Richard and Mirsky in the lead at Portugal Match Cup
[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Mathew Richard from the French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit, the number one ISAF ranked sailor in the world, continued his excellent form after winning the recent World Tour event in Switzerland with a storming day at the Troia Portugal Match Cup, winning four of his five matches on the opening day.
With many of the world’s best match racing stars here sailing the SM40’s, the competition for the $125,000 prize money event has already proven fierce in the opening flights of the Round Robin phase. Richard defeated Manual Weiller from Spain, then local hero Alvaro Marinho in a close match, Kiwi Adam Minoprio, and rising Aussie star Torvar Mirsky, finalist in Match Cup Sweden, who had his wings clipped by a masterful French display in the first flight of the day.
Mathieu Richard takes on Alvaro Marinho at Troia Portugal Match Cup 2008. Troia, 24 September 2008. Photo copyright Wander Roberto
However, this seemed to only spur on the young antipodian, who went on to match Richard’s winning ways in the shifty 6-8 knot breeze, taking the next four matches. In his final race of the six man group, Mirsky was brilliant, shutting out Manual Weiller in the closing seconds before the start who then incurred a double penalty from the umpires in trying to recover his position – game over.
Mirsky was naturally delighted with his performance in tying Richard’s result and commented, “Today has been a great day. The wind is really good, the water is flat and the current makes for interesting racing. The conditions are perfect for sailing SM40’s and it’s been a fun day”.
Racing started mid-afternoon after a misty, breathless morning, the wind gradually filling from the west into the mouth of the bay into which the Troia peninsular juts, south of Setubal near Lisbon. As a beautiful nature reserve, Troia provides a spectacular setting to the contest, its sandy beaches and lush greenery a huge draw for visitors, with a championship golf course and a new luxury hotel completing the scene.
Torvar Mirsky and his Mirsky Racing Team are second after the 1st day of Troia Portugal Match Cup 2008. Troia, 24 September 2008. Photo copyright Wander Roberto
The second group managed only one flight before both the wind and the light faded, with reigning World Match Racing Tour Champion and current leader, Ian Williams from the UK, winning the battle of the Brits, taking down newcomer Nick Cherry in his very first Tour race. Frenchman Seb Col again showed his class having won the biggest event of the year in Korea, he defeated the hugely experienced Magnus Holmberg from Sweden in a spirited opening match. Meanwhile another America’s Cup veteran, Paolo Cian from Italy kicked off his challenge for the Troia Portugal Match Cup by beating Bjorn Hansen from Sweden, with a stunning sunset rounding off the day.
Everyone is looking forward to tomorrow with the anticipation of some top class sailing, as this strong group moves through their flights, every match promising to be a classic, such as the first one – Col v Cian while Williams takes on Holmberg. Quite a day in store with racing planned to start mid-morning once the breeze builds.
Results after day 1
1. Mathieu Richard (FRA),French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit 4 - 1
2. Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team 4 – 1
3. Damien Iehl (FRA), French Match Racing Team 3 - 2
4. Alvaro Marinho (POR), 2 - 3
5. Adam Minoprio (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 1 - 4
6. Manuel Weiller (ESP), 1-4
7. Ian Williams (GBR), Team Pindar 1 - 0
8. Paolo Cian (ITA), Team Shosholoza 1 – 0
9. Sebastian Col (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge 1 – 0
10. Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Victory Challenge 0 – 1
11. Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team Team 0 – 1
12. Nick Cherry (GBR), Cherry Racing 0 - 1