The eighth edition of the Monsoon Cup finally gets underway tomorrow in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia and while the focus has been on the primary Championship contenders, there are two other skippers here who believe that they have a point to prove in the finale of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
(R-L) Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sport - YB Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek takes Coronation Cup victory alongside HRH Sultan Mizan, current AWMRT leader Bjorn Hansen and Chairman of Tbest Events - Datuk Wan Hisham Wan Salleh
On the water, His Royal Highness, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin claimed victory in the Coronation Cup alongside current Tour leader, Bjorn Hansen, on Practice Day.
Having qualified via the ever-expanding Malaysian Match Racing Championship for a third consecutive year, Jeremy Koo (MYS) KFC Malaysia/KRT believes he has a duty to perform well in Pulau Duyong. Koo has seen the level of Malaysian match racing draw ever closer to World Championship standard and believes that a few wins this week against the world’s top skippers will show it’s not all talk.
'The teams we had to beat for this spot at the Monsoon Cup have improved greatly since the event came to Malaysia in 2006', said Koo. We’ve had to up our game and I think we’re at a level now where we should be expected to earn some wins here.'
Koo is quick to acknowledge the quality of an Alpari World Match Racing Tour field but is confident his preparations have been the best ever. 'This year there have been more events on the Malaysian Match Racing Championship (MMRC), which means our training has been more consistent and spread across the year. We always prepare ourselves for every race, but this is the pinnacle so there is that added focus to do well. We’ll be doing everything we can to represent Malaysian match racing and to get some points on the board for the home crowds.'
Another skipper with a point to prove at the final event of the year is New Zealand’s Phil Robertson (NZL) Waaka Racing. Robertson started the season strongly with a win at Match Race Germany, followed by a third at the Korea Match Cup and a fourth at the Stena Match Cup Sweden. His decision to then lead an America’s Cup challenge for China Team though has coincided with a poorer second half of the season. It’s this split focus that the young Kiwi has been battling to control:
'It’s a challenge to switch the focus from one series to another - the major difference being the speeds of the Cup boats and getting the timings on distance right when we return to the Tour. There’s a feeling of unfinished business - I know that the boys would love to finish this one with a really good result. I think we’ve shown we’ve got what it takes to beat anyone. Hopefully we’ll show that again here in Malaysia.'
On the water, practice day featured the Coronation Cup, an event which saw eight of the Monsoon Cup skippers leading VIP crews. His Royal Highness, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin claimed victory aboard Bjorn Hansen’s Alpari Boat alongside Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister - YB Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek and Datuk Wan Hisham Wan Salleh, Chairman of Tbest Events.
The Monsoon Cup will take place on 3-8 December at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa, Pulau Duyong, Kuala Terengganu.
Monsoon Cup action will be broadcast live on Friday seventh and Saturday 8th December at 1500-1700 local time.
Racing will also be available online from fourth to 8th December throughout the day. Follow it live here.
Monsoon Cup – Competing Teams:
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
Peter Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team
Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Alpari Racing Team
Taylor Canfield (USVI) USone
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour
Jeremy Koo (MYS) KFC Malaysia/KRT
World Match Racing Tour website
Monsoon Cup website