Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Talent shines in day 2 of Korea Match Racing Cupa

[World Match Racing Tour] Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea – After a day spent trouncing many of their elder rivals, it appears that some relative newcomers to the World Match Racing Tour are now well on their way to securing berths in the next Quarter Final stage of the Korea Match Cup. Adam Minoprio (NZL) and his Emirates Team New Zealand/Black Match Racing has amassed eight points thus far in the Round Robin, second only on a tie-break to Jesper Radich (DEN) and his Rudy Project Sailing Team, while Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and his Mirsky Racing Team currently lie in third.

Radich secures his spot in the next round on his impressive 8-3 record, but said this about the young talent he faces in this competition: “I know it wasn’t too long ago that I was the ‘young guy’ in the field, but I know that’s not true anymore, because I got my butt kicked by another young guy today.” He was referring to Mirsky, who at 22 is indeed the youngest competitor at this event, but has also this year been active at many others on the Tour. Besides Radich, Mirsky dispensed today with two other past Tour champions and recent America’s Cup veterans, Magnus Holmberg (SWE) of Victory Challenge and Paolo Cian (ITA) of Team Shosholoza.

For his part, Minoprio said modestly that he was just glad to “have enjoyed a mistake-free day.” Even Wataru Sakamoto (JPN) and his Siesta Team, with only three wins on their scorecard, felled a giant too, defeating reigning World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) and his Team Pindar.

The match race action started slowly today, as a weak westerly seabreeze gave PRO David Tallis and his race management team fits until after lunch when the shift went right and the breeze built to a perfect 12 knots. With the pre-start area here in the Jeongok Marina only metres away from the spectator viewing area, it was no surprise that all day long there was a continuous stream of hundreds of spectators on hand to watch the teams battle it out in the speedy Bakewell-White-designed KM 36’s built here especially for this event. As part of the Korea International Boat Show, it is expected that the total number of visitors will surpass 100,000, making it the most populous event yet on the World Tour.

Besides seeing some of the younger talent achieve some upsets on the race course, these spectators were also treated to seeing some of the world’s most seasoned match racers display their skills in close, hard-fought battles against one another. One of these is the wily veteran Peter Gilmour (AUS) and his Team PST, who lived up to his reputation as a cunning and aggressive sailor, always taking the game to his opponent and never giving up even when trailing his competition. This aggressive style makes for fabulous spectating, but got Gilly in foul trouble today with the umpires, with match-losing penalties assessed him in three matches. And his loss to Mirsky was due to having missed a course change signal and rounded the wrong mark while ahead of his younger fellow Aussie.

But Gilly was not the only veteran to make this mistake, as Holmberg did the same in his last match of the day against Minoprio, handing the young Kiwi one of his eight matches for not having sailed the right course.

“We all agreed the mark was to be black at the start, but somehow we all then agreed it was red when we got to the top of the leg, so we rounded the red one,” said the former Tour champion. With only two wins scored and only three matches left to race, Holmberg’s chances to advance seem slim, but he remains upbeat: “There’s still a chance, so we’ll give it everything tomorrow.”

Stage One round robin racing concludes tomorrow morning, followed by the start of Stage Two in the Quarter Final knockout series.

Scores after 16 (of 22) flights:
Jesper Radich (DEN) Rudy Project Sailing Team 8-3
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 7-3
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 5-1
Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar 5-2
Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza 4-4
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team 3-2
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 3-2
Sébastien Col (FRA) K Challenge/French Match Racing Team 3-2
Wataru Sakamoto (JPN) Siesta Team 3-4
Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge 2-6
Peter Gilmour (AUS) Team PST 2-5
Seung Chul Lim (KOR) Korea Gyeonman Team 0-11



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