BlackMatch racing report on the first two days of the Open de Espana:
The second day of racing saw the round robin completed and the top 8 teams progressing through to the quarterfinal.
We managed 5 wins from our 7 races today and with an overall scorecard of 7 wins 4 losses, we earned our way through to the quarterfinals in 4th position. Today's effort set us up for a show down with Frenchman and world 6 Damien Iehl, who we recently defeated in the Marseille International World Tour semi final.
We had wins today against the highly regarded french duo of Mathieu Richard and Damien Iehl, also managing wins over local hopeful Manuel Weiller and Alvaro Marinho of Portugal while we also had the edge in the clash of the Kiwis, managing a narrow victory over Phil Robertson.
After a comprehensive defeat against Eugeny Neugodnikov following a split tack start that saw the Russian pick up a massive right hand windshift, we had a very close race against the top qualifier Bjorn Hansen. Bjorn had the better of us in the start and we trailed the Swede up the first beat but managed to make a significant dent in their lead as we gybed on top of them downwind. We outmanoeuvred them in a gybe and managed to roll over the top of them nearing the bottom mark, also breaking the overlap which meant we were entitled to sail to the mark, however in the tight manoeuvring we struggled to get our spinnaker down in the windy conditions and they gained a significant enough advantage to take the win.
Tomorrow will see us compete in a very tough quarterfinal against Iehl and his French team, with the first team to reach 2 wins progressing through to the semi finals. With a mixed start to this regatta we have been slowly improving throughout and are hoping that we will start to 'hit our straps' tomorrow and proceed through to the later stages of the event.
Today was the opening day of the Open de Espana Grade 1 event held in the picturesque town of Calpe, on the Meditterean coast of Spain. This is our second visit to Calpe, having competed here 4 years ago where we gained a respectable 5th placing and we are hoping to better that performance despite the very tough competition at this years edition of the event.
Four of the worlds Top ten Skipper's are competing while amoungst many other highly ranked skippers is fellow Kiwi Phil Robertson in his debut grade 1 event, having earn't his place here by winning the prestigious Warren Jones youth regatta in Perth last January. It is great to be joined in Europe by Phil and his young Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadran team, they are sailing with yet another legendary kiwi, Andrew Taylor (aka raw meat) and have made a great start to the regatta with 3 wins.
We had a mixed start to the regatta winning two and losing two however one of our losses included a black flag disqualification, the result of some extremely dubious umpiring which we are hoping to put behind us. Our wins came against South African Ian Ainslie, who has newly recruited BlackMatch crew member Dan Mclean trimming for him and an all girls team from Germany who are preparing for the 2012 Olympics. Our first match tomorrow is against Phil and his talented kiwi team and should be an awesome race while we both vie for a win to keep us on track for a quarter final berth.
Again for results and photos please visit www.rcnc.es .
FedEx Express and Line 7 are our two sponsors who have stuck by us throughout our campaign and we would like to yet again thank them for their support. To the RNZYS, Emirates Team New Zealand and everyone else, thank you also for your support..
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9:53 PM Thu 23 Apr 2009 GMT
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