At the 2012 Match Race Germany, Peter Gilmour, Phil Robertson and Laurie Jury each have the upper hand and are bidding to join Pierre-Antoine Morvan in the semi-finals. The day’s main story though is all about the conclusion of Qualifying in which many of the new young Alpari World Match Racing Tour Card Holders were in the thick of the action.
Morvan in action
At the start of the day, there were six flights from Qualifying remaining and even after the first three had been concluded, few of the overnight questions had been answered. What was certain was that Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team was out and Eric Monnin (SUI) Team Okalys Corum was assured a quarter-final place and put himself in contention to qualify in first place after a run of three wins. Karol Jablonski (POL/GER) Jablonski Sailing Team and Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork would have to sit through the final three flights before they knew their fate.
Although Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team had only a slim chance of qualifying when he took to the water for Flight 19, he could still help determine the fate for several teams. His opponents were Gilmour, who needed at least one win from his final three matches, Robertson and Morvan, who were both locked on 7 – 1 overnight and in the hunt to qualify in first spot to earn a bye to the semis.
An epic match race ensued between Hansen and Gilmour, the lead changing three times during the race. It was Hansen though who prevailed leaving Gilmour still in need of another win with his next match against countryman Keith Swinton.
Hansen then faced both Morvan and Robertson in his final two matches. After a defeat for Robertson and a victory for Morvan in the penultimate flight, both young skippers were tied on 8-2 with Morvan on top on count back. Morvan assured himself of top spot with a win over Hansen while Robertson fell to an increasingly impressive Swinton.
Some skippers believe it’s a disadvantage to earn a bye into the semi-finals. For Morvan though, the positives outweigh the negatives: 'The main aim today was to take the top spot in the qualification table. Reaching the semis is important – we’ll get a little bit less training on the boats but that’s only a small disadvantage. We would certainly prefer that than having to win another match against this top class field to get there.'
All eyes were now firmly back on Gilmour who was in a do or die situation in his final match after losing his second match against Swinton, the younger Australian leading from start to finish. This time, against another new Tour Card Holder, Laurie Jury, Gilmour used all his experience to muster a win to put him on 5-6 and in a tie with three other teams. As in 2011 here, Gilmour edged through, this time in seventh place with Aschenbrenner in sixth.
Coming off the water for the quarter-final draw, the three-time Match Race Germany winner said: 'We’ve just made it through so all in all it was a good day. We won when it mattered and we were in the hunt against Hansen. If we have to scrape through the qualifiers then manage to raise our game in each round through to the final, we’ll be in good shape'.
With around 12 knots of breeze across Lake Constance, the Race Committee decided to get the quarter-finals underway. After one flight, Gilmour leads Swinton, Robertson has the advantage over Aschenbrenner and Jury is one up against Eric Monnin.
The quarter-finals resume on Sunday 27 May at 0900 local time (CDT).
Laurie Jury (NZ) - Kiwi Match v Eric Monnin (SUI) – Team Okalys-Corum 1-0
Peter Gilmour (AUS) – Yanmar Racing v Keith Swinton (AUS) – Black Swan Racing 1-0
Phil Robertson (NZ) – Waka Racing v Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) – Team Trifork 1-0
Standings after Qualifying:
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) - Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 9-2
Phil Robertson (NZ) – Waka Racing 8-3
Eric Monnin (SUI) – Team Okalys-Corum 8-3
Keith Swinton (AUS) – Black Swan Racing 7-4
Laurie Jury (NZ) - Kiwi Match 6-5
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) – Team Trifork 5-6
Peter Gilmour (AUS) – Yanmar Racing 5-6
Karol Jablonski (POL) – Jablonski Sailing Team 5-6
Staffan Lindberg (FIN) – Alandia Sailing Team 5-6
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) – Ferrarese Racing Team 4-7
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) – Mekonomen Sailing 4-7
Jan-Eike Andresen (GER) – MRV Match Race Team 0-11
World Match Race Tour website