WMRT Match Race Germany, the first event of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour 2012, Practice Session was held today, Wednesday 23rd May. The top sailing teams from the world of match racing have arrived in Langenargen and four-time World Champion Peter Gilmour used the day’s practice to renew an old rivalry with 2002 ISAF World Champion, Karol Jablonski.
Peter Gilmour will line up against Karol Jablonski at WMRT Match Race Germany 2012
Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing returns to Langenargen for the first Alpari World Match Racing Tour event of the year, having narrowly missed out in the Final last year. The addition of fellow former Champion Jablonski (GER/POL) Jablonski Sailing Team, who previously held the World No.1 spot for 18 months, will re-ignite a battle which Jablonski remembers to this day:'I know Peter well and I know that he still adopts his typical aggressive sailing style.'
'When I was World Champion in 2002, Peter was racing at the America’s Cup, but we both remember the Elba Cup semi-final. I was doing well through the early rounds then lost the semi after a few calls which didn’t go our way. It was really a tough and painful way to get knocked out.'
Jablonski returns to the Tour after several years pursuing other sailing events and he remains as driven as ever to prove that he still has what it takes to compete at the top table of match racing: 'It has been a long break for me but I’ve certainly not forgotten how to do it. Any time we take to the water in competition, you can be sure we’re going to do it seriously.
Gilmour welcomed back his old foe: 'It’s fantastic to have him back on the Tour after all these years and I’m sure he knows that it’ll be tough because the level steps up every year. It’s an exciting challenge for him which I think he’ll embrace.'
While the Gilmour versus Jablonski match is certainly one of the hot prospects this week, it’s worth noting that Match Race Germany will host six skippers under the age of 30 years old. It defines what the Alpari World Match Racing Tour is about, which is pitching the world best sailors, often with Olympic, World Championship and America’s Cup campaigns behind them, against the best young talent around.
Gilmour is pleased they’re hungry to emulate the likes of Adam Minoprio who won the 2009 World Championship at just 22 years old after only his second full season on the Tour, but warns them not to get carried away: 'Karol and I are World Champions. When we go up against a skipper that isn’t, that has an effect and for some of the younger guys that can be intimidating.
'The transition from being a top young prospect to becoming one of the most successful on the Tour is huge. In match racing, accumulated knowledge is a huge benefit and you just can’t have that level of experience in your early 20’s.
'For the younger guys, the world is in front of them but they haven’t conquered it yet. It’s a tough school out there and they have to prove that they have the maturity and consistency to take on guys like me and Karol who have been there before. We’re tough benchmarks for them.'
The first Qualifying Session starts on Thursday 24 May at 0900 local time (CDT). For regular Tour updates including news, interviews, features and results, visit the WMRT website.
Live coverage of the action will be shown on Saturday 26th – Monday 28th from 1400 – 1600 local time (CDT).
Teams competing at Match Race Germany:
Jan Eike Andresen (GER) – MRV Match Race Team
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) – Team Trifork
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) – Ferrarese Racing Team
Peter Gilmour (AUS) – Yanmar Racing
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) – Mekonomen Sailing
Karol Jablonski (POL) – Jablonski Sailing Team
Laurie Jury (NZ) - Kiwi Match
Staffan Lindberg (FIN) – Alandia Sailing Team
Eric Monnin (SUI) – Team Oklays-Corum
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) - Vannes Agglo Sailing Team
Phil Robertson (NZ) – Waka Racing
Keith Swinton (AUS) – Black Swan Racing
2012 Tour Card Holders:
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team
Peter Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team
Laurie Jury (NZL) Zoke Kiwi Match
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar
World Match Racing Tour website