The Portugal Match Cup is stage 4 of the 2011 World Match Racing Tour. It was a very tense final day of qualifiers and quarter finals in Portimao, Portugal. At the beginning of the day there were five teams fighting for the last places in the quarter finals.
Amongst them was the four times ISAF World Match Racing champion and 2010 Portugal Match Cup winner Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing with his crew of Cameron Dunn, Yasuhiro Yaji, Thierry Douillard and Martin Berntsson.
Their first race was against Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners.
Jesper Radich - Portimao Portugal Match Cup 2011 - Rui Valido
Gilmour tied Radich up in the early part of the prestart and the Dane was penalised. Radich was better placed off the line and was in the lead by the top mark. Extending over the next lap, Radich was just able to complete his penalty turn on the line to take the win.
The next challenge for YANMAR Racing was against fellow West Australian Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat.
Last year in Portugal Gilmour beat Mirsky in the Finals, so YANMAR Racing was looking for the same result today. But with superb timing Mirsky won the start on the favoured pin end and by the top mark was six lengths ahead and he sailed to victory.
With two losses for the day it was 'backs to the wall' for YANMAR Racing. If they did not win against Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing, they would miss the quarter finals.
Gilmour’s timing was spot on at the start and he nailed it. Bruni picked up a penalty in the prestart so the stars were aligning for YANMAR Racing.
Gilmour led around the first mark by a length and stretched that to six lengths a lap later. Bruni still had a penalty. A good win for Gilmour and a place in the quarter finals.
Quarter Finals: Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing v Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team.
Gilmour won the start and the left, but it was close. This was to be a first to two point series as time and daylight was running out.
Gilmour led at the top mark, the left had paid well but down the run Richard got to the left of Gilmour and sailed to a close lead. At the bottom mark in a close encounter Gilmour was penalised and trailed home. 1-0 to Richard.
Portimao Portugal Match Cup 2011 - Rui Valido
In the second match Gilmour had the starboard advantage and won the favoured left as they headed off the line, but there was a right hand shift as the two boats sailed up the course and when they crossed, Richard was ahead and tacked around the mark ahead. Gilmour followed down the run and on the second beat Richard went left and this time it was business as usual, the favoured side worked and he extended with a commanding lead to win the quarter final battle.
Disappointment for the 2010 Portugal Match Cup winners, YANMAR Racing but skipper Peter Gilmour was philosophical. He said 'Very close racing, anything could have happened out there today. I said after Korea that they key to this years Tour will be consistency. Francesco Bruni has been showing that and he deserves to be where he is. He has widened the gap so we all need to work harder.
'We are looking forward to the Stena Match Cup Sweden, at Marstrand in a week. Right now we are just happy to be in the overall mix, there are worse places to be than second on the leader board at this stage of the year.' Results from 2011 Portimão Portugal Match Cup:
1 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar
2 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing
3 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
4 Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
5 Torvar Mirsky (AUS)The Wave Muscat
6 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee and Partners
7 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
8 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team
9 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team
10 Alvaro Marinho (POR) Seth Sailing Team
11 Reuben Corbett (NZL) Aon Racing Team
12 Olli-Pekka Lumijarvi (FIN) Siragusawa Sailing Team 2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings (after four stages):
1 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing – 81pts
2 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing – 58pts
3 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar - 46pts
4 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team - 45pts
5 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat – 45pts
6 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 43pts
7 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee and Partners – 40pts
8 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team – 35pts
9 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 31pts
10 Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team – 30pts
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/