought that with us into the bronze match,” Östling explains.
For Caroline Sylvan the fourth place in the U.S. Virgin Islands event is her best performance on the 2016 WIM Series:
“I think we sailed really well against Anna today, but unfortunately we got one penalty in each match, although we didn’t agree with the umpires. I wouldn’t say they decided the whole thing, but they certainly didn’t help us,” sighs Sylvan, who finished 5th overall on the 2016 WIM Series.
The 2016 WIM Series kicked off with the Helsinki Women’s Match in Finland in June, followed by the Lysekil Women’s Match on the west coast of Sweden in early August. The World Championship and the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA, was held in September, and then the Busan Cup Women’s International Match Race in Korea in October. Finally the Carlos Aguilar Match Race in the sunny U.S. Virgin Islands was, according to WIM Series Manager Liz Baylis, the most perfect way to conclude the fourth WIM Series season:
“As I said in the beginning of the week, there is nothing better than finishing the 2016 WIM Series in paradise!”
Overall results in the Carlos Aguilar Match Race, the 5th and ultimate event of the 2016 WIM Series, in St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (skipper, crew, country, WIM Series points, prize money in USD):
1. Renée Groeneveld, Annemieke Bes, Lobke Berkhout, Mijke Lievens, NED, 25, 2 500
2. Stephanie Roble, Maggie Shea, Elizabeth Shaw, Janel Zarkowsky, USA, 22, 2 000
3. Anna Östling, Karin Almqvist, Linnéa Wennergren, Annie Wennergren, SWE, 20, 1 500
4. Caroline Sylvan, Malin Holmberg, Louise Kruuse Af Verchou, My Karlsten Sfiris, SWE, 18, 1 200
5. Nicole Breault, Eliza Richartz, Sarah Lihan, Sarah Suhich, USA, 16, 1 000
6. Josefine Boel Rasmussen, Trine Bentzen, Lærke Nørgaard, Joan Vestergaard Hansen, DEN, 14, 900
7. Pauline Courtois, Maelenn Lemaître, Bérénice Delpuech, Juliette Le Friec, FRA, 12, 800
8. Antonia Degerlund, Carla Westersund, Daniela Rönnberg, Lisa Gerkman, FIN, 10, 700
9. Johanna Bergqvist, Ellinor Hansson, Johanna Thiringer, Nora Nyborg, SWE, 8, 500
10. Morgan Collins, Julia Wiesner, Mimi Roller, Elleanor Wells, USA, 7, 400
11. Linnea Floser, Hanna Ericksson, Sara Edholm, Raisa Räisinen, SWE, 6, 300
12. Sandy Hayes, Cindy Olsen, Sarah Enwright, Marcy Lake, USA, 5, 200
Results in the final:
Renée Groeneveld, NED – Stephanie Roble, USA, 3 – 0
Results in the petite final:
Anna Östling, SWE – Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 2 – 0
Semi final results:
Renée Groeneveld, NED – Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 3 – 0
Stephanie Roble, USA – Anna Östling, SWE, 3 – 0
Overall results in the 2016 WIM Series (skipper, country, WIM Series points, prize money):
1. Anna Östling, SWE, 95, 25 000 USD
2. Stephanie Roble, USA, 76, 15 000 USD
3. Renée Groeneveld, NED, 73, 10 000 USD
4. Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 68
5. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 66
6. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 60
7. Nicole Breault, USA, 26
8. Katie Spithill, AUS, 25
9. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 22
10. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 22
11. Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 21
12. Claire Leroy, FRA, 20
13. Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 20
14. Lotte Meldgaard, DEN, 18
15. Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 18
16. Samantha Norman, NZL, 14
17. Sanna Häger, SWE, 14
18. Diana Kissane, IRL, 14
19. Alexa Bezel, SUI, 12
20. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 12
21. Elizabeth Shaw, CAN, 8
22. Susanna Kukkonen FIN, 8
23. Morgan Collins, USA, 7
24. Linnea Floser, SWE, 6
25. Milly Bennett, AUS, 6
26. Gyeong Jin Lee, KOR, 5
27. Sandy Hayes, USA, 5
28. Sanna Mattsson, SWE, 5
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.
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
Carlos Aguilar Match Race (CAMR). Namesake for the late Carlos Aguilar, who was an avid Virgin Islands’ sailor and match racer, the CAMR traditionally features highly ranked men’s and women’s match racing teams. Past winners of the Open Division in the CAMR reads like a Who’s Who of sailing: the USVI’s Taylor Canfield (2008, 2015), USVI’s Peter Holmberg (2009), Portugal’s Alvaro Marinho/Seth Sailing Team (2010), USA’s Sally Barkow (2011), Finland’s Staffan Lindberg (2012) and the USA’s Don Wilson (2013). Women’s Division winners are just as renowned: the USA’s Genny Tulloch triumphed in 2008 and 2010 and France’s Claire Leroy in 2009. The CAMR is known internationally for introducing young sailors to the sport, working cooperatively with the V.I. government and V.I. Department of Tourism in its efforts to get more of the island’s youth out on the water.
Images: A number of hi-res images are available for download on
More information about the Carlos Aguilar Match Race:
CAMR Co-Director Bill Canfield, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 340 626 0239
CAMR Co-Director Verian Aguilar Tuttle, email@example.com
CAMR Press Officer Carol Bareuther, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 340 774 2736 or +1 340 998 3650