Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ian Williams and Mathieu Richard advance to the Korea Match Cup finals

The semifinals of the 2010 Korea Match Cup have just been completed and Ian Williams and Mathieu Richard will now fight for the title after beating Bjorn Hansen and Torvar Mirsky, respectively. Both skippers advance to the finals with a 2-0 score but all 4 races were much harder than the scores would imply.

Conditions, especially in the first flight, were, unfortunately, extremely light, and as Richard stated it felt more like sailing on lake Geneva. The first flight started with a breeze around 2-3 knots while the second one was sailed under a slightly stronger seabreeze that built up to, probably, 6-7 knots. The very low tide and wrong wind direction, perpendicular to the narrow channel, in the first flight meant PRO Harold Bennet had to work hard but he pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and finally made it.

Bjorn Hansen vs Ian Williams: The first semifinal race between Hansen and Williams got off under extremely light conditions, I doubt the breeze topped 4 knots. After a split start, Williams opted for the left while Hansen went right. As Hansen stated, under these conditions you might have one puff coming from the left then randomly another one from the right. According to the Swede, you needed some luck in order to win the race and it seems luck alternated. Williams was leading at the first weather mark, then trailing at the bottom mark, then regained his lead at the 2nd top mark and led until the finish line.

With the breeze slightly picking up to 6-7 knots, Williams showed that it is not luck but skills that eventually took him to the 2010 Korea Match Cup final. He had a great start, hitting the line on the pin end, ahead of Hansen, and opting for the left side of the course he comfortably led until the finish line.

Ian Williams leads Bjorn Hansen in the 2010 Korea Match Cup semifinal. Jeongok Marina, 13 June 2010. Photo copyright Gareth Cooke / SubZero images

Mathieu Richard vs Torvar Mirsky: The first race between the French match racing maestro and the young Australian star was probably the least exciting. Richard had an exceptional start and built an advantage of more than 4 boatlengths right off the starting line. Mirsky struggled to find anything that would allow him to close the gap and Richard crossed the finish line with a very comfortable lead.

The second race was by far more exciting with a handful of lead changes and a photo finish. Mirsky had an absolutely great start and squeezed Richard at the pin end. The young Australian was off the line at a good pace while his French opponent was stalled. Mirsky tacked and went to the right, apparently seeing something there, while Richard went to the left. Richard's call was right on the spot and a nice puff pushed him ahead, giving him the chance to get inside Mirsky at the top mark and round ahead of the Australian. In the first run, Mirsky again stuck to his strategy to stay on the right and got what he was looking for. The right paid and Mirsky rounded the bottom mark ahead. He managed to keep his lead in the 2nd beat and most of the last run. Nevertheless, it ain't over 'til it's over. Richard, despite an awful gybe, halfway the run, found another good puff on the left side of the course and passed Mirsky a couple of boatlengths before the finish line. It was a very close finish but Richard was ahead.

Mathieu Richard beats Torvar Mirsky and is a finalist in the 2010 Korea Match Cup. Jeongok Marina, 13 June 2010. Photo copyright Gareth Cooke / SubZero images

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