World Match Racing Tour 2011, Match Race France continued today in Marseille.
With just one flight in the round robin series still to be sailed, Peter Gilmour and his YANMAR Racing team of Cameron Dunn, Yasuhiro Yaji and Thierry Douillard, having completed their series at 5-6, could do nothing but wait on the outcome of the final flight. That flight would determine which eight crews made the quarter final cut.
In the matches affected, the pre quarter final eliminations, Sweden’s Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team beat Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar and Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino beat Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team.
The tie breaking count back between Robertson, Alvaro Marhino (POR) Seth Sailing and Gilmour left Gilmour seventh and Marhino eighth.
Robertson joined Williams, Hansen and Alexis Littoz-Baritel (FRA) Savoie Mont Blanc, as the skippers missing the cut.
In the quarter final draw second ranked Damien Iehl (French Match Racing Team) chose seventh placed Gilmour for a first to three quarter final joust. Gilmour had beaten the young French team in the round robin series, so there was a lot of interest in the match up.
Dockside Peter Gilmour recounted the races. ‘Damien came in from the starboard end and had early control. We gained ascendancy but received a penalty soon afterwards. We tried to unload it just in the last few seconds right at the pin and unfortunately received a second penalty which meant the race was pretty much over right there.'
And so it was. Iehl crossed Gilmour halfway up the first beat, rounded the top mark with a big lead and sailed away.
Gilmour continued. 'In the second race we got a slightly better start and were pretty close coming in to the top mark. We managed to jump in on a gybe and were looking good to lead at the bottom mark, but we were forced wide coming into the mark. We thought we were in the zone but the Umpires rule ... so we lost distance and we received a penalty as well.’
The race became a formality. YANMAR Racing had their backs to the wall, now down 0-2.
Match 3 of the quarter final was critical. Gilmour described the race. ‘In the third match we tried to sail without any penalties. We came up to start pretty nicely on the pin, he gave us the right hand side and then we managed to get a piece of him coming into the top mark and led around the top mark by about a half boat length. Half way down the run we did a double gybe and he fell for it and we played a gybe on the lay line and then we went round the bottom mark quite comfortably and went on to win.'
So now it was Iehl 2 - 1 Gilmour, one match point saved but now there was another.
Before the start Gilmour had to dip Iehl, with just 10 seconds to go and head right, so first blood to Iehl who had once again won his favourite left hand side.
Gilmour said '‘We went right off the start and we led by the two boat lengths around the top mark. We increased our lead to four boat lengths at the bottom mark. Meanwhile the breeze had dropped to almost nothing. We tacked round the bottom mark and we sailed into a massive wind hole. Iehl sailed around us, our good lead turned into three lengths behind. We could not claw any of that back.’
With a 3-1 record Iehl went through to the semi final.
Gilmour was rueful but found plenty of good things to take away from the team's results.
‘These boats do not really suit our style so our goal was to finish inside the top eight and we achieved that. This was a really good work out and practice for us.
'The second important thing is that we were coming from behind. We could quite easily have gone 2 to 2, then anything could have happened.
‘Now we will have the 5-8 playoffs. We are upbeat about the outcome and we are looking forward to Match Race Germany, in Langenargen, Germany from May 26 - 31 where YANMAR Racing will be much more at home in the bigger boats.’
Match Race France was their worst regatta in 2010 and today they were just a whisker away from the semi finals.
It’s going to be an interesting year for the Tour veterans who are looking to recapture their form of 2004, 2005 and 2006 when they were rewarded with three consecutive World Match Racing Championships. Semi-Final Standings
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) v Bertrand Pace (FRA) 1–1
Damien Iehl (FRA) v Jesper Radich (DEN) 1–1
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) v Alvaro Marinho (POR) 3-0
Damien Iehl (FRA) v Peter Gilmour (AUS) 3-1
Bertrand Pace (FRA) v Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) 3-1
Jesper Radich (DEN) v Francesco Bruni (ITA) 3-0
For more news and information on YANMAR Racing, please visit http://www.yanmar.co.jp/en/racing/
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