Mathieu Richard has won the Korea Match Cup after beating Taylor Canfield 2-0 in the Final.
Attributing his win to great team work and mental resilience, Richard and his French team mates on GEFCO Match Racing Team looked very at home today on the KM36 keelboats racing in light to moderate breezes under bright blue skies. Their mastery of Jeongok Harbour was well rewarded with a prize of 625,000 Korean Won, around US$55,000, from a total prize fund of approximately US$222,000.
Taylor Canfield was pleased with his week's work, even if the American made a rare error of judgement in the final start. "It was a do or die situation, but we had them [the French] on the ropes for most of the pre-start. It all came down to that last decision, and unfortunately it didn't go right for me."
Canfield left Richard to take the left-hand end of the start while he tacked away for the committee boat end. Trouble was, he gave the start boat a good smack, putting a large hole in the side and was given a penalty for his efforts. It was all about killing time and distance for the start line, but Canfield still crossed too early and had to turn back for a restart. A comeback for Canfield was looking unlikely and although he closed the gap, Richard never looked seriously threatened. The French started celebrating a few boat lengths before crossing the finish line.
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Richard won here three years earlier and was hard pushed to say which of his two Korea Match Cup victories were more special. "I think both victories were fantastic for us. We are a new team with a new sponsor and our team work was very good, and we stayed calm, we showed good mental strength through the knock-out stages."
If anything the greater drama came in the Petit Final to decide 3rd and 4th overall. Adam Minoprio looked to have the race well in control against Ian Williams, but Team Alpari FX allowed GAC Pindar to split away from them on the final beat. The British skipper closed the gap and again looked for some separation on the final run to the finish. When the boats converged towards the bottom of the run, Williams on starboard was able to force Minoprio to gybe away.
When they came back together, this time Minoprio steered up behind Williams and instead of being met by a defensive gybe, they swapped sides. Now Williams was on the disadvantaged side and when he tried to wriggle past the Kiwi boat, Minoprio forced the Briton into a luff, both boats flogging their gennakers as they rounded into the breeze. Minoprio had been looking to stick a penalty on Williams and while he failed to get it, the Kiwi was able to turn towards the line first and scrape across the finish line to claim 3rd place.
Minoprio was surprised at the manner of his win. "We wanted to get closer to the finish boat, and fortunately he let us. It was a case of each of us trying to give each other the win, luckily for us he gave it to us at the last cross."
To lose the Semi Final and then the Petit Final was a tough way to round out a regatta that Williams had dominated for much of the week. "There are some days in match racing when things don't seem to go your way,"
said Williams, "whether it's powerboat chop as you're trying to tack, or a wind shift going against you. I think we had one of those days. I think we sailed fast and smooth, but we made a few misjudgements, especially in the start. Then again we made the Semis, and there are eight other guys who didn't, so it's not too bad, and we're still in the championship."
The Korea Match Cup is the only title on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour to have eluded the four-time World Champion. "We feel strong here, we feel this is one of the best events on the Tour, and we'll be back next year for at least one more shot at the title."
Present to watch the final day's racing was the Governor of Gyeonggi Province, Kim Moon Soo, who is promoting the region as a major destination for sailing and marine tourism in Asia.
Event organiser Kim Dong Young said, "People were worried what the Korea Match Cup would be like once the Korea International Boat Show was no longer at the same venue, but look how many people came to watch the racing today. After six years the event has never looked better."
James Pleasance, Executive Director of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour said, "The Korea Match Cup has cemented its position as one of the flagship events on the Tour, and the teams love racing the boats on this challenging stretch of water. We've had a change of leader on the 2013 leaderboard and the competition is hotting up as we go to Sweden a month from now."
Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team beat Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 2-0
PETIT FINAL RESULTS
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX beat Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 1-0
SEMI FINAL RESULTS
Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team beat Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 3-1
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone beat Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX 3-0
1 Mathieu Richard (FRA) - GEFCO Match Racing Team 31 points
2 Taylor Canfield (ISV) - USone 28 points
3 Adam Minoprio (NZL) - Team Alpari FX 24 points
4 Ian Williams (GBR) - Team GAC Pindar 20 points
5 Keith Swinton (AUS) - Black Swan Racing 17 points
6 Johnie Berntsson (SWE)- Stena Sailing Team 15 points
7 Phil Robertson (NZL) - WAKA Racing 12 points
8 David Gilmour (AUS) - Team Gilmour 10 points
9 Björn Hansen (SWE) - Mekonomen Sailing Team 5 points
10 Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) - Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 3 points
11 Kim Taejeong (KOR) - Gyeonggi Match 0 points
12 Park Gunwoo (KOR) - Busan Match 0 points