Friday, October 16, 2009

The Matador 2009 season according to skipper Guillermo Parada

2009 was a long and tough year for us on Matador.

After lying second at the Medcup for most of the season, we finished fourth.

Many things happened in between (I lost my mother during the Portimao regatta, and our bowman lost his father when we were flying to Cartagena) but, no excuses, we made a lot of mistakes, sailed poorly, and were beaten fair and straight by ETNZ, Quantum and Artemis.

We then looked at the Worlds as a perfect opportunity to get things back on track, we talked and learned about the mistakes we made and we were always confident in our team ability and in the speed of our Vrolijk design Matador, we just needed to put all things together.

Palma is a venue that we perfectly know, it suits our style, and we all feel there as at home.

Matador won the 3 TP52 events held at Palma (Palmavela , Copa del Rey and Worlds), so that speaks for itself.

Off we went into racing, and after a decent first day of sailing, we found ourselves DSQ in the second race, being the middle boat on a 3 boats incident.

We always felt that we were in the right, and we were able to reopen the hearing by bringing new evidence, to find out that the jury ratified their original decision, as they didn´t find a reason to change it.

We've been told that this was a very unusual case, and that a Q&A was being sent to ISAF to clarify it, as they couldn't tell us what we could have done differently not to be disqualified.

At this stage we were under a lot of pressure, as not only we needed to prove our innocence, but to keep sailing in a way to keep our chances open in case we were reinstated, not an easy thing to do.

After the abandoned costal race, we found that the Jury reinstated us on the second race, under rules 66 and 20.2

We were obviously very happy with this, as we kept fighting on the water and we were now 2nd overall going into the final day of racing.

The last day presented as challenger as ever, as the weather was very unstable, with small tornados developing over the mountains.

Quantum got the best start and took advantage of the left side to win the first race of the day.

We were not that lucky in the first beat and rounded in 5th, position that we held until the last run, when we made a good move to the left of the fleet to come back to third. Bribon was 4th and Artemis 5th.

At this stage and going into the final race, Bribon was leading from Quantum , and we were third overall, but Bribon had a protest from Artemis that was going to be held after racing.

We needed to win that race and have one boat in between us and Quantum to win the tie breaker.

We liked the right of the beat, so after a clean start , right we went.We used our good speed to take advantage of a right hand shift and led every mark of the race.

Quantum was middle fleet until the last run, when they played the right of the course and came back from 5th to 3rd, just 1.5 lenghts short of 2nd.

This was just enough for us to tie in points and win the tie breaker as we had same amount of firsts, but one more 3rd position.

We won the regatta on the last day on the water, nobody can argue with this , and hopefully ISAF will clarify the rules in order to avoid this happening again. Wining this regatta was a big accomplishment for us, a big life lesson to keep fighting until the very end and never let us down.

As a balance for the season, we won 4 out of the 8 TP 52 regattas of the year (the only ones together with ETNZ to win a TP52 regatta) and we reversed the trend of the last 2 Medcup events by winning the World Championship, so hopefully we can start building from there for the future.

We made it happen, on the water, and on the right way.

Something that we all feel very proud about.

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