Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mathieu Richard wins St Moritz Match Race

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Mathieu Richard was crowned the ‘King of the Mountain’ today in St Moritz after beating Ian Williams 2-0 in a light wind final.

At 1130 this morning sailors, umpires and officials were sitting in the warmth of the café with their hot drinks and looking at a lake with not a breath of wind to be seen. Officials were making plans for the worst case scenario and working out the count back in case of no wind while everyone sat with their fingers crossed hoping the breeze would come in enough to get the racing under way.

Finally around lunch time the breeze arrived. It was barely visible on the lake but officials deemed it enough to race in. The first match of the day saw Ian Williams meet Adam Minoprio for a tough race in very shifty conditions. “Adam won the start, and led most of the way round the course, but it is like snakes and ladders out there and luckily we were able to roll them by the finish” commented Ian Williams. “I don’t know what we could have done better. To cover them, we would have had to do more gybes, and that would have cost us time. It almost seems like it would be easier to attack than defend” commented Adam Minoprio, but possibly a comment made a little to soon.

In the second match between the two, Williams hit the start line with pace, and got the favoured pin end. He led comfortably around the course, and was able to fend off Minoprio who attempted to roll ahead down the final leg but couldn’t quite make it. This win saw Ian Williams’ Team Pindar progress to the final.

In the other semi final, Mathieu Richard was already one up against fellow Frenchman Philippe Presti after winning the first match yesterday. The wind was rapidly disappearing and moments after the race started it looked as if the breeze had died completely. “We got very lucky because at the start of the race there was no wind, but we had got the left so managed to get ahead and stay in front for the rest of the race” said Mathieu Richard.

From there on, there was no stopping the French team who went onto win the final two nil against last year’s winner Ian Williams.

In the first match, a split tack saw Richard take an early lead but not enough to be able to cross in front of Williams. As the teams approached the top mark on opposite tacks, Richard on Port, they both luffed head to wind but Richard just had enough speed to wriggle around the bow of Team Pindar to take the lead. “Mathieu was faster off the start in both races, and that’s what won him the races. For some reason we weren’t able to attack or defend this afternoon,” said Williams at the press conference after racing.

In the petit-final Adam Minoprio went head to head with Philippe Presti. While Minoprio won the first race, Presti went on to take the next two and secure 3rd place. “Every location is different, St Moritz has beautiful mountains surrounding the lake but there is not a lot of wind so you have to do the best you can in the conditions” commented Presti after racing.

When the day finally finished after eight hours of on and off rain, Principal Race Officer Christian Scherrer told spectators “Today has been especially difficult, with the pressure of the cut off time and trying to make sure we avoided a tie, so I’m glad we got through it.”

The new ‘King of the Mountain’ and St Moritz Match Race 2008 champion is Mathieu Richard with his crew of Greg Evrad, Olivier Herledant and Jean Marie Dauris. “Today we had good speed, good trimming and good tactics,” said Richard, “of course it is good to beat Ian. He is still winning the tour, but we are putting the pressure on him and not letting him get too far ahead.” Currently Ian Williams leads the World Match Racing Tour with 92 points, followed by Mathieu Richard on 72 points.

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