The first day of Match Race Germany in Langenargen on Lake Constance saw a picture perfect landscape with only one slight problem...the wind, or lack of it.
After the opening ceremony hosted by the Langenargen Yacht Club in the striking Montfort Castle last night the first two races of flight one were started this morning, and while the left looked to be favoured the wind soon died away from both sides leaving the races abandoned. The course was moved West in an effort to find more wind.
It seemed that finding wind was the biggest challenge of the day. With the teams split into two groups for Stage 1 of the competition. Group A made up of Mathieu RICHARD
(FRA) French Match Racing Team, Bjorn HANSEN
(SWE) Alandia Sailing Team, Sébastien COL
(FRA) K Challenge/French Match Racing Team, Staffan LINDBERG
(FIN) Alandia Sailing Team, Eric MONNIN
(SUI) Team Search.ch, and Jes GRAM-HANSEN
(DEN) Trifock Racing. Teams completed three out of five of scheduled flights.
Group B consisting of Ian WILLIAMS
(GBR) Team Pindar, Paolo CIAN
(ITA) Team Shosholoza, Damien IEHL
(FRA) Team Sinbad, Peter WIBROE
(DEN) Wibroe Sailing Team, Adam MINOPRIO
(NZL) BlackMatch Racing/Emirates Team New Zealand and Markus WIESER
(GER) Team Sea Dubai took to the water in the afternoon.
With eight of the top ten ISAF Ranked sailors competing at Match Race Germany, spectators were guaranteed some close racing, and picking a clear favourite could be anyone's guess especially in the fickle conditions on Lake Constance. In the first race of the day, LINDBERG's Alandia Sailing Team defeated MONNIN, while HANSEN's Alandia Sailing Team Sweden took a win over GRAM-HANSEN in the first flight of the round robin.
By the end of flight three, no team in round robin A had come through undefeated with one of the regatta favourites, world #1 RICHARD conceding all three races. RICHARD said, 'We will be looking to improve on the starts tomorrow after misjudging distances in all 3 starts today, which ultimately lost us all our races'.
RICHARD went on to say, 'Unless the other team makes a mistake, in the light conditions it is very hard to pass anyone.'
In Group B, local knowledge paid off for WIESER, as he defeated defending Match Race Germany Champion and Tour stage 1 winner, CIAN. However flight three was not so successful for WIESER as he got into a tight spot around the top mark, and the penalty flags started flying. WIESER rounded inside WIBROE but copped a penalty, which allowed WIBROE to finish comfortably ahead.
CIAN's race with MINOPRIO didn't go any better, with Minoprio forcing a red flag penalty on Cian after a collision between the two boats. MINOPRIO said, 'We knew we were in the right, so held our course. Unfortunately for Paolo he misjudged his gybe and hit us pretty hard.'
MINOPRIO went onto win the race comfortably.
With all the Group B matches completed, apart from match 3 of flight two which was postponed until Friday due to lack of wind the first quarter finalists have emerged: WILLIAMS, WIBROE and WIESER are through to the next round. The teams that join them will be decided on Friday when Group A is finished and with a little luck the repechage completed.
Staffan LINDBERG (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team 3-0
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team 2-1
Sebastien COL (FRA) K Challenge/Freanch Match Racing Team 2-1
Eric MONNIN (SUI) Team Serch.ch 1-2
Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN) Trifork Racing 1-2
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) French Match Racing Team 0-3
Peter WIBROE (DEN) Wibroe Sailing Team 4-1
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) Team Pindar 4-0
Markus WIESER (GER) Team Sea Dubai 2-2
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) BlackMatch Racing 2-3
Paolo CIAN (ITA) Team Shosholoza 1-4
Damien IEHL (FRA) Team Sinbad 1-4
Match Race Germany - www.matchrace.de
World Match Racing Tour - www.worldmatchracingtour
ISAF Match Racing World Championship microsite - www.sailing.org/matchworlds