After the first two days of the qualifying rounds of the Portimao Portugal Match Cup, stage 4 of the 2011 World Match Racing Tour, defending champions YANMAR Racing skippered by four times World Match Racing Champion Peter Gilmour, have challenges ahead if they are to make the quarter finals today.
Gilmour and his experienced crew of Cameron Dunn, Yasuhiro Yaji, Thierry Douillard and Martin Berntsson are currently second on the 2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour leader board but this event has not been as good for YANMAR Racing as it might have been.
On day 1 of the Portimao Portugal Match Cup qualifying series, YANMAR Racing won their first race against local sailor Alvaro Marinho (POR), Seth Sailing Team.
Their second was against Reuben Corbett (NZL) AON Racing Team and as Peter Gilmour explained it was over as soon as it began. ‘We were OCS by half a metre and by the time we went back we had handed Ruben the match.’
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team was next and that was a close fought battle.
Gilmour recounts ‘Mathieu found a shift and took the lead on the first leg. We were bow and stern most of the way round but he did a nice job of defending his lead and won by a boat length or so.’
YANMAR Racing then faced Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team. They won the start, took the favoured right and went on to win.
Gilmour continues ‘Our final match of that very long day was against Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team. He won the start, went right and had strong pressure all the way to the lay line.
‘But we rolled him down the run. There were lots of penalty flags and he was landed with one. He sailed away a little but we closed up again and he was unable to complete his turns on the line before we crossed. We finished 3-2 for the day.’
On day 2 of the Portugal Match Cup YANMAR Racing’s first race was against Olli-Pekka Lumijarvi (FIN) Lumjarvi, Siragusawa Sailing Team.
‘After the start he found a nice right hand shift and led us round the first mark. But we sailed inside him at the bottom mark, led up the second windward leg and went on to win.’
But things went downhill from there. The YANMAR Racing team’s next opponent was Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar.
‘Ian led us off the start line and with the race being about eighty percent on port tack it was very difficult to come back. We were a boat length behind him at the top mark and a boat length behind him at the bottom mark but we just could not get round him.
‘Then in the third race Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team led us off the start line. We caught up to him quite nicely and managed to get quite close at the top mark. Unfortunately we tangled our spinnaker in the rush and Berntsson cleared away by three or four boats lengths and that was that.
‘Overall it is tightening up for the final few spots to make it into the top eight.
We have lots of work to do now – with just a 4-4 result so far, but we have been in this situation before. The team is sailing well.
‘It will be light today with strong conditions on Saturday and Sunday. We have just got to go out there and win a few today and we will be back in business, so stand by.’
YANMAR Racing face three very tough races with Jesper Radich, Torvar Mirsky and Francesco Bruni to sail against, YANMAR Racing will certainly need to sail well the to reach the quarter finals.
Overall scores at the end of Flight 18:
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/