Thursday, December 04, 2008

Paolo Cian on fire, leads Monsoon Cup

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Italian Paolo Cian and his Team Shosholoza lead the field with four wins in the second day of racing in the 2008 Monsoon Cup being held in Malaysia.

Cian is one place ahead of defending match racing world and Monsoon Cup champion Ian Williams’ Bahrain Team Pindar and Torvar Mirsky’s Mirsky Racing Team, both with three wins, at the half way mark in today’s racing.

Regatta Director Skip Lissiman reports the starts have been a lot fairer today with the start line being moved in towards to the regatta dock and out of the tidal stream. “The starts are more equalised as the boats are out of the tide at the start. They are in more neutral current with the starts having less bearing on the race result.”

In the first flight of the day Sebastien Col defeated Mathieu Richard, Paolo Cian beat Adam Minoprio, Mirsky defeated Nurul Ain and in the match of the flight, Ian Williams defeated Peter Gilmour.

Richard reported at match end “It was an interesting race. We had an equal start and got the right side. We were ahead. Col then passed us on the second run. He got the pressure and covered us. After the gybe, he did a good job of covering us. Obviously we need more wins. The current is difficult and the wind is very shifty. We are not sure where we are going wrong. We are sailing as well as we can.”

In the Williams versus Gilmour match Gilmour started brilliantly, but with a luffing duel before the top mark, found himself carrying a penalty and Williams taking the lead. A rip in the spinnaker had Williams looking nervous, but it held until race end. It was not until the final beat that Williams then took a left hand shift and extended his lead. By the final rounding of the top mark Williams was five lengths ahead. After the match Gilmour said on being told by the umpires he was penalised for luffing too hard at the top mark, “I will have to check the rule book tonight. I think he (Williams) sailed pretty nicely in the match”.

Mirsky and Cian prestart on Day 2. Kuala Terengganu, 4 December 2008. Photo copyright AUS

In the second flight of the day Cian defeated Mirsky, Williams defeated Nurul Ain, Magnus Holmberg defeated Gilmour and Adam Minoprio defeated Keith Swinton.

Cian reported at the end of his match against Mirsky “It was a tricky match. It was not one side or the other. We defended the right in the pre-start and we won the right. Torvar went out the left and was ahead at the first cross. They defended the right and we continued left and we crossed ahead of him. Torvar was ahead at the second windward mark. They gybed too early and we gained the starboard side advantage and we locked them out."

Two of the young guns in this event, Swinton and Minoprio were aggressive in their pre-start. Minoprio used his Tour experience to force Swinton, who came to the Monsoon Cup after winning the Asian Championship, into a penalty on the start as Swinton tried to get out of trouble. Unperturbed Swinton got back into the game keeping a close cover on Minoprio. A luffing duel near the top mark ensued with Minoprio taking the advantage and sneaking away from Swinton.

It was very tight racing for these two young teams. Picking up the shift on the upwind leg, Swinton kept abeam of Minoprio. At the top mark again they were still neck and neck. Swinton was poised to attack taking the right hand side on the final beat. But, by the last time around the top mark Minoprio opened his lead by about four boat lengths. Throughout the match Swinton showed he has the skill to be a great match racer in the future.

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