The New Zealand Women's Match Race Team have been invited to the next leg of the Women's International Match racing series after an impressive showing in Helsinki this week.
The team skippered by Celia Willison were knocked out of the quarter-finals 3-0 by Denmark's Trine Palludan who had earlier finished second in the round robin.
The New Zealand quintet qualified seventh for the quarter-finals with a record of six wins and six losses and achieved some good results, including a win over the French team skippered by Pauline Courtois who qualified fourth and then progressed to the semifinals.
Their performances were enough to receive an invitation to the second leg of the four-event series in Sweden from August 6-11 and the team are looking into whether this is feasible given the financial challenges, their university and work commitments and a regatta in Noumea in mid-August they have already committed to competing in. They also have ambitions to compete in both the Australian match racing national championships and Australian women's match racing nationals in September.
The team of Willison, Charlotte Porter, Paige Cook, Alison Kent and Erica Dawson relied on personal saving, money raised on their givealittle page and the generosity of family, friends and the sailing community to get to Helsinki.
They will feel satisfied they achieved their goal of finishing in the top half of the 13-team regatta and will give them confidence about their future. Willison is presently ranked 44th in the world after two ranking regattas and this will improve after Helsinki.
This year marks the sixth consecutive season of the WIM Series, the world’s first and only women’s professional sailing series founded in 2012.
Full results can be found here.