Adam Minoprio reports from Saint Moritz Match Race
Hi all from BlackMatch,
Today was the first day of racing in the St Moritz World Match Racing Tour event, Switzerland. St Moritz is the 6th leg of the World Tour and is held on a beautiful lake 1800 meters above sea level, it is surrounded by absolutely stunning mountains and ski fields which provide an awesome back drop to the racing. There are 12 of the best match racing teams in the world competing here, including 8 out of the top 10 teams in the ISAF world rankings.
The regatta is being sailed in Blu 26 One design boats which are a brand new design for this event and are especially designed for the shifty conditions of lake sailing. They are four man boats, a very modern design with big sails that power the boats up early and they provided some excellent racing today in their maiden regatta.
Start of the fleet race. Saint Moritz, 3 September 2008. Photo copyright Loris von Siebenthal - www.myimage.ch
Conditions today were very tricky but absolutely perfect for match racing. A constant 8 knot breeze was the result of warm air rising over the mountains from neighbouring Italy, cooling at the top of the mountain range and then funnelling down the valley onto our race course. We had an excellent start to the regatta winning all 3 of our races and putting us in very good stead to progress through to the quarterfinals. With the fleet divided into two pools of 6 teams, we found ourselves in the same group as Ian Williams, Torvar Mirsky, Paulo Cian, Jes Gram-Hansen and Peter Wibroe. The top 3 teams from each pool win the right to go through to the final 8 quarter finals directly while the remaining 3 teams from either pool get a second chance in a repercharge series. We had wins today over Paulo, Jes and Peter and are the only team who remain unbeaten in the regatta. With the prospect of racing Torvar and Ian tomorrow who both only have one win so far, we are hoping to secure our spot in the quarterfinal and avoid the repercharge series.
Our most exciting race today was against Match Cup Germany runner up and Mascalzone Latino America's Cup helmsman, Jes Gram-Hansen. After an even pre-start the Dane sailed a very good tactical first beat to have a two boat length lead by the top mark. In an attacking move we gybe set and the Danish team responded by trying to luff hard and defend their lead. We were too good however and managed to roll over the top of them. By the bottom mark we held a slim lead but when the World Tour regular held us past our proper course and failed to give us adequate buoy room, he was handed a penalty. We had an awesome bottom mark drop during a pressure situation while they had a very untidy spinnaker drop and trawled their spinnaker, this helped us extend our lead to take a comfortable victory.
We would again like to say a special thank you to our sponsors: FedEx Express and Ross Munro from Line 7, their ongoing support is helping make this opportunity possible for the BlackMatch boys. To the RNZYS and everyone else, thank you for your support.