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5 September 2008, 09:50 am
Aggressive Racing Decides Three More Quarter-Finalists
Team Pindar chases Team Shosholoza at St Moritz Match Race
Team Pindar chases Team Shosholoza at St Moritz Match Race

St. Moritz Match Race 2008
St Moritz, Switzerland

ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian WILLIAMS and rising Kiwi star Adam MINOPRIO took their places in the quarter-final stage as the round robin stages where completed at the St Moritz Match Race.
Torrential rain all night did nothing to deter the competitors of St Moritz Match Race as they prepared for day two of the sixth event of the World Match Racing Tour. With two flights of Round Robin B left to be completed in the morning session, all six teams still had a chance to qualify directly for the quarter-finals without having to sail in the repechage. A southwesterly breeze of 8 to 12 knots came through and provided for some very close match racing.

In the final flight of the round an aggressive pre-start between long time and trans-Tasman rivals Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) and Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) saw both teams even off the start with MINOPRIO's ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing leading comfortably around the top mark. By the second top mark this lead had diminished to within a boat length and MINOPRIO was forced to gybe immediately after rounding the mark to stay clear of Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) who at the time was racing Paolo CIAN (ITA) in a separate match. "We had to do two more gybes to cover Torvar, which meant that by the time these were completed we were dead in the water," explained MINOPRIO.

Further down the run to the finish Mirsky Racing Team got a overlap from astern but with no luffing rights received a penalty for sailing MINOPRIO above his proper course. With the finish line quickly approaching MIRSKY double gybed to gain luffing rights and held MINOPRIO out past the pin. Both teams dropped their spinnakers and MIRSKY gybed, pointed his boat head to wind, tacked onto starboard then back onto port and bore away across the finish line, effectively getting rid of his penalty in the process. Unfortunately for Mirsky Racing Team, the umpires awarded them a second penalty for tacking too close to ETNZ/BlackMatch meaning MINOPRIO was the winner of the race, securing their quarter-final spot comfortably with four wins from five races. Mirsky Racing Team will now sail in the repechage round robin to try and gain a quarter-final berth.

The other two matches in the final flight were must wins for all four teams, with the two winners proceeding straight to the quarterfinal. Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN) won his match against Peter WIBROE (DEN) and WILLIAMS defeated CIAN after a tight match that went down the final few metres of the race giving GRAM-HANSEN and WILLIAMS the three points they needed to head straight to the quarter-finals. They, along with MINOPRIO, join Eric MONNIN (SUI), Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) and Sébastien COL (FRA) who qualified in Wednesdays Round Robin A.

With the repechage scheduled to start this afternoon, the wind decided it didn't want to play ball and slowly died away. The fleet race was completed and after waiting for an hour for breeze the teams were brought back to shore to wait in the shelter of the hospitality tents. After waiting another couple of hours it was apparent the breeze was not coming back, so racing will commence on Friday morning with organizers hoping to complete the repechage series and begin the quarter-finals.

Results - click here
ISAF Match Racing World Championship microsite - www.sailing.org/matchworlds

Yvonne Reid
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