Racing continued into the early evening of Day 3 of the Normandy Match Cup as the semi-finals got underway in a fresh 12-15knots, combined with a challenging current off the Le Havre beach.  The semi-final pairings of Pauline Courtois (FRA) v Julia Aartsen (NED), and Megan Thomson (NZL) v Kenza Coutard (FRA) each finished their matches levelled at 1-1 in some of the closest racing of the event.  

The day started late with a wait ashore for the breeze to fill. As the teams headed to the course in the afternoon, the quarter-finals were completed with New Zealand’s Thomson defeating Denmark’s Kristine Mauritzen 3-0, France’s Kenza Coutard defeating Julia D’Amodio 3-1, and the Netherlands’ Julia Aartsen taking five matches to defeat Australia’s Brooke Wilson 3-2 and secure her spot in the semis.

As the breeze freshened, the semi-final pairings of Courtois (FRA) v Aartsen (NED), and Thomson (NZL) v Coutard (FRA) readied for battle amidst multiple penalties in both matches. Having to contend with the shifting breeze and a complicated current, defending Normandy Match Cup champion Courtois and her Match in Pink team secured the first match win over Aartsen.

Undeterred, Aartsen and crew were determined in the second match, leading the start and the race before making an error hoisting their genoa at the final top-wind mark. Courtois saw the opportunity and passed Aartsen with a straight line run to the finish. But playing the shifts in the final minute of the downwind leg, Aartsen gybed to the line inside Courtois and headed for the favoured committee boat end of the line resulting in a photo finish for the race.

“It was probably the closest finish line call I have ever had to make in match racing” commented Principal Race officer Anne Malledant “I had both [yellow and blue] flags in my hands as both boats crossed the line, I had a to take a few seconds to check the colour of the flag that passed the line first.”

A relieved Aartsen and crew were delighted with the result, levelling their score 1-1 with Courtois. “That was a pretty close finish, we didn’t know we had made it over the line first but it was great to get the win and in our first semi-final on the Women’s World Match Racing Tour too!.”

Racing concludes tomorrow with the end of the semi-finals and finals, and a Queen of the castle knockout for 5th-7th places.

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