Aussie youngster Torvar MIRSKY was the star performer on day one of the ISAF Grade WC Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.
The Monsoon Cup is the final stage of the 2006-07 World Match Racing Tour and consequently the decider in the battle for the 2007 ISAF Match Racing World Championship. And the consensus on the first day was that it was shifty out there. If you were on the right side of a shift, you gained the advantage and could control your destiny. Some of the favourites and the veterans didn't catch the first shift. Adam MINOPRIO
(NZL) and Tiffany KOO
(MAS) sailed the first match of the first flight. MINOPRIO led around the weather mark and extended his lead to win. Katie SPITHILL
(AUS) and Paolo CIAN
(ITA) had a closer match, but CIAN crossed the finish line a half boat length ahead of the Aussie team.
The most exciting match of the flight, and maybe the regatta (it's early, but it was an amazing display) was between youngster Torvar MIRSKY
(AUS) and old pro Bjorn HANSEN
(SWE). MIRSKY set an impenetrable trap on HANSEN at the second weather mark. At some point, MIRSKY drew a foul. Knowing that it is against the rules to clear the foul within two boat lengths of the mark, he tried to push HANSEN beyond the mark and peel off and take his penalty gybe and head to the weather mark. The boats luffed motionlessly for a lifetime and MIRSKY was able to push HANSEN off to starboard of the weather mark, leave his competitor and round the mark. MIRSKY camped on HANSEN on the downwind and tried to make HANSEN draw a foul. The fourth match, under full speed with their spinnakers up, ran by MIRSKY and HANSEN, but not before the leeward MIRSKY forced HANSEN into the overtaking boats. Once MIRSKY knew that HANSEN had committed the foul, his team popped the chute and took off for the finish line. With that move the young Aussie skipper , already up to #10 in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings
, won his first match of the regatta.
(DEN), the 2001-02 Tour champion won his first match against Ian WILLIAMS
(GBR), whose Team Pindar
went into this final stage of the 2006-07 World Tour in second overall.
It wouldn't be a Monsoon Cup without rain and true to form, a rain squall came through between flights. As the first match of the second flight between HANSEN and SPITHILL headed up the beat, the rains dissipated.
The feature match of the second flight was the clash between reigning World Champion, Peter GILMOUR
(AUS) and WILLAMS, who is second in the current World Championship standings coming into the final stage. The pair were fully engaged before the start. WILLIAMS entered the starting area prematurely and consequently was given a penalty, but GILMOUR who crossed the starting line at full speed was OCS. Both boats went back in total synchronicity and GILMOUR came out to leeward of WILLIAMS. WILLIAMS turn was to exonerate himself from the pre-start foul, but he took the turn at the same time as GILMOUR went back to clear himself from the OCS. GILMOUR wanted to go right and threw in a tack. WILLIAMS tacked on him and was in the controlling position going right. GILMOUR did another slow tack to the left. WILLIAMS found pressure and crossed clear ahead of GILMOUR on the port layline to the first weather mark. GILMOUR used his wind shadow to come from behind pass WILLIAMS and GILMOUR went on to extend his lead on the three lapper and win.
In the HANSEN/SPITHILL match, HANSEN was in control the entire time and won by seven boat lengths. Likewise, the young champion-slayer, MIRSKY put quite a distance on CIAN. World #1 match racer and World Tour leader Mathieu RICHARD
(FRA) crossed the finish line half a leg ahead of RADICH.
Getting a good start and being able to get out to the right was the formula that worked best throughout the first two flights.
At the post-race press conference, MIRSKY said, "It was a bit of a surprise to finish off the day with a 2-0."
His young team has been practicing hard in Foundation 36s at home in Perth. MIRSKY thought that his team, being more familiar with the boats and fresh off practicing at home did not need a warm up session as much as some of his competitors who were unfamiliar with the boats.
To say this is a wonderful place to watch a match race is an understatement. Balconies, and broad windows overlooking the unobstructed race course along with screens, monitors and live commentary make the racing absolutely riveting.
Results - www.worldmatchracingtour.com/default.asp?m=da&id=65317
Monsoon Cup - www.monsooncup.com.my
World Match Racing Tour - www.worldmatchracingtour.com