Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

Mano A Mano

by Mark Stevens, Sail-World Canada on 3 Mar 2011
Budget Marine Match Racing Cup at the Heineken Regatta 2011 Heineken Regatta
Match-racing, at its best, is Mano a Mano – hand-to-hand combat. Match-racing here, in the Budget Marine Match-Racing Cup, run-up to the Heineken Regatta, takes that sort of intensity up a few notches. Some of the top racers in the world. No Wednesday night yacht club race, this.

Races are on six Jeanneau Sunfast 20’s. Eight skippers. Each skipper races every other skipper. Each skipper races each of the six boats.

The course is straightforward: start, windward leg, downwind, upwind, downwind, set in the waters of Simpson Bay Lagoon – surrounded by emerald mountains and multi-million-dollar boats. Both make for a great backdrop but unpredictable winds. And that’s where straightforward ends.

Think psychological warfare.

'This is the purest form of racing,' says Peter Holmberg, the favourite. They started this race up three years ago – sort of a Heineken amuse-bouche – and Holmberg won both other times. But that’s hardly the only item on his resume. For starters, he’s an Olympics silver medalist.

And he savours this event.

'It’s like a boxing match,' Holmberg says, watching the action on the water like a major league scout as he waits for the next race. 'A crash course in every aspect of racing: speed, crew work. It is the single fastest way to improve your sailing.'
Here at the Budget Marine Cup it’s also a story in a story.

Erik Van Poelgeest is the youngest skipper here and he starts out going head-to-head with Holmberg. 'But I wasn’t nervous,' he says.

Think David and Goliath – or Bush and Saddam – because you’re also talking nautical geopolitics. Great Britain’s here; New Zealand, Holland, Antigua, USVI, BVI, two Russian teams.

Or think civil war – like the throat-slashing race between two Russian teams – one of the most intense battles of the day.
But it still never surpassed the finals. Last year Holmberg beat out Gavin Brady, two-time Mumm 36 world champion. This year it was right down to the wire, with Brady getting the nod.

Holmberg may not have won but it’s kind of like the Stanley Cup finals. How good do you have to be to even get this far?
Spectators won, that’s for sure.

No surprise those schoolyard fights were always surrounded by a crowd.

Mano a Mano is the ultimate spectator sport.
Mackay BoatsPredictWind.com 2014Helm Events 660x82

Related Articles

Vendee Globe- No tethers in Southern Ocean?
I was interested to see that Seb is wearing neither a pfd nor a harness while racing in the Southern Ocean. Take a look at this pic of Seb Josse racing in the Vendée Globe. He is in the Southern Ocean sailing in rough seas and I imagine he is hitting speeds in the mid-twenties. I know what it’s like to sail down there. I have done numerous Southern Ocean transits and I know it to be an unforgiving region. So I was interested to see that Seb is wearing neither a pfd nor a harness. Interesting.
Posted today at 7:59 am
Sailing World Cup Final - Finn racers put to the test
The top Finn racers at the Sailing World Cup Final presented by Land Rover are putting each other to the test The top Finn racers at the Sailing World Cup Final presented by Land Rover are putting each other to the test and for Rio 2016 Olympians Jake Lilley (AUS) and Caleb Paine (USA), it's business as usual after a period of rest.
Posted today at 7:03 am
Vendee Globe - Rescuers in the zone
The evacuation of the skipper de Pavant is expected to start around daybreak once there is sufficient light. The Marion Dufresne, the research and supply vessel which serves the remote French islands in the South Indian Ocean, has arrived close to the stricken French skipper Kito De Pavant. The evacuation of the skipper de Pavant is expected to start around daybreak once there is sufficient light.
Posted today at 6:11 am
Sailing World Cup Melbourne - Volunteers, the source of energy
Energy is not something that can always be measured, but strength that volunteers in sailing bring is critical to events Energy is not something that can always be measured, but the strength and vitality that so many volunteers in sailing bring to the events that and clubs that they help out is an amazing resource that is critical to events such as Sailing World Cup Melbourne.
Posted today at 3:54 am
SWC Final - Melbourne - Nicholas Heiner follows famous dad into Finn
Former Laser world champion Nicholas Heiner is competing at his first international event in a new class he hopes Former Laser world champion Nicholas Heiner is competing at his first international event in a new class he hopes to medal in for the Netherlands at the Olympic Games, just like his father did 20 years ago in Atlanta, USA.
Posted today at 3:03 am
Vendee Globe - Kito de Pavant believed to have been lifted off
Marion Dufresne, the research and supply vessel has arrived close to the stricken French skipper Kito De Pavant Vendee Globe race control advised earlier at the Marion Dufresne, the research and supply vessel which serves the remote French islands in the South Indian Ocean, has arrived close to the stricken French skipper Kito De Pavant. The evacuation of the skipper de Pavant was expected to start around daybreak once there is sufficient light.
Posted today at 2:57 am
Vendee Globe - Rescue plan for stricken de Pavant + onboard Video
French skipper Kito de Pavant was enduring an anxious wait this afternoon aboard Bastide Otio after he struck an object French skipper Kito de Pavant was enduring an anxious wait this afternoon aboard his Bastide Otio after he struck an object which destroyed his keel housing, ripped off his aft keel mountings and left the appendage supported only by the hydraulic keel ram.
Posted on 6 Dec
RORC Transatlantic Race – Leopard 3 due to finish sunrise Wednesday
Leopard is 600 miles ahead of their nearest rival, Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder's Dutch Maxi Marten 72, Aragon At 1200 UTC Mike Slade's British Maxi, Leopard 3 was 240 miles from Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada and expected to take Monohull Line Honours at around sunrise on Wednesday. Leopard is nearly 600 miles ahead of their nearest rival, Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder's Dutch Maxi Marten 72, Aragon.
Posted on 6 Dec
French skippers dominate entry list for 2018 Golden Globe Race
30,000 mile solo, non-stop round the world race is being staged to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original race The 30,000 mile solo, non-stop round the world race is being staged to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race back in 1968/9 which led to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston becoming the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world.
Posted on 6 Dec
Clipper Race skipper given special honour at French Sailing Awards
Olivier Cardin was recognised with a special award at last night’s French Sailing Federation’s flagship award ceremony. Olivier Cardin was recognised with a special award at last night’s French Sailing Federation’s flagship award ceremony, the Soiree des Champions.
Posted on 6 Dec