Sunday, June 21, 2009

3rd Time lucky for BlackMatch over Peter Gilmour

Hello from BlackMatch in Portugal,

Having lost to Gilmour twice previously in the quarterfinal of the 2007 Monsoon Cup and the Final last year, it was a case of 3rd time lucky as we secured our first win against the three time World Match Racing Champion, in a knockout stage of an event. Our quarter final match up with Gilmour was an extremely close affair and went right down to the wire. We took the first match with a text book start and sailed cleanly to victory while the next race saw Gilmour do a similar thing to us, however the third race was an absolute nail biter and saw plenty of action.

Great performance by BlackMatch Racing that gets a berth in the semifinals. Troia, 20 June 2009. Photo copyright Wander Roberto

After trailing off the start line we fought back to stay in touch up the first beat and after an excellent spinnaker hoist we started to roll over the Australian skipper and his Yanmar Sailing Team. We then thought we could complete a gybe so in an attacking move we gybed at him on starboard, but a cool Gilmour held his nerve and his course, which resulted in a collision and a penalty to us. They then gybed off and we followed going straight into an aggressive luff, while they failed to keep clear and they themselves were then handed a penalty. There was a lot of yelling in a heated situation which saw our boat become entangled with Gilmours spinnaker sheet around our bow as his spinnaker ‘flogged’. The gybe back toward the bottom mark was interesting as our boats were locked together with their sheet and by the time they cleared it they had not given us enough room at the bottom mark and were given a red flag penalty to be taken immediately. All of this action made for some adrenalin pumping sailing but by the time Gilmour had completed his penalty we knew defensive sailing would seal a win for us.

The fourth match was an absolute shocker for us as we received a penalty in the pre-start for gybing too close to them and then received a second penalty in a port/starboard incident near the top mark which was the nail in the coffin to set up a fifth decisive match. We got a great start in the final match and sailed well tactically around the course to seal our semi final berth against the current world champion Ian Williams.

It is fantastic to have qualified for the semi finals here in Portugal, especially after the disappointment of Korea a fortnight ago and to do it against such a great competitor was even more satisfying. We are looking forward to the challenge of racing Ian Williams tomorrow in the semi finals while fellow Line 7 sponsored Torvar Mirsky will take on Mathieu Richard in the other semi final.

BlackMatch would like to again thank their sponsors FedEx Express and Line 7 New Zealand. We would also like to thank our yacht club the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand.

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