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St Moritz Match Race - Morvan seeks another impressive finish

by Leigh Ireland on 24 Aug 2012
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team will hope to go one better than his second place finish at St. Moritz Match Race 2011 © Chris Davies/AWMRT
The 2012 St Moritz Match Race is set to take place from 28th August to 2nd September. Pierre-Antoine Morvan signalled his arrival at the top table of match racing in 2011, taking an impressive second place finish at the St. Moritz Match Race at the first time of asking. The young Frenchman is looking to go one better next week, having since risen to number three in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings.

Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team sits third on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour leaderboard and going into one of his favoured Tour events, at his highest ever ranking, it is a last opportunity for him to make the jump into contention for the 2012 ISAF Match Racing World Championship title. Morvan, said: 'We finished second in St. Moritz last year after losing the Final to Torvar Mirsky on a countback. We were confident going into that one and with the extra experience we now have as a team, we’re in a great position to go on and win our first Tour event.

'We’re better in the small boats like the BLU26 and do well in the shifty winds that we had last year. I also have exactly the same team for St. Moritz that started the season so I think that consistency will really help us, not only for this event but going into the rest of the season and as we look to challenge for the Tour title in future years.

Holding a Tour Card for the first year, Morvan is wasting no time as he looks to put together a team capable of challenging for the Tour title, and feels he knows what he needs to learn in pursuit of this goal: 'I think that Tour experience is a vital factor and this season, with Bjorn Hansen and Ian Williams at the top of the leaderboard, that is quite clear. It’s not only being familiar with the boats, venues and conditions on the water, but also working out the best way to train and arrange our schedules to give the best chance of success on the Tour.'

As the top-ranked French skipper in the world and the only French Tour Card Holder in 2012 after a large contingent in previous years, Morvan welcomes the return 2008 and 2010 St. Moritz Match Race winner and compatriot, Mathieu Richard, saying: 'It will be good to have Mathieu [Richard] in St. Moritz, we know him very well. Last year there were two other French teams and it is good to have that representation. We know what Mathieu is capable of and he has the ability to win the event so on the water, we’ll certainly keep that in mind.'

Morvan will take winning form into the St. Moritz Match Race, the fifth stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, after victory against fellow Tour Card Holder Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match Sailing in the Final of the recent ISAF Grade 1 Sopot Match Race in Poland last week.

Amongst the rest of the field, reigning Tour Champion, Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar will line up against current Tour leader, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team as he looks to minimise the Swede’s advantage going into the second half of the season. Two wins and a third place have made Hansen the man to beat and Williams knows he can’t afford to lose any more ground if he is to add a record fourth Tour title this year.

The world’s top match racers will travel to Switzerland to begin preparations for the St. Moritz Match Race (28 August – 2 September), where eight of the nine Tour Card Holders will compete alongside wildcard entries Eric Monin (SUI) Okalys Corum and Mathieu Richard (FRA) Loire Atlantique Sailing Team, as well as qualifiers, Josh Junior (NZL) Wellington Spirit and Jerome Clerc (SUI) Team CER.

St. Moritz Match Race – Competing Teams:

Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Jerome Clerc (SUI) Team CER
Peter Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team
Josh Junior (NZL) Wellington Spirit
Laurie Jury (NZ) Kiwi Match
Eric Monnin (SUI) Okalys Corum
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team
Mathieu Richard (FRA) Loire Atlantique Sailing Team
Phil Robertson (NZ) Waka Racing
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar

Overall Championship Standings – after four stages:

Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team – 81pts
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar – 77pts
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team – 57pts
Phil Robertson (NZ) Waka Racing – 56pts
Peter Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing – 54pts
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing – 33pts
Laurie Jury (NZ) Kiwi Match – 29pts
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team – 28pts
Jordan Reece (AUS) Estate Master Sailing Team – 22pts
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Miss Sophie – 20pts
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team – 19pts
Taylor Canfield (USA) Canfield Racing – World Match Racing Tour website
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