Saturday, November 28, 2009

Torvar Mirsky and Keith Swinton through to Sunseeker Australia Cup semis

[Source: Sunseeker Australia Cup] Day 3 of the Sunseeker Australia Cup had a blustery easterly of 16-20 knots at the start of racing at 0900 when the quarter finalist opponents went out on the water in Matilda Bay.

With a forecast temperature of 35 degrees in Perth it was only a matter of time before the easterly started to fade and the sea breeze set in, which it eventually did after the race officer John Rosser relocated the course from Matilda Bay in front of the Royal Perth Yacht Club to the Perth Water racecourse at the foot of the Perth CBD.

The sea breeze eventually fought off the easterly and settled into a 10-12 knot south westerly at 3.00pm. With the quarter finalists Francesco Bruni up against the winner of the round robin Torvar Mirsky and dual World Champion Ian Williams matched against local Keith Swinton in the first to win three match quarter finals.

Torvar Mirsky sails to victory in quarter final race against Francesco Bruni. Perth, 28 November 2009. Photo copyright Sail World Australia

Torvar Mirsky (Aust) V Francesco Bruni (Italy)

Winner from the Round Robin, Torvar Mirsky was probably regretting his decision in selecting Italian Francesco Bruni for the quarter final match, as Bruni completely outsailed Mirsky in the first two matches to go 2-0 up in shifty 8-12 knot SW breezes.

Mirsky then went on to claw back a well deserved win in the third match. In the fourth match, with Bruni sitting on match point, Bruni had the slight advantage on the beat but incurred a penalty for tacking too close to Mirsky. Mirsky did a great job to keep the match close and with Bruni trying to clear the penalty around the finish mark, crashed his bow into the side of Mirsky before he had completed his penalty to incur a second penalty gifting the race to Mirksy to even the score up at two all.

Subsequent to the finish, the umpires deemed the damage to be significant and deducted a full point penalty from Bruni, making the scoreline Mirsky 2, Bruni 1. In the final match of the day, with the sun creeping closer to the horizon, with Mirsky now 2-1 up on Bruni with the collision from the fourth flight, Mirsky dominated in a fading 8-10 knot south westerly. And although Bruni tried every trick in the book, he couldn’t make in-roads on the slender Mirsky lead to allow Mirsky to advance to the semi final stage, with a 3-1 win.

Young gun Keith Swinton upsets the form book and eliminates Ian Williams. Perth, 28 November 2009. Photo copyright Sail World Australia

Keith Swinton (Aust) V Ian Willams (Great Britain) – ‘Major Upset’

In the Swinton versus Williams quarter final match one, Swinton did a nice job of getting a penalty on Ian Williams in the prestart and kept the match close so on the final run, Williams were in front and slowed down to try and clear the penalty and in a luffing manoeuvre whilst going through the penalty tack with Swinton but the umpires deemed that he didn’t do it in the one smooth manoeuvre, so kept William’s penalty flag up and in a tight tousle to the finish Williams incurred a second penalty just on the finishing line to give Swinton first blood.

In the second race with Williams comfortably in front at the bottom mark his port winch failed with a pawl jamming making the winch inoperative and with Swinton throwing a series of tacks at Williams, his lead quickly evaporated. Swinton went on to win the second match. In the third match, Williams led from start to finish in a closely fought match to claw back a win to make the score line 1-2. In the fourth match, although close, Swinton dominated to advance three wins to 1.

The surprise entry into the final day of racing is Australian Keith Swinton who, in the upset of the tournament, knocked out favourite Ian Williams in three consecutive matches. The young Perth contender, who won only 3 of 9 matches in the initial Round Robin competition, rose to the occasion in the semi finals knocking out reigning double World Match Racing Champion Ian Williams.

Executive officer of Swan River Sailing and former Australia II America’s Cup crewman, Skip Lissiman said the slightly warmer conditions meant a delay in afternoon racing but added the delay was worth the wait.

“We were forced to delay racing on Perth water till 3.00pm but the wait was worth it ensure the skippers had to creative to force wins from each other. There was slightly less wind today which has ensured the competitors have had a full range of conditions over the past three days of the Sunseeker Australia Cup. This provides them with exceptional practice for the Monsoon Cup next week in Malaysia,” he said.

“We are looking forward to a thrilling finals competition tomorrow between some world class skippers and their crews. The crowd on the shoreline had a bird’s eye view and we expect a big crowd for tomorrow’s final action,” he said.

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