Monday, 12 October 2009
Close finish against Monnin: we didn't have it all our own way. Image copyright Charles Anderson.
by David Swete
It felt like a case of déjà vu Korea Match Cup today as Mathieu Richard came storming back to win 2 races and level up our quarterfinal match up, however we kept cool heads this time having learnt the hard way and managed to take the deciding race and progress through to the semi finals. The semi final was not such a close affair and we convincingly won three matches on the trot against Switzerland’s Eric Monin to seal our place in the 2009 Argo Group Gold Cup Final.
In the other semi final it was the battle of the Brit’s, three times Olympic Gold Medallist Ben Ainslie pitted against double World Match Racing Champion Ian Williams. In the end it was Ben who came out the victor, continuing to show the awesome form he has had throughout the week in taking the semi final 3-1.
Big fella happy to be in the final. Image copyright Charles Anderson.
Being such a one sided semi-final, the highlight of the day was definitely the quarterfinal fight back from Richard. Having been handed 3 match points yesterday, we struggled to put the Frenchman away and although we had a great opportunity to do so following an awesome start in the second match of the day, they rolled us on the first downwind and defended their lead well to set up a nerve racking final match. After holding a slight advantage off the start line a fierce tacking duel ensued up the first beat where the French team did very well to keep it close. Nearing the top mark we were to leeward of Mathieu on port tack and tacked onto starboard, they held their course at us on port tack as they believed that we would not complete our tack and by the time they took evasive action there was a collision. The umpires ruled in our favour and they were handed a penalty which saw the match swing dramatically in our favour. From then on in we defended our lead and sailed on to seal our semi final match up with surprise package Monin.
So after 5 days of racing, 24 teams have been narrowed down to just two and in a repeat of last year’s semi final here in Bermuda, we will be taking on Britains Ben Ainslie. Ben has been showing formidable form this week but despite this we are sure we have the goods to defeat him as we managed to do last year.
Nick thinks there's an overlap, and I agree... Image copyright Charles Anderson.
As far as overall World Match Racing Tour standings are concerned it couldn’t have played out much better for us. Peter Gilmour’s early exit coupled by Mirsky and Richard’s failure not only guarantees us the lead on the Tour, but it will also mean we should have a reasonable lead going into the final event in Malaysia. With William’s yet again missing out on the final here it could spell the end for the Double World Champion’s hopes of a third crown, however things are still wide open and we will be pushing hard to get those extra few points tomorrow.
BlackMatch would like to thank our sponsors FedEx Express. To the RNZYS and Emirates Team New Zealand, thank you for your support. After racing today it was great to take a live phone call from Peter Montgomery who is home in New Zealand, Pete was live on a loud speaker addressing the crowd present for the press conference and his well wishes to our team were much appreciated.
World Match Racing Tour