With many of the world's best match racing stars here sailing the SM40s, the competition for the $125,000 prize money event has already proven fierce in the opening flights of the round robin phase. RICHARD defeated Manuel WEILLER VIDAL from Spain, then local hero Ãlvaro MARINHO (POR) in a close match, Kiwi Adam MINOPRIO, and rising Aussie star Torvar MIRSKY, finalist in Match Cup Sweden, who had his wings clipped by a masterful French display in the first flight of the day.
However, this seemed to only spur on MIRSKY, who went on to match RICHARD's winning ways in the shifty 6-8 knot breeze, taking the next four matches. In his final race of the six man group, MIRSKY was brilliant, shutting out WEILLER VIDAL in the closing seconds before the start who then incurred a double penalty from the umpires in trying to recover his position - game over.
MIRSKY was naturally delighted with his performance in tying RICHARD's result and commented, "Today has been a great day. The wind is really good, the water is flat and the current makes for interesting racing. The conditions are perfect for sailing SM40s and it's been a fun day".
Racing started mid-afternoon after a misty, breathless morning, the wind gradually filling from the west into the mouth of the bay into which the Troia peninsular juts, south of Setubal near Lisbon. As a beautiful nature reserve, Troia provides a spectacular setting to the contest, its sandy beaches and lush greenery a huge draw for visitors, with a championship golf course and a new luxury hotel completing the scene.
The second group managed only one flight before both the wind and the light faded, with reigning World Match Racing Tour Champion and current leader, Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) winning the battle of the Brits, taking down newcomer Nick CHERRY (GBR) in his very first Tour race. Frenchman Sébastien COL again showed his class having won the biggest event of the year in Korea, he defeated the hugely experienced Magnus HOLMBERG from Sweden in a spirited opening match. Meanwhile another America's Cup veteran, Paolo CIAN from Italy kicked off his challenge for the Troia Portugal Match Cup by beating Bjorn HANSEN from Sweden, with a stunning sunset rounding off the day.
Everyone is looking forward to Thursday with the anticipation of some top class sailing, as this strong group moves through their flights, every match promising to be a classic, such as the first one - COL vs CIAN while WILLIAMS takes on HOLMBERG. Quite a day in store with racing planned to start mid-morning once the breeze builds.
1. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit 4-1
2. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team 4-1
3. Damien IEHL (FRA), French Match Racing Team 3-2
4. Ãlvaro MARINHO (POR), 2-3
5. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 1-4
6. Manuel WEILLER VIDAL (ESP), 1-4
7. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar 1-0
8. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza 1-0
9. Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge 1-0
10. Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge 0-1
11. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team Team 0-1
12. Nick CHERRY (GBR), Cherry Racing 0-1
ISAF Match Racing World Championship Leaderboard (Top 8)
(After Stage 6 of 9)
1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar, 92 points
2. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team/ French Team Spirit, 72
3. Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 67
4. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team , 45
5. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team, 40
6. Mattias RAHM (SWE), Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 34
7. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza, 33
7. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch, 33
ISAF Match Racing World Championship - www.sailing.org/matchworlds