Day 3 of the Monsoon Cup 2011 being sailed in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia was always going to be an interesting one with four highly regarded teams fighting to ensure they were in the top eight after the 11 qualifying matches had completed.
Mirsky and crew. Day 3 at the Monsoon Cup 2011. Kuala Terengannu, Malaysia.
Overnight the current World Match Racing Tour leader, the 2007 and 2008 World Champion Ian Williams sat on 4 wins and 3 losses, the 2003 World Champion Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners was 4-3 also, while Peter Gilmour’s (Yanmar Racing) score card read 4-4 and Torvar Mirsky’s (The Wave Muscat) 3-4.
After an ordinary day yesterday out on the Pulau Duyong course, Ian Williams and his crew today did a ‘Lazarus’, turning their 0-3 score line into 6 wins and 5 losses, to progress through to the quarter-finals.
Dockside Williams was definitely relieved. ‘We’ve been fighting hard to make sure we reach the quarter-finals after our slow start.’
Ian Williams in the rain on day 3 at the Monsoon Cup 2011. Kuala Terengannu, Malaysia. 25 November 2011.
As the day drew to a close, along came the most vital match of today. It was Mirsky versus Bruni and with both skippers on just five wins, the loser would miss the cut.
It was an uncontested split start, Mirsky going right and Bruni hard left. Mirsky in more pressure and tide on the right was around the top mark just a length ahead, both boats had clean hoists.
With a symo-gybe Bruni rolled into the lead. At the bottom marks the boats were almost abeam. Again they split, Mirsky went out to the right.
Bruni went further into the current on the second beat. It was a heart stopping wait as the two boats headed towards the top mark where Mirsky was clearly ahead and faster on the turn. With a slower hoist from Bruni, there was more separation and Mirsky was able to gybe unchallenged.
Mirsky was out of the adverse current early. But bringing pressure down from the right Bruni accelerated into the lead just on the line.
There was jubilation on Bruni's boat. Mirsky and his crew stood like statues.
Overcome with emotion Bruni took a few seconds to compose himself. 'We have been unlucky a few times, I feel sorry for Mirsky but I am so proud of my team.’
‘It’s really heartbreaking’ said Mirsky 'we are devastated, it’s been an up and down year, but after two years on podium we can’t be there this year.
‘We just hit number one on the ISAF rankings and we've has two tour wins but it’s that little edge.'
Ian Williams observed. He said ‘It was a shock to see Torvar go out but with the top two teams into the quarters, the battle for the World Championship is going to be tight. I think we are going to have to sail a little better to win the regatta but we are improving all the time.
‘I am surprised to see Torvar miss the cut. He has a really strong team and he has been with same crew for three or four years - the exact same team.
‘They come here and they all know exactly what each one of them is going to do in every single manoeuvre and that allows them to focus on the big picture, to focus on the shifts and the current differences and all that sort of stuff and to really focus on their game. I think it makes them a very strong team.
‘Mirsky doesn’t have a great record in finishing off regattas so I guess you would say if he has a weakness that’s it, so after this result he has a lot to prove.
‘Now our battle will be will be to finish ahead of Francesco Bruni and his very talented team of sailors but they haven’t been together that long and they don’t have the same level of slickness in the boats.
‘They are quite similar to us in many ways; they are very good sailors, they have good diverse backgrounds and I think Bruni is the sort of guy that if the conditions and the type of course suit him he would be very tough to beat, but he doesn’t have a complete game.
‘If for whatever reason the type of racing doesn’t suit him then I think he drops off a little, but if it is his day then you have your work cut out.
‘Our team actually is a very different team this year to what we have been historically.
‘We are really a new team. I think sometimes we forget that and sometimes other people forget that too. This is the third regatta we have done, as a group of five - third regatta full stop, not just the World Match Racing Tour. We are still figuring stuff out together; you know who does what when etc.
‘We have a lot to learn as a group about how we handle the boats. We can’t really spend as much time as we want on the bigger picture. At the moment we have a lot of little things to sort out and we are working on them.
‘This GAC Pindar team has done two regattas and won two regattas but we haven’t sailed perfectly by any stretch of the imagination. But we have always pulled it together when it’s counted as we did today.
‘We had some really tight matches where our backs were against the wall in Portugal. We were 2-2 in the quarter-final against Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team and behind for the line but we hung tough and managed to win that race and then we went on to win that regatta.
‘In Sweden we had a similar situation in the final against Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team. We were 2-2 and a long way behind off the line in the last race and again we came together when it really counted and were able to win that regatta as well.
‘For me that’s the hall mark of this team - when the heat comes on we have been able to pull it out of the fire and hopefully that will continue.’
Phil Robertson crosses ahead of Ian Williams on day 3 at the Monsoon Cup 2011. Kuala Terengannu, Malaysia. 25 November 2011.
|Björn Hansen ||7||4||7|
From the Skippers press conference:
Torvar Mirsky (The Wave Muscat). ‘This could have been our last regatta together, we are not sure what is going to happen next year and we are in a bit of a mess right now.’
William Tilller (Full Metal Jacket Racing). ‘ It’s incredible to be in the middle of the press conference, now it all starts again. We are going to be racing stress- free Kiwi style and we will give it our best shot.’
Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson Sailing Team). ‘We loved the sailing today. Very close – just two wins between first and eighth.’
Phil Robertson (Waka Racing), ‘We had four wins today - we are really getting faster.’
Peter Gilmour (Yanmar Racing). ‘Going into the quarters we expect to lift tomorrow.’
Bjorn Hansen (Mekonomen Sailing Team). ‘Fifth time in quarters in Terengganu, we have some unfinished business with Jesper.’
Jesper Radich (Adrian Lee & Partners). ‘Some of the best match racing I’ve ever seen.’
Ian Williams (Team GAC Pindar). ‘Feel honoured to have sailed against Torvar and keen to do it again.’
Francesco Bruni (Bruni Racing). ‘After I broached in fairly soft conditions my crew were calling me an learner driver.’
Overall World Match Racing Tour Standings – after seven stages:
1 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar – 106pts
2 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing – 100pts
3 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat – 99.8pts
4 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing – 78.8pts
5 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team – 75pts
6 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 74pts
7 Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team – 73.2pts
8 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners – 71.2pts
9 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 69.6pts
10 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 64.4pts
The seventh annual Monsoon Cup, the final event of the 2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour, is being sailed in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia from December 22-27 and will decide the 2011 ISAF Match Racing World Champion.
Monsoon Cup website www.monsooncup.com.my
World Match racing Tour website www.wmrt.com