Brazilian sailor Torben Grael confirmed his status as event favourite and won the second leg of Match Race Brazil, raced last Sunday in the Ilhabela's Ponta das Canas beach, in the north shore of São Paulo State.
Grael, four times medallist in the Olympics Games and six times World Champion, defeated in the final the crew of Alan ADLER, world champion of the Star class in 1989 and silver medallist of J24 class in the Pan-American Games of Santo Domingo, by a 2-1 score.
In the Petite Finals, skipper João "Joca" SIGNORINI defeated Robert SCHEIDT by a 2-0 score.
It was an exciting final day on the water. Delayed by almost two hours, due to lack of wind (the lane was transferred from Downtown to Ponta das Canas), Torben won the first tie by taking advantage of a problem with Adler's boat, pinned in the marker of the last buoy. In the second tie, Alan paid a 270-degreees penalty in the last 30 meters, and still won by a one-and-a-half boat difference. The third tie was very close, and the final advantage in Torben's favor was get only in the final.
"It was a tough, balanced leg, what only values our triumph",
said Torben Grael, that will race the Rio de Janeiro Oceanic Sail Circuit. "Alan's crew is very good, and Joca's guys evolved a lot".
His six-year previous experience in match racing was fundamental, according to Torben. "I raced a lot of tough regattas, and this is fundamental when you need to take a fast decision", said the sailor, who was the tactician for Prada Syndicate in the 2000 America's Cup and 2002 Louis Vuitton Cup, both sailed in Auckland, New Zealand.
To skipper Alan ADLER, the Ilhabela leg was excellent. "It was as good as it gets. The final was a 2-1 score and only decided in the finish line of the last regatta"
, said. "A win here would be very important for us to try the overall title in the last leg, in Rio de Janeiro".
João "Joca" SIGNORINI was pleased for the win over Robert SCHEIDT'S crew in the Petite final. "We won two very even regattas. And I'm happy for being able to sail so well in more-than-12-knots races, like Friday and Saturday", said the "carioca" skipper, who will compete in the Finn World Championship, on his hometown, Rio de Janeiro.
Robert SCHEIDT lamented the poor performance of his boat on starts. With four defeats, he said that reaching the semi-finals was good enough. "The first day, Friday, was very tough and we only reached the semis after a lot of struggle on Saturday. We improved in pre-starts, but got a damage in the first regatta of the Petite final. In the the second one, we jump-started and had to go back, losing any chance to win",
said the six-time Laser world champion.
The semi-final playoff was raced in a sunny, hot Saturday morning, in front of Ilhabela Yacht Club. Torben GRAEL defeated Robert SCHEIDT, 2-0. Alan ADLER, the best qualifier with six wins, beat João SIGNORINI also by a 2-0 score. The leg champion received a R$ 20.000 prize, with R$ 10.000 awarded to the runner-up.
After two legs, the classification is:
1. Torben Grael, 20
2. Alan Adler, 14
3. Robert Scheidt, 12
4.João Signorini, 7
5. André Fonseca, 5
6. Marcos Soares, 4
7. Gastão Brun, 3
Alex Welter, 3