We’ve heard all the news about how the Monsoon Cup is the richest yachting prize in the world (RMB1,000,000 altogether), but for the sailors out there what is more important is the sheer excitement of watching the best match racers in the world going head-to-head. The fleet here includes Mathieu Richard (World #1), Ian Williams (#2), Paolo Cian (#3) and Sebastian Col (#4). There’s also World Match Tour #1, Peter Gilmour.
At stake is not only the Monsoon Cup, but also the ISAF World Match Championship – this is the last event of the season, and the Champion will be decided by points from this event.
There wasn’t a lot of sunshine out on the race course yesterday, but there was plenty of breeze – 10-14 kts all day. With the start line right next to the pontoons in front of the Heritage Bay Club, the boats were dog-fighting the pre-starts within easy viewing (and photographing!) distance of the Press Room balcony, and for a real close-up view sitting on the pontoons was a great option. Boats were almost skimming the spectators’ toes as they passed along the dock, and the only time I got wet all day was from the wake of a fast-moving Umpire’s boat!
At this range, and in this breeze, it becomes apparent just how physical match racing can be. The boats are Foundation 36s, and the crews are throwing them around so hard, so fast and so close that eventually it becomes tough to keep up with what is happening. Me, I’ll stick to taking the pics.
Here’s a selection of images from the second – and very exciting – day of the Monsoon Cup 2007. There’s almost 20 kts out on the race course this morning, so look for some more action shots later…