Saturday, November 28, 2009

Adam Minoprio and Ben Ainslie advance to Australia Cup semis

[Source: Sunseeker Australia Cup] Sunseeker Australia Cup Quarter Final time. Day three started with a brisk morning breeze and some even brisker morning racing in the first quarter final flights being sailed off the Royal Perth Yacht Club in Matilda Bay.

The first pairing on the water was 2009 World Match Racing Tour leader Adam Minoprio from New Zealand sailing against France’s Mathieu Richard, currently fourth on the Tour. Richard has been sailing consistently in recent years; third overall in 2008 and second in 2006 and 2007.

Despite some aggressive pre-start battles between the two, Minoprio won all three races.

In the first two matches, with winds at 12-15 knots from the east, Minoprio positioned himself for the windward starts, on the left hand side with a gauged start. He was protecting the starboard advantage and the left was certainly paying.

As the wind eased before the start of the last match, with a start in seven to eight knots, he put himself close to leeward.

It was only in this, the third match, that Richard looked like he might upset the applecart. With conditions getting a little fluky, he took the lead downwind, but Minoprio gained on the right hand side and sailed to a narrow victory.

The Tour leader was through to the semis and the French team headed for Perth's Cottesloe Beach for lunch.

Mathieu Richard was ‘disappointed to miss the semis. The conditions on the Perth Waters course are quite tricky, but it’s a superb place to sail.

'We are aiming for a podium finish on the 2009 World Tour, so a win in Terengganu would suit us perfectly and if Adam happens to come seventh and Torvar sixth, that would give us the World Tour Championship.'

Ben Ainslie sails to victory in quarter final race against Phil Robertson. Perth, 28 November 2009. Photo copyright Sail World Australia

The battle between the triple Olympic Gold Medallist Ben Ainslie and the newly crowned Asian Match Racing champion, Aucklander Phil Robertson was next.

Robertson, who came the New Zealand Youth Match Racing program does not hold back. Sailing aggressively he pushed Ainslie hard in the first race.

Robertson was pushing the envelope; the umpires were busy with plenty of flags flying. Robertson got a penalty on Ainslie downwind and lead at the bottom mark and held on to win.

In the second race, Ainslie headed left, Robertson right, when they came together Ainslie was just ahead, there was a tussle at top mark, but Ainslie held onto his lead.

In the third match, both received penalties at the top mark. But Ainslie went on to win and he did the same in the fourth and final match.

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