Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tough fight between Gilmour and Robertson at the Asian Match Racing Championship

[Source: Monsoon Cup] The Monsoon Cup, the final event in the ISAF World Match Racing Tour, is just a month away and nine crews racing in the Asian Match Racing Championship, being raced at Terengganu Malaysia are fighting for a single 2010 Monsoon Cup berth.

After day two, David Gilmour, the 19 year West Australian university student is leading the round robin series with ten wins and two losses, but his lead is desperately thin and its clear that the semi-finals will provide some scorching action.

Young Gilly was mopping his brow as he came up to the Ri-Yaz Resort and Spa from the Pulau Duyong Basin this afternoon. 'This is our first regatta outside Australia, it was really really hot today and that was not just the air temperature.

‘There was a noticeable lift in everyone's game today. With a solid number of matches under their belts, the teams have ironed out most of their crew-work issues and the winning margins are decreasing.

‘We had a clean sheet until today. We lost against Reuben Corbett – he is a very good sailor - he controlled us in the pre-start. then he won on the right and with the strong current this morning, the right was paying and that was the end of it.'

Glimour continued. 'Then later in the day, against Peter Nicholas from Royal Freshwater (in Perth West Australia) we had a bit of a brain fade. We got our start line approach time wrong and as a result he got to the right and extended away from us.

'For us, the highlight of the day was the last match battle we had with Phil Robertson - that was very intense and we were lucky to escape. We are looking forward to tomorrow big time!'

Phil Robertson (NZL) and his WAKA Racing team, the defending Champions, were beaten by Gilmour in one of the matches of the day. Robertson attracted a penalty in the pre-start; they had a massive lead at the top of the first beat and should have wiped their penalty off then.

As Robertson said shaking his head 'a big mistake, but we decided to do it later and Gilly came back at us. He halved our lead on the run, and then we ran out of time. We threw that one away.

'This is definitely a tougher competition than last year. David and Reuben are both young and pretty keen. I think it is fantastic that there are so many young guys aiming for the Tour. This regatta is starting to become one of the main events for anyone from down under.'

Rueben Corbett, who is 23 years old, said ‘Really enjoying this event. Having had the same New Zealand crew for more than 400 matches, to suddenly have a totally new all Malaysian crew, who have trouble with my Kiwi accent, has been interesting. We met for the first time yesterday morning and since then we've been having some very intensive on the job training.

‘Now we have sailed a dozen matches and we are meshing together well. The guys were very nervous initially but they are getting more and more confident.

‘They are working hard and they are rising to a new level but no quarter is given at this level and David Gilmour, Phil Robertson and now Wataru Sakamoto have all managed to take races from us.

‘Today we were beaten by Phil Robertson. We had a good tussle in the prestart, he got a lift on the line, we managed to stay close at the top mark we were on his stern, but he got away.

‘But then we beat David Gilmour. Yesterday I was going quietly to give the crew time to find their feet but today I was much more aggressive. I had had him (David) on the ropes in the prestart, kept the pressure up and got a penalty on him.

‘Right now the goal is the semi-finals. As you can see on the World Match Tour and at every level down, under pressure funny things can happen, so right now we are focussing hard to win every single match of this second round robin.'

While David Gilmour (AUS) and Phil Robertson (NZL) look relatively safe, as does Rueben Corbett (NZL) on form, Wataru Sakamoto (JPN) 6-4, is fighting to hold out Mark Lees (GBR) 5-6 and Graeme Sutherland (HKG) 4-6.

As Britisher Mark Lees commented dockside 'Yesterday we were beaten by Graeme Sutherland from Hong Kong in flight 2, but we turned the tables today. The RYA used to be very active organising Match Racing events, now we have to go to Europe to get experience and the Asia Pacific opportunities are rapidly outstripping those of any other region.'

Current standings: Asian Match Racing Championship

David Gilmour – Team Gilmour (AUS) 10-2
Phil Robertson – WAKA Racing (NZL) 9-2
Reuben Corbett – Black Sheep Racing (NZL) 8-3
Wataru Sakamoto – Team Siesta (JPN) 7-4
Graeme Sutherland – Team Hermes (HKG) 6-5
Mark Lees – Team Echo (GBR) 4-7
Peter Nicholas – Freshie Racing Team (AUS) 4-7
Tan Wearn Haw – Sinyidai (SIN) 2-9
Neil Semple – Capital TV (THA) 1-10



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