Pauline Courtois and Match in Pink - Overall winners of the 2022 Women's World Match Racing Tour Photo: Live Sail Die
Pauline Courtous Match in Pink wins double World Title
Pauline Courtois and her Match in Pink match racing team from France have successfully defended their world title winning the 2022 Barfoot & Thompson World Women's Match Racing Championships in Auckland, New Zealand. The team were also crowned champions of the inaugural 2022 Women's World Match Racing Tour after scoring the highest points over the four-event world tour.
Four days of match racing with the world's best female sailors, all vying for the title of Women's Match Racing World Champions, drew to a close, but not before delivering all of the excitement that comes with match racing to spectators. The global fleet of female sailors have been battling it out on the Waitemata Harbour, in Auckland's changeable and challenging conditions. Fog, squalls, sun and rain have kept sailors on their toes with four days of tight match racing, right in front of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and next to Auckland's iconic Harbour Bridge.
The winning skipper of the Barfoot & Thompson 2022 Women's Match Racing World Championship is 33-year-old sports teacher from Brest and helm of 'Match in Pink' (FRA), Pauline Courtois. Courtois started sailing at seven and racing at nine, and has been in match racing in different positions since 2011. Her favourite boat for match racing is the Elliott 6m, so racing in Elliot 7m this week saw her years of experience pay off at the end of the day when Courtois became champion of the event, taking a clean sweep 2-0 win against 24 year old Celia Willison's Edge Women's Match (NZL) in the finals match. The win comes just one week after also taking out the New Zealand Women's Match Racing title with the same two teams head to head and Courtois taking the top New Zealand spot from Willison.
The five-strong Match in Pink team held on tight at the top of the pack throughout the round-robin flights, landing themselves in a fiercely competitive three-way tie for first place after the round-robin was completed. Courtois held strong into the semi-finals before finishing with an astonishing win today.
Courtois and her team, consisting of Maelenn Lemaitre, Louise Acker, Thea Khelif and Clara Bayou, stood proudly onstage as the prize-giving guests gave them a hearty Kiwi congratulations and a standing ovation before Courtois delivered her short acceptance speech.
"A big thanks to the organisers and umpires. We had two amazing weeks here. To all the teams we thank you!"
Celia Willisons' New Zealand team, Edge Women's Match, which is made up of Willison and her longtime teammates Charlotte Porter, Serena Woodall, Paige Cook and Alison Kent, proudly took second place on the podium after an enjoyable competition sailing on home waters. Willison thanked the race sponsors, race committee and the umpires before congratulating her team and finally making special note of her tough competitor Courtois.
"Thank you to Pauline for just giving us 'heaps' in that final, it was a repeat of last week and we can't wait to race again!"
Sweden's Anna Östling and her team 'Wings' have ventured across the world alongside their supporters and have held on tightly to the top of the pack. Today they were paired with New Zealand's Megan Thomson and her team '2.0 Racing'. The teams went head-to-head today in the petit final, which was a sudden death, with Thompson ultimately taking out third place for the Kiwis on 2.0 Racing.
"Thanks very much to Pauline and her team. That semi-final was... Crazy," said Östling.
Auckland delivered light, shifty and frustrating conditions for the final day of racing, with the outgoing tide also providing another element for the sailors to deal with. However there was enough wind for racing to get underway and only a few short breaks were required due to changeable conditions.
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Commodore, Andrew Aitken, said Auckland lived up to its reputation as the City of Sails.
"We've seen Auckland deliver every sort of weather possible, today we had four seasons in half an hour! But the various teams, particularly the race management volunteers, pulled through to make the event a true success," said Aitken.
"We've seen some great racing, some really close racing, and in fact, all 14 teams were just right up there, which is just tremendous for women's sailing." he continued.
"It's magic to have a world-class event hosted here at the RNZYS and in Auckland, it's the sort of thing we like to do, and we probably don't do it enough. It's great to see yachting happening at this level in little New Zealand, competitors travelled from Australia, Great Britain, France, Sweden and the USA - it's really cool. I'd like to say well done to the competitors and we can't wait to have you back racing with the Squadron again!" said Aitken.