In another extraordinary day of action at Match Race Germany, Yanmar Racing continued their comeback-from-the-dead story nearly all the way into the finals of the first event on the 2012 Alpari World Match Race Tour. After narrowly avoiding elimination from the qualifying round, the 4-time Tour title holder, Peter Gilmour (AUS, Skipper) drew on all of his experience and guile in an exceptional performance today, but finally fell just short of the final.
Gilmour rounding the mark
The action had halted yesterday evening with Yanmar Racing having a one-win advantage in their quarter final against Australia’s Keith Swinton. When racing got underway again this morning, Yanmar Racing picked up where they had left off by taking the second race and moving to match point. Keith Swinton had a brief flurry of resistance to take the match to 2-1, but Yanmar Racing extinguished the Aussie’s fight in the next to take it 3-1 and progress to the semi-finals.
In the other quarter finals, New Zealand’s Phil Robertson had beaten the Dane, Joachim Aschenbrenner 3-2, while the other Kiwi, Laurie Jury beat Switzerland’s Eric Monnin 3-0. The top skipper from qualifying was Frenchman, Pierre-Antoine Morvan, and he already had a bye into the semi-final. Now he also had his pick of opponent – he chose Laurie Jury. It left Yanmar Racing up against Phil Robertson’s Kiwis.
Day 4: Yanmar lead - Match Race Germany 2012
The action started for the live tv window of 14:00 CET, and Robertson soon showed the form that took him to second place in the qualifying round with two quick wins. Yanmar Racing were now facing match point, one more defeat would send them into the Petite Final sail-off for third and fourth. But Peter Gilmour’s mantra had been to keep getting better all through this competition, could they find the magic again when they needed it?
Tactician, Fred Guilmin said, ‘In race three it was very close, we were behind at the first mark, but kept working to stay with him, and give ourselves a chance on the last run. And that’s what happened, we got him into a weak position close to the finish line, and then overtook him in the last 50 metres with a bit more wind, and by taking the closer end of the finish line.’ Yanmar Racing then pushed the momentum further their way with a great start and first beat in the fourth race, and led Robertson all the way round from there.
The fifth race would be decisive – and it was Yanmar Racing that again had the early advantage, leading into the top mark. Robertson fought back, and took a narrow lead on the run that Yanmar Racing almost overcame with a passing move – but Robertson managed to get the inside line at the second mark, and it gave him a lead that he held to the finish.
Gilmour in the downwind chase - Match Race Germany 2012
And so Phil Robertson’s Waka Racing progressed to the final, where they will meet their Kiwi compatriot Laurie Jury. Jury also won his semi-final 3-2, against Pierre-Antoine Morvan. Yanmar Racing will sail against Morvan to decide the final place on the podium tomorrow.
Afterwards, skipper Peter Gilmour commented, ‘Obviously we’re disappointed not to get to the final, but the Alpari WMRT title is a long competition, and we’ve seen that we can get better as it progresses. It’s all part of the process, and I think we’re happy with our performance here, although getting third in the Petite tomorrow will help.’
Match Race Germany, the first event on this year’s Tour is held on Lake Constance, at Langenargen in Germany, and runs from the 23rd to 28th May.
Quarter Final Results
Phil Robertson 3-2 Joachim Aschenbrenner
Laurie Jury 3-0 Eric Monnin
Keith Swinton 1-3 Peter Gilmour
Phil Robertson 3-2 Peter Gilmour
Pierre-Antoine Morvan 2-3 Laurie Jury
World Match Race Tour website