In the semi finals at Match Race Germany, the second stage of the World Match Racing Tour, Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing and his regular crew of Yasuhiro Yaji, Kazauhiko Sofuku, Thierry Douillard and Cameron Dunn were pitted against Eugeney Neugodnikov (RUS) and his Team Synergy crew.
Gilmour already held two wins in this first to three series, so the next match was vital for the Russian team.
With lots of sunshine and little more than five knots of breeze on Lake Constance it was a glorious day to be by the water and big crowds gathered on the shoreline to watch the action.
Off the starting line Gilmour headed for the favoured left hand side so Neugodnikov had no choice but to go right.
Gilmour crossed ahead when the two boats came together and the four times World champion rounded the top mark with a good lead which he stretched to four lengths at the bottom mark. Gilmour extended up the second beat, Neugodnikov came down the course with more pressure and closed up the gap but not enough. Gilmour went on to win and take the semi final 3-0.
The 2011 Match Race Germany Final was ‘first to two wins’ with Gilmour and YANMAR Racing up against Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino.
In match one of the final both Gilmour and Bruni used their spinnakers in the pre-start to gain as much pace as possible.
Gilmour was over the line early but quickly dipped back below it. Bruni held a small advantage and had better wind up the first beat than Gilmour. Bruni maintained his lead finding some nice puffs and went on to win.
It was a split tack start for match two. Bruni won the start and the race to the top mark and at the start of the second run had a two boat lengths lead over Gilmour. Bruni held on to win and take the title.
Peter Gilmour explained. ‘In our first race we rounded the top mark a little bit behind, had a chance to attack down the run but unfortunately we left it a bit late. The second beat was shortened due to dying breeze and so he (Bruni) won that race.
‘In the next race we tried to decide whether we should go left or right.
‘Cameron thought the right. I thought middle right and we came off the line and we both split, with Francesco going to the right and us heading towards the left.
‘When we came back together they were about a boat length in front, we probably got the better of the start and it was a bit frustrating to see that happen. We had a couple of gybes down the run but he led around the bottom mark and it was all over.
‘I think YANMAR Racing had been sailing particularly well this week. It has been a great team effort and I think it sets us up particularly well for getting into the next stage of the following three events - Korea, Portugal and Sweden. We are really pleased with our overall performance and if you look at our results from the second half of the series I think our score is 10 and 4, once we got rid of the 2 and 5 from the early days.
‘It was really a good outcome all in all but a bit frustrating. Our success from yesterday going 2 nil up in the semi final really changed things a bit for us in terms of being able to keep on the button and keep focused.
‘We had five hours sitting out on the water before a race happened - that changes things a little bit. Such is life. We are all heading back home now and YANMAR Racing will be in Korea next Monday.'
Cameron Dunn agreed. ‘Very hard conditions to be honest. When you are sailing along in three knots of wind and in a ten tonne boat, it is pretty hard to get it all right and probably one side was a boat length and a half better than the other. That was the boat race.
'Overall we very happy really. To finish second on a Tour event is always a good result. We had no expectations whatsoever going into Match Race France and actually we surprised ourselves a little bit.
‘We definitely got better during this week. We had a slow start but we soon got it together and we are very happy with a second overall. It’s a reasonably good way to start the Tour.
‘I think a lot had to do with figuring out our mode of sailing the boat, trimming, the steering etc, we were a bit slow at picking up a few little things earlier on in the week. Gilly (Gilmour) actually started very well at the beginning of the week and I would say he started this regatta better than he has started the last half dozen.
‘YANMAR Racing weren’t particularly fast early on and without a coach looking on from the outside, it is sometimes quite difficult to pick up the differences and that took us a while, but luckily we figured it out just in the nick of time.
‘Bruni’s guys sailed really well all week and I think they deserved to win the event.
‘Right now YANMAR Racing is third on the leader board and that means we are in the mix after two events and that's all we can ask for.
‘YANMAR Racing is now looking forward to Korea. You get a bit of everything in Korea; the venue is very different, it is a very confined race course with a lot of obstructions and gets quite shifty. The Bakewell 36s are good to sail, they have the one wheel and A sails and yes that adds a different dimension to the game. We can throw them around a bit so the style will be a little different but we are certainly looking forward to it.
‘Sofuku can’t join us in Korea so we have our regular sub Martin Benson from Sweden. Martin has sailed with us a fair bit before so he fits in very easily.’
Final Results: Bruni defeated Gilmour 2-0
Standings after Finals: F/SF/QF/QR
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino 2-0/ 1-1/ - / 6-5
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 0-2 / 2-0 / 3-2 / 6-5
Standings after Petite Finals: F/SF/QF/QR
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 1-0 / 1-1 / 3-1 / 7-4
Eugeney Neugodnikov (RUS) – Team Synergy 0-1 / 0-2 / 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/