Aggressive matchracing at St Moritz quarterfinal

Minoprio V Mirsky - St Moritz Match Race

A south-westerly breeze of eight to twelve knots came through and provided for some very close match racing.

The first 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 won his match against Peter Wibroe and Ian Williams defeated Paolo Cian after a tight match that went down the final few metre’s of the race giving Gram Hansen and Williams the three points they needed to head straight to the Quarterfinals. They, along with Minoprio (NZL), join Eric Monnin (SUI), Mathieu Richard (FRA) and Sebastien Col (FRA) who qualified in yesterdays Round Robin A.

In the other 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. 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 quarterfinal spot comfortably with four wins from five races. Mirsky Racing Team will now sail in the repechage round robin to try and gain a quarterfinal berth.

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 today, so racing will commence in the morning with organizers hoping to complete the repechage series and begin the quarterfinals.

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Leaderboard (Top 8) - (After Stage 5 of 9)

1. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar, 72
2. Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 57
3. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/ French Team Spirit, 47
4. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team , 45
5. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team, 40
6. Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 34
7. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza, 33
8. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge 31

About Stage 6

St. Moritz is one of the most prestigious ski resorts in the world, so much so that it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and ’48. Now it hosts an event of the World Match Racing Tour. It features the battle for the title 'King of the Mountain.'

The event is raced on Lake St. Moritz, in the Engadin region of the southeastern Swiss Alps. The lake is at an elevation of 5,624 feet (1,856 meters) above sea level, making it possibly the highest-elevated match race regatta in the world. The lake is surrounded by peaks surpassing 10,000 feet.

The event is unique to the World Tour for more than just its location. Most of the boats used on the tour are 35- to 40-foot keelboats. St. Moritz features a newly designed four person keelboat called the Blu26. It's a highly manouvreable boat with a big rig, which makes it quite a handful for the crews when the Maloya wind blows.