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What Does it Mean to be Dato’ Peter Gilmour?

by Lynn Fitzpatrick, US Editor, Sail-World.com on 28 Nov 2007
Dato’ Peter Gilmour Lynn Fitzpatrick
The Monsoon Cup – Heritage Bay Club - Pulau Duyong - Terengganu, Malaysia - Dato’ Peter Gilmour.

While some of you may not be familiar with the Monsoon Cup and have never heard of Terengganu, Malaysia, Peter Gilmour must ring a bell. What does the prefix 'Dato’' mean? If you could see the twelve match racing teams and the 72 sailors here at the Heritage Bay Club, the purpose built sailing venue situated on Duyong Island at the confluence of two rivers, immediately inland of the South China Sea, in the East Coast capital city of Terengganu, Malaysia, you may be able to figure out what 'Dato’' means on your own.

With five Americas Cup campaigns, spanning from 1987 through 2003 and three World Match Race Tour championships (1990, 1997, and 1998) under his belt, Peter Gilmour certainly has match racing experience, but to have grey hair under your cap and a deep broad smile on your face, does not make you a 'Dato’' in Malaysia.

Of the sixty competitors, Dato’ Peter Gilmour is the only one who has been running around with his Monsoon Cup apparel day in and day out. He darts around like a humming bee. He’s up in the media center, down in the reception hall, out on the terrace, in the regatta management office, out on the dock and back up to the television studio in a flash. It’s no wonder he is so fit!

Those activities may give you some insight as to why he bears the honorary prefix 'Dato’', but don’t mistake 'Dato’' for the Malaysian title of Regatta Chair or PRO. No, Peter Gilmour is the event advisor, but you don’t become one of eleven to be bestowed such an honor for being an event advisor.

When you land at the Kuala Terengganu airport, which is bustling with fast paced work crews who are just months away from putting the finishing touches on a state-of-the art, multi-level terminal and look past the traditional buildings that line freshly paved roads and see the glittering aluminum and chrome of a 40,000-seat football stadium, you start to appreciate what event consultant Peter Gilmour has precipitated.

Posters, banners and brochures will give you further insight, but it is not until you arrive at what had been a little more than a sandbar that was used as a garbage dump at the juncture of two rivers, which has been transformed into a marina-resort complete with 58 chalets, a marina with 50 slips and another 100 under construction, a grand three-story restaurant/banquet/dining facility and a four-story retail center and exhibition hall that you say to yourself 'Ah ha!'

Peter Gilmour has assisted the state of Terengganu and local developer, Datuk Patrick Lim with the economic development of an entire state within the country of Malaysia. When you see the bus loads of spectators and hotel guests smiling on the balcony of the exhibition center and you find yourself among the throngs of Malaysian citizens who have come out to see the Prime Minister and the King, you understand how important Peter Gilmour and the Monsoon Cup have been to the meteoric economic development that has taken place in Terengganu over the past three years.

Dato’ Peter Gilmour is worthy of his celebrity and all of the sashes, proclamations and tributes that the Malaysian government and royalty has bestowed upon him as much has he deserves the deeply ingrained smile on his face.

The short answer to what does it mean to be 'Dato’ Peter Gilmour' comes straight from his lips, 'it means being passionately involved in a very exciting project that has caught the attention of His Royal Majesty The King of Malaysia. Officially it means, A Knight of the Crown of Terengganu.'

The flights are set and the match racing starts Wednesday afternoon. Dato’ Peter Gilmour will be sailing with his dependable crew of Yasuhiro Yaji, Christian Scherrer, Kazuhiko Sofuku and Rod Dawson. The Monsoon Cup and the World Match Racing Championship title for the 2006/07 season are up for grabs.

The top six skippers on the leader board will be attending the Monsoon Cup which is worth double the points of a regular World Tour event and must be counted in the skippers final score. Mathieu Richard leads with 140 points followed by Team Pindar’s, Ian Williams on 132. Italian Paolo Cian of Shosholoza is in third place with 115 followed by Frenchman Sebastion Col on 93 and Bjorn Hansen on 87. However, each skipper will drop there worst race and count the final score making the scores even tighter. With a drop the score line reads:


Matthieu Richard (FRA) - Saba Sailing Team: 130 points
Iam Williams (GBR) – Team Pindar: 122 points
Paolo Cian (ITA) – Shosholoza: 107 points
Sebastion Col (FRA) – Areva Challenge: 89 points
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) – Team Apport.net: 87 points
Peter Gilmour (AUS) – PST: 66 points


There will be 200 points up for grabs to the top eight places out of the 12 competing teams. Points will be allocated as follows: 1st – 50 points; 2nd – 40; 3rd – 30; 4th – 24; 5th – 20; 6th – 16, 7th – 12 and 8th – 8points. A zero score at this event could cost any of the skippers dearly and could decide the ISAF Match Racing World Championship. In addition to the top five teams, Dato’’ Peter Gilmour, the defending World Champion, will be sailing and still has a shot at making the podium at his home event.
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