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3 September 2009, 09:51 am
Williams Dominates On Opening Day Of St Moritz Match Race
Ian Williams putting the pressure on Francesco Bruni
Ian Williams putting the pressure on Francesco Bruni on his way to one of five wins during the opening day

St Moritz Match Race 2009
St Moritz Match Race, Switzerland

Ian Williams won his five matches whilst the local team headed by Eric Monnin ended the day with no victories as 10 flights were completed on day one of the St Moritz Match Race.
The 12 teams involved in the St Moritz Match Race and the quest for the sixth stage of the World Match Racing Tour had a great time today. The conditions were indeed absolutely fabulous, with the sun shining and the thermal breeze growing up to 15-20 knots over the afternoon. Ten flights were completed, which is half the round robin. The Race Committee played it safe considering the possible bad weather over the coming days and decided to launch a final flight at 17:30.

The first duals of the day brought together the "Latin" sailors of the event, with French, Swiss and Portuguese teams opening the show alongside Johnie Berntsson from Sweden. Three flights later, when the teams swapped boats, Álvaro Marinho's Portuguese Seth Sailing Team had the biggest smiles thanks to two victories against Sébastien Col (FRA) and Mathieu Richard (FRA). At the other end of the ranking, the local sailor Eric Monnin (SUI) was disappointed with three losses whilst the three French teams managed to grab two points.

The other six teams then completed five flights over the afternoon. Ian Williams' (GBR) Team Pindar dominated his races, winning each one of them convincingly. Peter Gilmour's (AUS) team, YANMAR Racing, wasn't as successful, only managing to win one single match against Francesco Bruni (ITA) and the Team Joe Fly Match Race.

The six teams involved in the morning then went out on the water again at 17:00 for their last two flights of the day. Revved up and on fire, they displayed all their talent and sailed aggressively, providing a fantastic show to the public only meters away from the shore.

The last races of the day were very close; sometimes even too close, giving a lot of work to the umpires. Several collisions resulted in penalties, and three cases had to be discussed in front of the Jury after the racing.

The rain finally put an end to the day, sending the exhausted crews back to the shore.

They said:

Eric Monnin, Swiss Match Race Team: "We didn't sail well at all and we made too many mistakes. It is very frustrating, because it got worse throughout the day. We got many penalties on mistakes that we should never have done. We need to get out of this bad trend quickly and start on a new basis tomorrow."

Philippe Presti, French Match Racing Team: "During the second match against Seb Col I got a bit greedy and tried to block him at the windward gate. I stopped him so well that I also stopped, and then couldn't get started! We finally lost the match because of this mistake."

Álvaro Marinho, Seth Sailing Team, first participation in St. Moritz Match Race, #17 on the ISAF World Ranking: "We won our first match of the day against Mathieu Richard, who is the leader of the World Tour. We are obviously very satisfied with our entry in the event and we will try to carry on like this."

Ian Williams, Team Pindar: "We've had a great day and we are very happy with the way we sailed. In those conditions, you always need a bit of luck and you must be able to benefit from all the opportunities. And that's what we have done all day. It is the fifth time that we sail here in St. Moritz and we really love it here; we feel very comfortable."

Bill Edgerton, Chief Umpire: "We've had to judge too many collisions today; certainly more than we should see at this level, it is really regrettable. There is quite a bit of wind and the sailors need to get familiar with the boats. This might be one of the reasons. Other than this, it was an exceptional day for sailing and racing.

Results

Ian Williams (GBR), Team Pindar, 5-0 (0.5 point penalty)
Philippe Presti (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 4-1
Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 3-2
Sébastien Col (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 3-2
Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team, 3-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Onboard Sailing Team, 3-2
Álvaro Marinho (POR), Seth Sailing Team, 3-2
Adam Minoprio (NZL), ETNZ-BlackMatch, 2-3
Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team, 2-3
Francesco Bruni (ITA), Team Joe Fly Match Race, 2-3
Peter Gilmour (AUS), YANMAR Racing, 1-4
Eric Monnin (SUI), Swiss Match Race Team, 0-5

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Leaderboard
(Top eight teams after Stage 5 of 10)

1. Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 68 points
2. Adam Minoprio (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch, 61 points
3. Peter Gilmour (AUS), YANMAR Racing, 56 points
4. Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team, 54 points
5. Ian Williams (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 49 points
6. Damien Iehl (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 44 points
7. Ben Ainslie (GBR), Team Origin, 40 points
8. Sébastien Col (FRA), French Match Racing Team / K-Challenge, 33 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.

Bernard Schopfer
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