Team Gilmour have been in Vaasa, Finland for the Midsummer Sun Match Race Grade 2 event. We were sailing J22 yachts and had three of our five core crew members; David Gilmour, Pete Nicholas and Luke Payne.
It is the first European event of our 2013 season and it has been 6 weeks since our last event the Korea Match Cup so we were a little rusty to begin with but managed to over come that pretty quickly.
After topping the double round robin qualifying stage yesterday Team Gilmour moved on to the semi finals along with Reuben Corrbet (NZL), Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) and Antti Luhta (FIN).
Winning the qualifying stage gave us the opportunity to choose our opponent for the semi finals, we decided to race the local Antti Luhta even though he was our only loss during the round robins. ' We chose Luhta because we felt that we had better boat handling as well as a physiological edge over their team' said skipper David Gilmour.
We won the first race against Luhta comfortably and were feeling confident, however we lost the second race by a narrow margin after a controversial umpire decision. With the score 1 all in a best of 3 semi, the pressure was coming on, but with a great start we were able to sail a clean race and take the win to move in the final.
Aschenbrenner defeated Corrbet in the other semi final, so it was to be and Aussie VS Danes final.
We won the first race of the final getting a penalty on the Dane in a port and starboard at the top mark. We were feeling good and sailing fast going into the second race of the best of 3 final. Again we got a penalty on Aschenbrenner, this time in the pre-start, but he won the start and was able to extend enough through out the race to take his penalty on the final upwind, we sailed a nice final downwind leg to make a huge gain but were pipped by half a boat length at the finish forcing a third and final race.
The third and deciding race was super close, with us having the upper hand for the first upwind then managing to luff the Danes past the port layline on the first downwind. However the race was still really close and the breeze shifty.
Aschenbrenner initiated a tacking duel and we crossed blows a number of times, they were able to pick up a number of small shift to close the game up and round the top mark first. A left hand shift on the final downwind made it easier for the Danes to defend and the sail through the line for the win.
Full credit to Joachim and his crew they sailed well and deserved the victory.
We were happy with how we sailed this week and have learnt a lot to take to our next event.
In other BIG NEWS we have just received a wildcard entry to the ISAF Nations Cup grade 1 in Middelfart, Denmark 6 to 11 August. The Nations Cup is one of the most prestigious match racing events in the world and we are looking forward to sailing the bigger DS 37 yachts.
For more details click here.
We would like to say thanks again to our supporters; Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and Zhik.
by Peter Nicholas
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3:21 PM Sun 21 Jul 2013GMT
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