Monday, 21 July 2008
Close incident between Minoprio and Monnin during the finals, described in text below. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann (www.go4image.com)
from Adam Minoprio
Today was the final day of racing here in Poland and it saw us taking on the World #16 Eric Monnin, in a best of 5 final series to see who would be the 2008 Sopot Match Champion. It was a very eventful day and our only loss in the final came in dramatic style when we snapped our mast on our entry to the third race. We eventually took out the final 3-1 providing the large crowd that had gathered on the end of Europe's longest wharf with some extremely exciting racing.
Our first match was definitely the closest and it saw the lead change various times. Monnin had the narrowest of advantages off the start line but we fought back hard up the first beat to lead around the first top mark by half a boat length. The Swiss team had an excellent spinnaker hoist and managed to roll around us to windward but we defended well by luffing them hard, we sailed them out to the left hand side of the course and were in complete control until our gybe back to the bottom mark went bad when our spinnaker sheet got caught around the end of our boom. We broached when Eric realised we were in trouble and he gybed back at us to luff us hard, we couldn't keep clear and were handed a penalty by the umpires.
We recovered well though and were still in touch by the bottom mark, in fact we were so close that when Eric tried to tack and cross us he couldn't quite manage it received a penalty which exonerated us. We sailed an excellent final upwind and had a 3 boat length lead at the top mark but again the Swiss team had a good spinnaker hoist and brought wind pressure up from behind to again roll us to windward. This time though we were equal to the task and sailed them out to the left hand side of the course to gybe back to the finish line and take a very hard earned victory in a tough race.
Mast breaking on the BlackMatch - Emirates Team New Zealand boat on entry into the third race. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann (www.go4image.com)
Unfortunately for us perhaps the spectacle of the day was our mast breaking on entry into the third race while we were 2 nil up and on match point. As black clouds rolled in the breeze picked up to 25 knots and as we bore away to enter in the gusty conditions we looked up in time to see our rig snap and go over the bow of the boat. As we were already into a start sequence there was nothing we could do and the win went to Monnin.
Disbelief from the crew as they set about clearing the broken mast. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann (www.go4image.com)
A new boat was needed for the final race and we managed to totally dominate the Swiss team to win by half a leg, in doing so we were crowned the 2008 Toyota Sopot Match Champions.
From Adam, Dave, Tom and Nick we would like to send a big thank you to all of our friends and family back home, it was great to come away with our first grade 1 victory here in Poland and we appreciate all of the support that we have received from everyone.
BlackMatch would like to again thank our sponsors: FedEx Express and Ross Munro from Line 7. Their ongoing support is helping make this opportunity possible for the BlackMatch boys. To the RNZYS and everyone else, thank you for your support.
2008 Toyota Soport Match Race