The field is tight after day one of the Asian Match Racing Championship (October 12-15). Seven teams from across the Asia-Pacific are fighting for a single berth at the final event on the 2011 World Match Racing Tour, the Monsoon Cup.
Four times World Match Racing Tour champion and twice Monsoon Cup champion Peter Gilmour, who was instrumental in the start up of the Monsoon Cup, sees the Asian Qualifier as a ramp onto the World Match Racing Tour.
Gilmour commented ‘To see the young sailors having a red hot go is wonderful. The Asian Qualifiers were won in both 2006 and 2007 by a young New Zealander, Adam Minoprio and in 2009 he became the World Match Racing Tour Champion.
‘The 2009 and 2010 Asian Match Racing Championship winner Phil Robertson is now making his mark on the Tour and one of the skippers competing in this regatta, Rueben Corbett (NZL) just caused my own YANMAR Racing team grief in the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda. It’s going to be interesting to see how this year’s field goes.’
Peter is following the event keenly as amongst the field is 20 year David Gilmour, Peter’s son, who was a finalist last year. At the start of the day David Gilmour (Team Gilmour) and Rueben Corbett (AON Racing) were favoured to go through, however match racing is not predictable and both received wake up calls.
Perth sailor Peter Nicolas (AUS) and his Freshie Racing Team lifted and finished 4-1. Nicholas’ only loss was his first up match against Rueben Corbett. William Tiller (Full Metal Jacket Racing) only lost to Nicholas and ended with a similar 4-1 result.
Gilmour suffered at the hands of Nicholas after incurring a penalty, and then to William Tiller. In that match Gilmour was well ahead but it ended when he was caught on the wrong side of a big shift approaching the first top mark.
When a big rain squall came through Corbett seemed unsettled in the shifty unstable conditions, being beaten by Tiller, Gilmour and Maximilian Soh (Send It Sideways) to finish the day 2-3.
Maximilian Soh was 3-3 while Chin Yew Seah (Zoke Kiwi Match) was also 2-3, with Joe Howe (Team JH) 0-5.
Dockside David Gilmour said ‘This year we are looking to do one better than last year when we lost to Phil Robertson in the final. We lost some matches we could and should have won today.
‘We were disappointed to only take second at the Warren Jones Regatta (in Perth, Western Australia) and we need to step up here.
‘After this event our plan is to hit the European and perhaps the North American circuits in 2012.’
Dockside Rueben Corbett explained ‘This is a tough field; we made too many mistakes today. Will Tiller went through the New Zealand Youth Match Racing Program at the same time as us and we usually seem to be neck and neck but he and Peter Nicolas are top of the list after today’s racing and David Gilmour has runs on the board. Chin Yew Seah and Maximilian Soh were dangerous today.
‘This year we’ve done three Tour events; Korea, Portugal and Bermuda. To make it through to the Monsoon Cup we will have to knuckle down and minimise mistakes - at this level any mistake will rarely be left unpunished.’
The 2011 Monsoon Cup will be sailed at the same venue being used for the Asian Match Racing Championship, the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa, Pulau Duyong, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia from November 22-27th. Asian Match Racing Championship 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