The 12 teams racing in the St. Moritz Match Race - part of the World Match Racing Tour - have been training in perfect conditions on Tuesday, getting to know the course and their opponents.
The local Maloja wind was on schedule this morning; it started blowing at 10:30 and rapidly rose to 15-20 knots. The conditions were just perfect for the 12 teams racing in the event, allowing them to practice their manoeuvres and get to know the (small) lake inside out.
Christian Scherrer, President of the Organising Committee, was particularly pleased to see the boats head off: "It's a real challenge to organise a contest at this level on a lake that doesn't have any infrastructure for keelboats", he said. The six blu26 as well as all the support boats have travelled across Switzerland over the past week especially for the event.
The hospitality stage and pavilion also had to be built up, which wasn't an easy task in a mountain resort such as the "Engadin".
All the teams weighed in this morning at the Race Office (the maximum weight allowed is 350 kilos for the entire crew). At the same time, the event's technical Committee were equalizing the boats and making sure that they comply with the necessary one-design requirements of the regatta. Everything was finished at 11:00, allowing the six first teams to set sail for a three hour practice session. The change over occurred precisely at 14:00, allowing the second group to discover the boats and the lake.
The organisers have decided to run a full round robin, which means that every team will sail against all the other teams. 66 matches split in 22 flights will have to be completed before Friday night in order to fulfil this programme. Not an easy task!
The weather forecast is not as good for the coming days as it was today, and the St Moritz Match Race participants may well have to get their fleeces out of their sailbags before the sun hopefully comes back over the week-end.
For the first time this year, the boats will have GPS trackers which will allow a live Internet coverage of the races. The teams will also be able to use this system to debrief their races. The system should be operational tomorrow at 11:00 for the first matches of the event. It will then be fine tuned throughout the event.
Quotes From The Boats
(SWE), #9 in the ISAF World Rankings and his first time at St. Moritz Match Race: "It is the first time that we sail a match race on a lake, and it is really pleasant. We were not expecting such a context; it's really quite exceptional. This place is amazing. And eight out of the ten world's best match racers are here; it's unbelievable. The matches will be tough and it is impossible to say who the favourite is. The level is very high."
Yaji Yasuhiro (JPN), crew member on board Peter Gilmour
's (AUS) YANMAR Racing and first time at St. Moritz Match Race: "This is a very unusual spot to compete in a match race event. The courses are very short, the lake is small and the scenery is exceptional. The boat is also very competitive. Our average age is approximately 40; we are probably the oldest team. It's a very special challenge for us."
(FRA), French Match Racing Team
(GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar
(AUS), Mirsky Racing Team
(FRA), French Match Racing Team / K-Challenge
(AUS), YANMAR Racing
(FRA), French Match Racing Team
(SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team
(SWE), OnBoard Saling Team
(POR), Seth Sailing Team
(SUI), Swiss Match Race Team
(ITA), Joe Fly Match Race
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.