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World Match Racing Tour - David Gilmour looks to continue tradition

by World Match Racing Tour on 1 May 2014
Quarter final between Peter Gilmour and his son David at the 2012 Monsoon Cup. Gareth Cooke - Subzero Images © http://www.subzeroimages.com
Australian David Gilmour (22) wants to emulate the successful career of his father, Peter, and an entry into the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour is a big step up the ladder for the youngest Tour Card skipper to compete on this year’s World Championship series.

If the name David Gilmour sounds familiar, you would be forgiven to confusing this talented Australian match racer with the guitarist and vocalist from Pink Floyd. But actually, the Gilmour surname should ring a bell, because his father Peter is a four-time match racing world champion and America’s Cup veteran.

Now the younger Gilmour is looking to follow in his father’s footsteps as he earns his first Tour Card to compete on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. As well as flying the family flag, he maintains a strong tradition of match racing to come out of Perth, after the capital of Western Australia hosted the 1987 America’s Cup when his father was competing.

Indeed David Gilmour is now part of the new America’s Cup Challenger of Record campaign, Team Australia, looking to win the Cup from defender Oracle Team USA and return it downunder. Despite the America’s Cup now being raced in foiling multihulls, Gilmour knows only too well that the Cup is first and foremost a match racing event, and that having finely tuned match racing skills in your amoury as a sailor still counts for alot. It’s one of the reasons Gilmour is competing on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour this year, and why Francesco Bruni and Luna Rossa are doing the same.

That said, this is strictly a Team Gilmour campaign for the Tour, but with an all-Aussie crew on board. Even one of the key members of the British Olympic Sailing Squad, 49er racer Ed Powys, can produce an Aussie passport when asked to do so. Gilmour also campaigns a 49er on the Olympic circuit, and wanted Powys on board for the match racing campaign.

'Ed has done a lot of sailing with us, and hopefully we’ll have him as our regular tactician, which is what we need as a team,' says Gilmour. 'He’s not got a lot of match racing experience, but we’ve done well with him so far. He’s done enough to understand what matters.'

Gilmour has also done a bit of steering for the GAC Pindar Extreme 40 multihull this season, where he has been coached by another GAC Pindar sailor, Ian Williams. Like his father Peter Gilmour, Williams is a four-time match racing world champion, only narrowly missing out on taking a record breaking fifth Championship at the Monsoon Cup last November when Taylor Canfield stole the title by a whisker.

The GAC Pindar connection is why, after some racing in Hong Kong in May, Team Gilmour will be doing some match race training with Williams in Sydney in the build-up to the first Alpari World Match Racing Tour event of the season, Match Race Germany at the start of June. This will be Gilmour’s first time competing at the Lake Constance event, as it will be for most events on the Tour this year.

'We will be at a slight disadvantage compared with some of the more established teams as we’ve only raced in Malaysia and Chicago before, and it takes a few days to get used to the different boats on the circuit. But we won the ISAF Nation’s Cup in Denmark using similar boats that we’ll be racing in Marstrand for Stena Match Cup Sweden. The guys I sail with are really good at figuring out how to sail each different boat, they make it easier for you. We have a good database of all the boats we've sailed, we can get back in tune with them really quickly. But for Germany we'll be starting from scratch, which is pretty normal for most match racing events.'

Gilmour likes to make the most of his Perth connections back home too. 'We’ve got a lot of guys from Perth like Keith [Swinton, also competing on the Tour this year], Torvar [Mirsky], my dad. We speak to them a lot, because they all have great advice. Coming up through the Warren Jones Youth Regatta back home probably makes it easier for us than other teams looking to get established on the circuit, because there’s so much knowledge in Perth.'

And what about the pressure of following the wake of his father’s successful career? 'There is not really any pressure, and there are definitely times when it helps, but it’s hard for it to not be brought up in conversation, and sometimes when you’re talking to people you'd rather they thought about something else! But he helps us a great deal. He's relaxed in regards to whether I'm sailing or not, but he likes to give us tips of what we did wrong and how we can do it better next time.'

The other inspiration for Gilmour must surely be Taylor Canfield, who last year won the Tour at his first attempt as Tour Card Holder. 'Taylor worked really hard on doing as well as he could, and he did an amazing job. If things go well for us this year, hopefully we can do the same.'

The 2014 championship gets underway at Match Race Germany on 5 June. The Alpari World Match Racing Tour is one of five special events sanctioned under the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) including America's Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and the PWA World WMRT website

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