Stage 2 of the 2011 World Match Racing Tour is Match Race Germany. With three World Match Racing Tour previous wins here at Langenargen, Lake Constance is amongst YANMAR Racing skipper Peter Gilmour's favourite venues.
Last night Gilmour with his regular crew of Yasuhiro Yaji, Kazauhiko Sofuku, Thierry Douillard and Cameron Dunn were 2-7 down before winning their last four round robin matches to storm into the quarter finals in sixth place.
When it came time to decide the quarter final pairings, Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing with first choice was set against Eugeney Neugodnikov (RUS) – Team Synergy and then Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners chose to race against Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team. This meant Gilmour was paired against Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team.
Racing commenced in little more than a four knot westerly, which was not expected to strengthen much beyond five knots during the day.
In YANMAR Racing's first quarter final flight, Richard won the start and led at the first and second marks. Gilmour managed to get round the top mark for the second time in the lead but was penalised as he gybed inside them. Richard got caught up with two boats from another match and Gilmour with clear air in his spinnaker, sailed away. Gilmour had just enough time to complete his penalty at the finish line for a first up win.
In the second match Gilmour won the start and headed right. As Gilmour and Richard come to cross, Gilmour was ahead and rounded the mark ahead of Richard. Gilmour still led at the top mark for the second time but it was very close. Richard managed to roll Gilmour and won. Now it was 1-1.
In their third match Richard won the start and rounded the top mark ahead. At the bottom mark there were two collisions and Gilmour received a double penalty. Game over and 1-2.
In match 4 Gilmour won the start and was two lengths ahead at the first mark, then four at the bottom mark and went on to win, levelling the scores at 2 all.
Crunch time and the deciding match. YANMAR Racing managed to clear down at the start line, tactician Cameron Dunn took them left and it paid. Gilmour rounded ahead of Richard at the top mark and held the lead down the run and for the next lap to take the quarter final 3-2.
While YANMAR Racing's quarter final was being decided, Eugeney Neugodnikov (Synergy Team) knocked out Damien Iehl (French Match Racing Team) 3-2 to set up a semi final series with YANMAR Racing. Phil Robertson (Waka Racing) beat Jesper Radich 3-1 (Adrian Lee & partners) and was matched against the round robin winner Francesco Bruni (Mascalzone Latino).
Gilmour rallies his team at Match Race Germany - © Chris Davies/AWMRT
In their first match Gilmour was over the line early but found a good shift to secure a big lead at the top mark. Gilmour headed down the run to the finish to go 1-0 over Neugodnikov.
In the second match of their semi final Neugodnikov was the windward boat and went right off the line, but at the top mark YANMAR Racing was just ahead.
Neugodnikov did a simultaneous gybe with Gilmour and rolled his veteran rival. The Russian has the inside berth at the bottom mark. But Gilmour attacked and forced Neugodnikov to tack off. Gilmour found better pressure and regained the lead. He sailed Neugodnikov off the course before turning under spinnaker to round the top mark three lengths ahead and went on to win on to win.
YANMAR Racing are now 2-0 in a first to three semi final. This battle will continue in the morning.
A very lively crew dinner for the YANMAR Racing team, with lots of smiles. Maybe a fourth win at Match Race Germany is a possibility after all.
Peter Gilmour explained their slow start and much improved showing. ‘This is a new boat, different from what we’ve sailed at this regatta in years past. It seems the Bavaria 40S is like an RV, a recreational vehicle, and it is hard work sailing them, they are big and heavy.
‘We have certainly been improving throughout the week. It was hard early on and we weren’t sailing particularly well together as team.
‘Now Cameron, Thierry and myself are really concentrating on the trimming and set up and boat speed while Yaji keeps the boat running and that's really worked well for us.
‘Cameron was right on the button today with his tactical calls. He really had a very clear idea of where he wanted to be on the race course and that helped tremendously.
'As with any sort of racing at this level when you get those calls right the confidence is there and you get a bit more relaxed and we are very happy with that.
'We still have more racing in the semi finals to do tomorrow morning and hopefully we will go on through to the finals. Then anything can happen.’ Standings after two semi final race sessions: SF/QF/QR
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino 1-1/ - / 6-5
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 1-1 / 3-1 / 7-4
Eugeney Neugodnikov (RUS) Team Synergy 0-2 / 3-2 / 6-5
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 2-0 / 3-2 / 6-5
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/