Friday, November 30, 2007

Peter Gilmour leads Monsoon Cup after end of round robin

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] The breeze was on when sailors arrived at the Heritage Bay Club in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia for the last six flights of the round robin series to determine who would qualify for the quarter finals of the final stage of the 2006/07 World Match Racing Tour. Tour scores are so close among the top six going into the regatta that any of the teams can win, so long as they make the first cut and go through to the quarterfinals.

The day started with the match that would elevate even a sloth’s heart rate – the face off between the #1 and #2 ranked teams on the World Match Race Tour - Mathieu Richard of Saba Sailing Team (1) and Ian Williams of Team Pindar (2). The pair used every play in the book during the pre-start sequence. Williams copped a penalty seconds before the start after nearly boxing Richard off at the committee boat. Williams was in hot pursuit throughout the three laps, but never gained enough of an advantage to do his penalty turn before Richard crossed the finish line only a few boat lengths ahead of him.

Three flights were completed in the morning and the fate was sealed for the women and Staffan Lindberg. The women took the stage first after lunch and Katie Spithill won her first, and only, match of the regatta.

In the Mirsky Williams match. Torvar Mirsky and Ian Williams did a dizzying number of circles during the pre-start with each trying to gain the right side advantage at the start. During the final approach, the boats luffed beam to beam and Williams, who went beyond head to wind, was given a penalty. Williams shot out of the starting area with the speed advantage and Mirsky went left. Williams rounded the weather mark just ahead of Mirsky who went bow down so that Williams couldn’t put a lock on him. The boats came together several times and multiple green flags were raised by the judges. Once he took the lead, Mirsky held on. It was a thriller of a race.

With the women eliminated and Staffan Lindberg knocked out with his fifteenth round loss, the feature match was between Sebastien Col and Bjorn Hansen to determine who would make it through to the quarter finals. Hansen was over early at the pin end of the line in his face off against Col. Hansen closed the gap and blanketed Col on the second run. The beat was close and the pair luffed up at the weather mark. Hansen popped his chute first and the pair sailed their final run with Hansen in the lead. Hansen’s win secured his entry into the quarter finals, while Col was excused from the remainder of the competition.

The quarter finalists will start the day on Saturday with a clean scoreboard, a greater understanding of local conditions, better boat handling and a heightened desire to win every race toward the World Championship Title and the purse for the Monsoon Cup’s grand prize.

Among the top three leaders going into the final stage of the World Match Racing Tour’s 2006/2007 season, it will come down to who moves on to the next round. With Sebastien
Col eliminated from the series, the young Turks and Peter Gilmour have the potential to be spoilers and knock the top three out of contention for the season’s Grand Prize.

In a change to the format, the top competitors chose their initial opponents for the first flight of the quarterfinals. Dato Peter Gilmour will face off against Adam Minoprio; Torvar Mirsky will race Bjorn Hansen; Mathieu Richard chose Paolo Cian leaving Jesper Radich matched with Ian Williams. Report by Lynn Fitzpatrick.

At the end of the Round Robin the results are:

1st Dato’ Peter Gilmour (AUS) PST: 9.5-1
2nd Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch Racing 8-3
3rd Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team: 8-3
4th Mathieu Richard (FRA) Saba Sailing Team: 7-4
5th Jesper Radich (DEN) Radich Racing 7-4
6th Paolo Cian (ITA) Shosholoza 6-5
7th Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Team Apport.Net: 6-5
8th Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar: 5-6
9th Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team: 4-7
10th Sebastien Col (FRA) Areva Challenge: 4-7
11th Katie Spithill (AUS) Team Acuity: 1-10
12th Tiffany Koo (MAS) UK Halsey Gapurna Team: 0-11



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