Match Race Germany, the first event of the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, came alive today at Lake Constance as the qualifying round concluded. It was an incredibly tense ending, but with a final race victory over Laurie Jury, Yanmar Racing made it through to the quarter finals in seventh place.
Peter Gilmour - Match Race Germany 2012
Overnight, Yanmar Racing had sat in an apparently comfortable fifth place, requiring just one or preferably two wins from their final three races to book a place in the next round. It was a long wait while they sat out the first three flights of the day, before going out on the water for the races that would settle the quarter final places.
When they did get out on the water, Yanmar Racing quickly found themselves in deep trouble after two disastrous defeats. The first was an epic battle with Sweden’s Bjorn Hansen, where the lead changed three times before Hansen edged it. The second was a painful loss to young Keith Swinton – a Western Australian compatriot of Yanmar Racing’s skipper, Peter Gilmour. Suddenly the four-time Tour winner and his crew faced sudden death.
Yanmar Racing had to win their final qualifying race against Laurie Jury (NZL), or go home very early. It’s not an unfamiliar situation for Yanmar Racing or their supporters, the team just squeezed through to the quarter finals here in 2011 – so everyone held their breath… And once again, the Yanmar boys came good, producing the performance they needed, just when they needed it most.
Yanmar Racing in action - Match Race Germany 2012
Peter Gilmour explained, ‘We managed to start with some separation from them and better speed, and we rolled over the top. And fortunately that gave us control of the favoured side, the right. We worked it hard, and kept Jury away from it on both upwind legs and it was enough to take the win.’
Yanmar Racing’s win left them tied on five wins with four other teams, covering the positions from sixth to ninth. When the complex tie-break was calculated, Yanmar Racing were left in seventh place, just making the cut for the quarter finals.
Peter Gilmour was philosophical, ‘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. We are starting to improve and make less mistakes in the tight situations.’
The format at Match Race Germany gives the winner of qualifying a bye into the semi-finals – this year that was Frenchman, Pierre-Antoine Morvan. It then hands the next six skippers a quarter final place. The three winners of the quarter finals will progress to join Morvan in the semis.
After the top skippers in qualifying had selected their opponents, there was just time for the first race of the quarter finals. Ironically, Yanmar Racing found themselves back up against Gilmour’s Western Australian compatriot, Keith Swinton – the man who had left them facing sudden death in the qualifying round. Revenge was sweet and swift, with Yanmar Racing taking a one-nil lead in the quarter final – racing will continue in the morning.
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.
Top seven at the end of Qualifying:
Pierre-Antoine Morvan 9 – 2 (Bye to Semi-final)
Phil Robertson 8 – 3 (quarter-finalist)
Eric Monnin 8 – 3 (quarter-finalist)
Keith Swinton 7 – 4 (quarter-finalist)
Laurie Jury 6 – 5 (quarter-finalist)
Joachim Aschenbrenner 5 – 6 (quarter-finalist)
Peter Gilmour 5 – 6 (quarter-finalist)
Quarter Finals – One Flight Sailed:
Phil Robertson 1-0 Joachim Aschenbrenner
Laurie Jury 1-0 Eric Monnin
Keith Swinton 0-1 Peter Gilmour
World Match Racing Tour website