French skipper Mathieu RICHARD led the way as six teams qualified for the quarter-final stages on the second day of racing in Marstrad at Match Cup Sweden.
Day two of Match Cup Sweden, stage five of the World Match Racing Tour saw more beautiful weather, more spectators and of course more great match racing. Marstrand turned on the weather and entertainment for spectators and sailors alike. With interactive games, boat trips and numerous hospitality stands it was easy to get distracted from the on-water action. But one look out on to Marstrand Fijord and the calibre of world class sailors easily reminded you there is some top class sailing happening.
Tuesday saw Peter GILMOUR
(AUS) of YANMAR Racing, Damien IEHL
(FRA) and his French Match Racing Team and Torvar MIRSKY
's (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team finish first, second and third respectively from Group A. They were joined by French Match Racing Team members Mathieu RICHARD
(FRA), Philippe PRESTI
(FRA) and Magnus HOLMBERG
(SWE) of Victory Challenge from Group B. All six now qualify for the quarter-final round which will start on Friday. The remaining teams from both groups will now go through to the repechage which will be a full round robin where each skipper will race against each other team. The top two skippers from the repechage will then go through to join the other quarter finalists.
Day two was once again dominated by the French with three members of the French Match Racing Team all through to the quarter finals. Leading the way in Group B with five wins was RICHARD, his only loss coming at the hands of countryman PRESTI.
"We are very pleased with winning the round robin but it is just one part of the regatta, there is much more to go yet,"
RICHARD said. "We had a good day and we managed our strategy very well, there was no set thing to do and flexibility was the key. We sailed well in the light and also managed the gear changes as the wind came up. It will be tricky now to have two days off, I think the guys winning the repechage will be in a strong position having had more racing practice."
In Group A, GILMOUR showed why he has won this event six times, losing only to the last two winners of Match Cup Sweden, Bjorn HANSEN
(SWE) and Mattias RAHM
(SWE). When asked if he had been particularly aggressive during the round GILMOUR said, "Not really, that's just normal."
Then he added, "Everyone out there was working really hard and there was no easy win. The round robin is really just practice for the quarter final and when we get there we'll see some people under pressure."
Joining GILMOUR direct into the quarter finals was his old rival and local hero HOLMBERG, still looking for that elusive victory at the event that he started 15 years ago. "I was very happy with the team today, we haven't spent much time together as a crew but it seemed to click very well. There was a nice mode on the boat. We're learning in each race and really enjoying the racing. My kids love this week and with some time off now I get the chance to spend time with my family so everybody is happy."
At the opening ceremony on Monday there was a fitting tribute to two of the Tour veterans. In its 15th year the organizers of one of the Tours most successful events have created the Match Cup Sweden Hall of Fame in order to honour the great skippers of professional sailing. The first two inductees were HOLMBERG and GILMOUR who were both very gracious of this recognition and vowed to continue to keep the younger generation coming through the match racing ranks on their toes.
"Magnus and I still have some fuel in the tank to stay ahead of the younger guys that we see making their way on the World Match Racing Tour," said GILMOUR. "It is genuinely a real honour and I am sure that more will join, there is plenty of potential out there."
Peter GILMOUR (AUS), YANMAR Racing, 4-2
Damien IEHL (FRA), French Match Racing Racing Team, 4-2
Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing, 4-2
Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 3-3
Mattias RAHM (SWE), Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 3-3
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Onico, 2-4
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch, 1-5
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 5-1
Philippe PRESTI (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 4-2
Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge, 4-2
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 3-3
Peter WIBROE (DEN), Wibroe Racing Team, 3-3
Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team, 1-5
Francesco BRUNI (ITA), Team Joe Fly Match Racing, 1-5
ISAF Match Racing World Championship Leaderboard
(Top eight teams after Stage 4 of 10)
1. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch, 61 points
2. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 49 points
3. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 48 points
4. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team, 46 points
5. Ben AINSLIE (GBR), Team Origin, 40 points
6. Damien IEHL (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 32 points
7. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Shosholoza Team, 31 points
8. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), YANMAR Racing, 31 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.