New Zealand's Adam MINOPRIO won out at the ISAF Grade 2 Open Match Race Cup Hard in Austria.
The "Binnenbecken" is a small enclosure of Lake of Constance in Hard, Austria that provides a perfect arena for match racing. Just big enough to set a course, so the spectators can watch from all around the bay as competitors fight for points in the quick Streamline trapeze yachts. Yacht Club Hard hosted this event for the third time, and they will also be hosts of the European Championships in 2010.
On Friday, sunshine and constant force 2 westerly winds made a perfect setting for the first 12 flights of round robin. Marek STANCZYK
from Poland was the leader at the end of the day, with four out of five races won. Five points out of seven races put Jure OREL
(SLO) second in the intermediate ranking. Eric MONNIN
(SUI), last year's winner, had to share his third intermediate rank with Andreas WILLIM
from Germany. Ian AINSLIE
(RSA) and Mads EBLER
(DEN), last year's second and third place finishers, ranked behind Adam MINOPRIO
from New Zealand. The Austrian team of Verena WAGNER
had to realize that the competition was too strong. They couldn't get a single point.
Only six flights of round robin were sailed on Saturday with changing and fading wind which brought some changes: OREL took the lead from STANCYK with eight points. MONNIN and AINSLIE ranked second and third that evening. STANCZYK had to take a penalty for a collision which put him back on fourth rank, followed by MINOPRIO on fifth place.
Sunday started with the remaining four flights of round robin. During the first race the wind direction changed, but after a short break sailing could be continued. An hour later, at the end of round robin, the ranking list had changed again. In the very last race of the last flight AINSLIE had beaten MONNIN, so the semi-finals were left to OREL, MINOPRIO and AINSLIE with eight points each and STANCZYK with 7.5 points.
MINOPRIO beat AINSLIE twice, so he was the first candidate for the final. OREL won two points over STANCZYK which made him second finalist.
In the finals, AINSLIE took third overall after two very clear wins over STANCZYK. Even though OREL fought like a lion, MINOPRIO won the starts and never gave up the lead in his three final heats. So Hard saw a new winner: MINOPRIO and his BlackMatch team from New Zealand.