'HIKING REALLY HARD!'
At the last moments a surprise competitor joined the matchrace Thailand event held off Royal Varuna Yacht Club and added to the strength of an already strong field which includes the European teams who are number 24 and 26 on the match race world ranking.
On the one day warm-up event before the Open Nationals scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, the quality of the teams was astounding. The latest entry was Swede Bjorn Hansen who is the current number two on the ISAF world Matchrace rankings. If this had been tennis, it would have been the equivalent of Roger Federer joining a regional tournament.
The conditions on the day was perfect, with brisk breeze and steep waves, which made the racing spectacular in the bright sunshine.
Racing was held in two groups of five teams, followed by the final and petite final races. There were mumbling among the competitors that this must be one of the toughest grade 5 events ever, given the format and the tough competition.
The huge surprise of group one was that Team Korea skippered by Gunwoo Park (number 900 on the world ranking) were unbeaten in several matches, and then somehow managed to beat Team Sweden, skippered by Bjorn Hansen, and crossed the finish line with a good margin in front of the high ranking Swede.
Sergey Musikhin (and team we assume) against team Hong Kong - Florent Herson
In the second group, the results were more even, with three teams all getting three wins of four possible. This left the umpires with a bit of head scratching, before they declared the local Team EM Thailand from RVYC skippered by Morten Jakobsen (WR number 126) as the winner of the tie, and having Team Musikhin (Russia, WR number 24) in second place. This seemed fair to both teams, in particular since the Thai team won the match when they met each other.
Team EM Thailand against newcomers Team France - Florent Herson
This meant that – for the first time ever – the final of an international Matchrace Thailand event would be fought out between all Asian teams – Team Korea and Team EM Thailand. In the end the Final became a bit of an anticlimax – Team Korea won the pre-start, and on a breezy and wavy run the Thai team managed to perform a spectacular broach, and that was that; Team Korea could finish the race and win the event comfortably, while the Thai team were still counted team-members, and checking lims and lems. The Thai team later ensured that the steering on the boat they were sailing at the time was fixed before the start of the main event.
In the petite final, Bjorn Hansen won first the prestart battle, and then the race over Team Musikin (Russia), but the surprise of the day was without doubt the strong performance of the Asian teams. All 10 participating teams are now looking forward to a fresh start Saturday Morning, when the Thailand Open Nationals Starts.
Singapore vs Hong Kong - Florent Herson
by Apple Asawawatanaporn
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9:31 AM Sat 2 Mar 2013GMT
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