YANMAR Racing finished 3-4 after the first day of round robins at Match Race France, the first of nine events on the 2011 World Match Racing Tour.
The first match today for Peter Gilmour, the four times World Match racing champion, and his YANMAR Racing team of Cameron Dun, Thierry Douillard and Yosuhiro Yaji, was against Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners.
Gilmour entered from the starboard side but Radich gained control in the pre-start and pushed Gilmour over the line early. Radich crossed Gilmour halfway up the first beat and with a good shift was five lengths ahead of Gilmour at the top mark. YANMAR Racing had the downwind speed and they pegged back all but two lengths of Radich’s lead by the spinnaker drop. But Radich gained another lengths on the second upwind leg and went on to win.
Next up was Flight 11. YANMAR Racing was up against Alexis Littoz-Baritel (FRA) Savoie Mont Blanc and disaster struck early, as YANMAR Racing’s Yasuhiro Yaji explained. ‘We made a time on distance error and we were over early and had to go back. That made it hard but we attacked.’
Gilmour to windward off the line, was forced to tack away. YANMAR Racing kept coming in from the right and the two boats traded tacks up the first beat. But Littoz-Baritel’s start line advantage allowed him to round the windward mark ahead of Gilmour. He held the lead down the run and extended to six boat lengths at the top mark for the second time and won the race. It was an unexpected and costly loss for YANMAR Racing.
Next up in Flight 12 YANMAR Racing was pitted against their hometown (Perth, Western Australia) rival, Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat.
Gilmour got the better start on the pin and went left, was nicely headed and YANMAR Racing came in on the port lay line to the top mark with Mirsky on their stern. It was tight but Gilmour had speed down the run and gradually sailed away with the race.
Next up was Flight 13. YANMAR Racing faced Alvaro Marinho (POR) Seth Sailing.
As they went into sequence Gilmour had the port hand entry but still managed to get the better of the pre-start. Gilmour took the pin, to the left, and headed onto the port layline. He traded tacks with Marinho and just rounded the first mark ahead but from then on he controlled the race. Gilmour rounded five lengths ahead of Marinho at the top mark for the second time and sailed away to a win.
Dockside there was some fierce ‘back of the envelope’ scribbling as Gilmour and his team realised that with a 5-6 result, their progression to the quarter finals was in the hands of others.
YANMAR Racing has finished their matches so all they will be able to do is watch the last flight.
Four teams, Williams (Team GAC Pindar), Robertson (Waka Racing), Marhino (Seth Racing Team) and Gilmour (YANMAR Racing) are fighting for three quarter finals places.
Peter Gilmour commented ‘Timing at the start is everything, so we have paid the penalty for some small boat time on distance errors. We are fast down wind but we made some small mistakes. We will just have to wait and see what happens in the morning.’
Yasuhiro Yaji, a tour veteran who has been sailing with Gilmour for 17 years from the Nippon Challenge America’s Cup days, was still upbeat though their quarter final berth position is precarious.
‘These little J80’s cause us some timing issues, so we’ve lost matches with bad starts but we are working on that. We had good speed again today, quick down wind. If we can get in quarters, then it all starts again.
‘Today we wore our ‘Power for Japan’ arm bands and Bjorn Hansen (Mekonomen Sailing Team) from Sweden asked did we have spares because his Swedish team would like to wear them to support us.
‘We need Hansen to beat Williams in the first match of the last round robin and if Marhino loses we are through. In these small boats in light winds anyone can win, anyone can lose – so we will be nervous watching the last flight.
‘First match is Bjorn v Williams so it’s Go Bjorn. Fourth match in the flight is Marhino v Mirsky - Go Australia.’
Jim O'Toole, CEO of the World Match Racing tour summed up the action to date.
‘An excellent first two days of the 2011 season and the first 60 of 900 match races with all the usual drama and surprises. There are some big names not performing as expected and some young bucks causing a stir. Some of the new teams are taking time to gel together and the smart guys are just cruising along and doing the right thing.
‘Results so far tell me that we made some good choices in terms of Tour Card holders.
‘It promises to be an interesting season with many twists and turns before we crown our 2011 ISAF World Match Racing Champion in Malaysia in December.’
Standings After Second Qualifying Session:
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 7-3
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat 7-3
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Extreme Team Morbihan 6-4
Bertrand Pace (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team 6-5
Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners 6-5
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino 5-5
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 5-5
Alvaro Marinho (POR) Seth Sailing Team 5-5
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 5-6
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 4-6
Alexis Littoz-Baritel (FRA) Savoie Mont Blanc 4-7
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 2-8
For more news and information on YANMAR Racing, please visit http://www.yanmar.co.jp/en/racing/
To discover more about the World Match Racing Tour see http://www.wmrt.com
And to discover more about YANMAR Marine go to http://www.yanmarmarine.com/