Saturday, September 05, 2009

BlackMatch blast into final of St Moritz Match Race

Hi all from BlackMatch,

An extraordinary day for Blackmatch saw us beat the legendary Peter Gilmour 3 nil in the quarterfinals and then defeat current World Champion Ian Williams also 3 nil to qualify for the final of the St Moritz World Tour Event.

It has been a remarkable turnaround for the team after just scraping through to the quarterfinals by the slimmest of margins to now be in our third World Tour final of 2009. Things were not always so straight forward in our races both against Gilmour and Williams, but the team really pulled together to dominate in the shifty conditions and in doing so have secured our place back at the top of the World Tour Standings.

Video highlights from the 4 day of the St Moritz Match Race. St Moritz, 5 August 2009. Video copyright World Match Racing Tour

Perhaps a race that best depicted how our day went was our final match against Gilmour. After forcing a well worked penalty onto the Australian, we also managed to shut him out at the boat end of the line and gain the advantage off the start. Peter clawed his way back however and by the top mark he only trailed by a boat length. On rounding the mark he dialled up on starboard and managed to get inside us, colliding with the back quarter of our boat and the result was an immediate penalty on us. We had to complete our penalty turn as soon as possible and while dropping the spinnaker during our turn we made the mistake of failing to get the head below the gooseneck of the boom which is the rule and our penalty still stood. The result was that we had to do yet another turn and by the time we were settled Gilmour had opened up a big lead, but still had his penalty outstanding. We sailed a very good final upwind leg and started our fight back while it became apparent that Peter was going to attempt to do his penalty turn on the finish line. On the final downwind we sailed in great pressure and as they undertook their penalty around the pin end of the finish we were coming in with speed. Not only did we surge in to take a very narrow victory but they hit the finish mark and were handed another penalty, a very exciting way to end a race right in front of a packed grandstand on the lakes edge.

It is hard to explain a day like today, even faced with prestart penalties in two of our matches against Williams in our semi final, we still managed to extend away, undertake our penalty turns and take comfortable victories in all of our matches. In the other semi final Torvar Mirsky is 2-1 up against Frenchman Philippe Presti and it will be interesting to watch these two teams battle it out tomorrow to see who we will face in the final.

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