The event and boat show are part of a new economic development plan for the region that includes four new marinas and a 15,000 square metre industrial park dedicated to boat building and the marine industry. They are expecting over 100,000 spectators over the next five days of the event.
Racing got underway under the leadership of former America's Cup winner (1983) Skip LISSIMAN and Principle Race Officer David TALLIS in the newly built KM36s designed especially for the event by Blakewell-White. The 12 teams will race a full round robin followed by a quarter-final, semi-final and the finals on Sunday. Five flights were sailed with Jesper RADICH (DEN) and his Rudy Project Sailing Team leading the day with a score of 4-1.
"This is our first World Tour event of the year so we are very happy with our score after the first day. However, we know that the other teams will start to learn how to sail these new yachts as the event goes along so we expect the racing to get much tougher," said RADICH.
With ever changing wind conditions and a restricted race course, three and four lap races were the order of the day. As a result the crew's boat handling skills were fully tested. In flight 5 Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) and Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) faced off with HANSEN taking an early advantage at the first mark. Three laps on the board saw RICHARD dig in and come back to HANSEN yard by yard. With only 60 metres to go on the final run RICHARD got into attack position and started to try and roll HANSEN. HANSEN's response was fast, luffing as hard as he could but with the extra speed and the disturbed air all over the Swede, RICHARD managed to slip around HANSEN's bow and dive to the line to take the win by half a boat length. After the race a furious HANSEN had a heated discussion with the umpires claiming that the Frenchman hadn't kept clear during the manoeuvre but the match umpires, Shane BORRELL and Roger WOOD, were happy that RICHARD hadn't infringed.
In another exciting moment HANSEN hooked the anchor line of the Race Committee boat whilst entering the start box in his race with Sébastien COL (FRA). He then proceeded to drag the committee boat past the pin end of the start line which forced the PRO to postpone the starting sequence and provide HANSEN with a free pass. "It was hot out so I decided to take a swim and while I was there I noticed a rope around our keel," HANSEN explained at the post race press event with a rye smile.
"The wind was very shifty which was good for our team. I thought we sailed very well in the conditions and enjoyed these yachts very much. This is a very different venue but it has been very good and we have been very well received here in Korea," said COL.
Racing continues tomorrow at 09:30 with Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Paolo CIAN (ITA), Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Peter GILMOUR (AUS) and Wataru SAKAMOTO (JPN) on first to try their hand in the tricky conditions of Jeongok Marina.
(After 5 flights)
Jesper RADICH (DEN), Rudy Project Sailing Team 4-1
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team 3-2
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team 3-2
Sébastien COL (FRA), K Challenge/French Match Racing Team 3-2
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 2-3
Seung Cheol LIM (KOR), Korea Gyeonman Team, Qualifier from KMC Asian Qualifier, Korea 0-5
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar - Yet To Race
Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza - Yet To Race
Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge - Yet To Race
Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team - Yet To Race
Peter GILMOUR (AUS), Team PST - Yet To Race
Wataru SAKAMOTO (JPN), Siesta Team, Qualifier from KMC Asian Qualifier, Hayama , Japan - Yet To Race
ISAF Match Racing World Championship microsite - www.sailing.org/matchworlds