by Jana Pines
Slovenia Match Race Cup 2011 (SMRC) grade 2 event came to conclusion yesterday in Koper with a thrilling final battle between three times SMRC winner Ian Ainslie and the European champion Mads Ebler (DEN).
Ebler and Ainslie in the finals - Slovenia Match Race Cup
The latter took advantage of lighter conditions to get a 2:0 lead, but as local bora wind grew stronger, 40 kilos heavier Ainslie's team won the third and fourth match to even the score at 2:2. ‘Honestly we had some panic on board. Each time the boats came together Ian was faster. It was obvious we needed a perfect start in the last match to have any chance of winning the final. We managed to cool down, make a tactical plan and stick to it till the end,' is how the excited Danish skipper explained their winning strategy. Ebler is determined to come back next year and make it two in a row, but in the mean time, he and his team are planning a series or 'practice' regattas culminating at the European Championships in Finland, where they will defend their last year's title.
Ian Ainslie in the action - Slovenia Match Race Cup
In the petit finals, home runners Vesna Dekleva Paoli and Jure Orel struggled for a third place. ‘After getting soaked by the morning showers, we were determined to put in the final effort. Maybe we were a bit down on weight for this wind-strength, but we gave our best and are very satisfied finishing fourth overall. For me this event was a great experience, much needed since I compete mostly in the women's match race circuit. Having such an event at home is priceless,' said the only female participant Vesna Dekleva Paoli, who sailed with a first time together team Rok Kosir, Marko Stanta in Matija Cok.
There was a grin on the face of Jure Orel as well. ‘I'm completely satisfied as competitor and organizer as well. We enjoyed the sailing and our result exceeded expectations for this issue of SMRC. The fight for third in petit final against Vesna was a real treat. Her match racing skills have vastly improved since last year and I wish her all the best in Perth (Australia). I really hope she succeeds in qualifying for the upcoming Olympic Games. As an organizer, I can only say we were lucky to have great wind conditions, umpires, race committee and wonderful competitors, so getting the whole program through was easy,' claimed Orel, pleased with the last step of the podium after being out of match racing for ten months. Jure had his faithful organization team by his side on shore and the team of Ales Boznik, Karlo Hmeljak and Jaro Furlani on the sailboat.
1. (DEN) Mads Ebler
2. (RSA) Ian Ainslie
3. (SLO) Jure Orel
4. (SLO) Vesna Dekleva
5. (SLO) Dejan Presen
6. (DEN) Nicolai Sehested
7. (POL) Szymon Szymik
8. (AUS) Peter Nicholas
Winning crew - Slovenia Match Race Cup
Danish satisfaction - Slovenia Match Race Cup
Slovenia Match Race Cup website