The Monsoon Cup 2011, the final event of the 2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour, is reaching its climax in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.
Amongst the teams to qualify for the quarter-finals of this year's event was YANMAR Racing, skippered by Peter Gilmour, five times the ISAF Match Racing World Champion and twice the Monsoon Cup winner.
It was almost picture perfect yesterday in Kuala Terengganu. The breeze was blowing 8-14 knots and the South China Sea was glistening green, contrasting nicely with the brown, flooded river.
In the first match Gilmour won the start and headed right, was first at top mark and held that lead to win. In the second match Robertson was penalised in the prestart but managed to extend during the race, complete his 360 penalty turn and take the match. In the third match Robertson won the start, went right again and won. He led 2-1.
Peter Gilmour explained ‘Phil had us on the ropes. He was starting a lot better than we were and just cleaned us up two or three times out of the start.
‘Importantly though the boys, Simon Shaw (GBR) our mainsheet hand and tactician, Yasuhiro Yaji (JPN) our pitman, Kazuhiko Sofuku (JPN) our bowman and Thierry Douillard (FRA) our head sail trimmer, just hung in there and hung tough.
‘Yaji reminded me before the start that I did a lecture in Japan a few months back on psychology for the Japanese match racers. He said 'now remember that yourself.' It was very funny.
‘When we were 1-2 down and we said ‘look we have really got to do something different.’ We decided to lead back in that final start and change things up a little bit for him (Robertson).’
In the fourth match Gilmour received a yellow and a red flag in the prestart, Robertson led right, was still three lengths ahead at the top mark for the second time, but incredibly down the run Gilmour surged to a win.
In the deciding match Gilmour won the right and led at top mark. YANMAR Racing extended and went on to take the win.
YANMAR Racing went through to the semi-finals, racing against Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson Sailing Team).
In the first match Gilmour was penalised in the prestart but led and won. In the second, Berntsson won the start, went right and won the race. In the third, Berntsson was penalised in the prestart but headed right, sailed away and extinguished his penalty and won that match.
In the fourth match of the semi-finals, Gilmour won the clean start and equalised 2-2.
Down to the deciding match and Berntsson, having said to his crew ‘they might need to kill’, won the right but touched the committee boat and was penalised. He still won the start and extended his lead, taking the penalty and a place in the final.
Dockside Gilmour was disappointed but pleased to have made it so far in his seventh Monsoon Cup.
'The boys gave it their best shot. We thought we were gaining the ascendancy but Johnie won that that last start.
'Starting is all about split second timing with small helm movements and he was in a strong position. We were a little bit faster and overlapped him on the left but could not get across, he was able to go right and that was pretty much the match.'
Preparing for racing today Peter Gilmour was positive. ‘Generally we have sailed well over the last couple of days. We have the Petite Final this morning so we will keep working till the end.
‘YANMAR Racing can finish third on the World Match Racing Tour if we do well today.’
For more news and information on YANMAR Racing, please visit http://www.yanmar.co.jp/en/racing/
And to discover more about YANMAR Marine go to http://www.yanmarmarine.com/
World Match Racing Tour website www.wmrt.com