The Asian Match Racing Championship (AMRC) commenced today as seven sailing teams from around Asia congregrated at Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa in Pulau Duyong, Kuala Terengganu, home to the Monsoon Cup. The winner of the AMRC will be assured of a place at the Monsoon Cup, the final leg of the 2011 World Match Racing Tour at the same venue from 22nd to 27th November.
Most of the teams found themselves on equal footing as the first three flights ended with most of the teams winning either one or two matches except for Joe Howe (TEAM JH) who lost both matches. David Gilmour (Team Gilmour), son of four-time World Champion Datuk Peter Gilmour, found himself upstaged by William Tiller (Full Metal Jacket Racing) in the second flight. 'Our preparations have been limited since we haven’t stepped onto a boat for six months. Everyone’s got a chance. And that’s our goal, work it to win it,' said Gilmour.
Flight four began with Maximilian Soh (Send It Sideways) and Howe knocking boats at the approach; and Reuben Corbett (AON Racing) with a three length lead over Tiller. Peter Nicholas (Freshie Racing Team) also had a three length lead over Gilmour who had to do a penalty. A short burst of rain appeared right after Soh, Tiller and Nicholas won their flights.
In the fifth flight, Seah Chin Yew (Zoke Kiwi Match) led but Howe caught up. Meanwhile Nicholas took the lead against Soh who tried to force him into a penalty but got one on himself instead. The flight ended with Seah and Nicholas with a score while Corbett lost to Gilmour. Corbett who finished fourth last year crewing with a Malaysian team is back in the AMRC with his New Zealand crew. He said, 'I’m struggling. We have our work cut out for us. Our strategy is to sail fast, sail smart and not make any mistakes.'
As the last flight of the day came up, the course shifted left and shortened. Tiller streaked ahead of Howe while Soh kept his lead on Corbett at the top mark. Nicholas was also ahead of Seah but had a penalty to wipe off before the finish which he did bringing the total score to 4-1. He said, 'The team was more organised and the breeze today was better than any of the races last year. The level is pretty much the same if not higher.' Qualifying Round 1
1. Peter Nicholas (AUS) – Freshie Racing Team, 4-1
2. William Tiller (NZL) – Full Metal Jacket Racing, 4-1
3. David Gilmour (AUS) – Team Gilmour, 3-2
4. Maximilian Soh (SIN) – Send It Sideways, 3-3
5. Reuben Corbett (NZL) – AON Racing, 2-3
6. Seah Chin Yew (HGK) – Zoke Kiwi Match, 2-3
7. Joe Howe (SIN) – TEAM JH, 0-5 Monsoon Cup website