When racing got underway at 10:00, the conditions were not looking promising with the breeze light and the fog leaving the top mark even more obscured than it was yesterday. However, come the fourth flight the sun had finally burned off the fog and a good 13-14 knot sea breeze had established itself until the last flights at the end of the afternoon.
Very much the cat who has got the cream, Peter GILMOUR (AUS) had a glamour day and at the end of day two his YANMAR Racing team looked set to be the only unbeaten team. With seven wins and no losses, all was looking good until the final flight when in a tight match that saw two lead changes in the dying breeze, he was finally beaten by Ben AINSLIE (GBR) and his TeamOrigin crew.
AINSLIE has now sailed all his races in the round robin finishing with eight wins in 11 matches. "We made mistakes," said tactician and double Olympic gold medallist, Iain PERCY (GBR). "Things are getting better every day and slowly we are learning the game between us. We have done all our races so we don't have to get up tomorrow morning!" GILMOUR still has three tough matches tomorrow.
Among the scalps GILMOUR claimed today was Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) who got pushed into the pin at the start and from then on was unable to get back into the match. However this did not phase WILLIAMS' well seasoned Bahrain Team Pindar crew which rolled into a winning streak beating in succession Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), the present World Match Racing Tour joint leader, Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), and local Korean sailor Byeongki PARK. The potentially exciting inter-Brit dust-up between WILLIAMS and AINSLIE was close but sadly uneventful, a text book piece of match racing with WILLIAMS holding the right out of the start and defending well as the two boats gybed down the first run. Like GILMOUR, WILLIAMS has still to sail his three final races.
The young Antipodeans blades, Emirates Team New Zealand's Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) and his Perth, WA-based counterpart Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), provided much of today's excitement, with the latter winning when they lined up. It was nip and tuck around the race course with MIRSKY just ahead, but the Kiwi team's fate was sealed when they picked up a penalty during a tack as they touched a gennaker sheet dragging out of the back of the leading Aussie boat.
"The umpire said it was in its normal position! We'll have to talk to them," complained MINOPRIO afterwards.
MIRSKY also had a lively race against K-Challenge America's Cup helm Sebastien COL (FRA) with both sides picking up pre-start penalties, the first against the Australian for erring too close to an obstruction and the second against COL as the two boats separated on the start line and his stern touched the Aussie boat. COL commanded the race, particularly after MIRSKY professed to making a tactical error in his choice of top mark following a course change. The Aussies caught up by goosewinging into the bottom mark but on the final run COL made an error in gybing too early enabling MIRSKY to lock him out and gybe for the line at his leisure to take the win. COL has been decidedly off form these last two days taking just one win in five matches.
New to the Tour Philippe PRESTI (FRA) scored his first significant win today against Paolo CIAN (ITA). After a typically aggressive pre-start, PRESTI did well defending the right and 'slam dunked' CIAN approaching the top mark. CIAN recovered but it was not enough to catch the Frenchman.
Earlier PRESTI came within a whisker of beating GILMOUR, leading the Cup veteran around the race track before his team made a mistake with their gennaker, dragging it in the water. This was enough to allow GILMOUR to draw level and then roll through just short of the finish line.
"We sailed in Marseilles, but this is our comeback, our baptism of fire," commented PRESTI, who is sailing with a crew largely comprising students from his match racing centre in Bordeaux. "We got invited pretty late. The boys did a good job but we need to be smoother. It will come, hopefully early enough!"
When asked about the plan for day three, PRO David TALLIS said, "We aim to finish the round robin and get the quarter finals underway."
Ben AINSLIE (GBR) Team Origin 8-3
Peter GILMOUR (AUS) YANMAR Racing Team 7-1
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 6-2
Paolo CIAN (ITA) Team Shosholoza 5-6
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) Team Onboard 5-3
Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 4-1
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) French Team 4-4
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 3-2
Laurie JURY (NZL) 3-5
Philippe PRESTI (FRA) French Match Racing Team 2-6
Sebastien COL (FRA) French Team/K-Challenge 1-4
Byeongki PARK (KOR) 0-11
ISAF Match Racing World Championship Leaderboard
(Top eight teams after Stage 2 of 10)
1. Damien IEHL (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 32 points
2. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) French Match Racing Team/ French Team Spirit, 32 points
3. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/Black Match Racing, 31 points
4. Ben AINSLIE (GBR), Team Origin, 25 points
5. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), YANMAR Racing, 15 points
6. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 15 points
7. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar, 14 points
8. Sebastien COL (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 12 points
The winner of the annual World Match Racing Tour is crowned as ISAF Match Racing World Champion. Find out more at www.sailing.org/matchworlds.