Sunday, 31 August 2008
Close racing between BlackMatch and Peter Wibroe's team at the Danish Open 2008. Image copyright Per Heegaard.
from David Swete, Flemming Vitus and SailRaceWin
BlackMatch report after Day 2 - In another day of shifty trying conditions here in Frederikshavn, we had an average day of 2 wins-3 losses but still remain in the hunt for that elusive semi-final berth with an overall record of 4 wins 4 losses.
With no teams guaranteed a berth in the semi-finals yet, perhaps world #1 Mathieu Richard and world #2 Ian Williams look the best bet to go through, with only 2 and 3 losses respectively. For the remaining teams it looks like the magical number to proceed through will be 7 wins, however there will be a host of teams on 7 wins and it is looking like it will come down to a 'count back' situation where it depends on who has beaten who to break the tie.
Our wins today came against last year's runner up Peter Wibroe, and Andrew Arbuzov of Russia. Peter was a major scalp as he is one of the teams looking to finish on 7 wins. Our losses today came against Swede Johnny Berntsson and we had two very close losses to another Swede Magnus Holmberg and the current World Tour leader Ian Williams.
In our loss against Ian Williams we led him the whole way around the course after an excellent start, but the cunning Brit sailed a very good tactical last upwind, picking up a good wind shift on the left hand side of the course to take a narrow lead going into the final downwind and take a close win.
As we are on 4 wins and 4 losses with three races remaining, every race tomorrow is a must win and we are also relying on some favours from other teams who we need to take one more win off Johnny Berntsson as we lost to him today and he is also looking to get to 7 wins.
On Day 3 in the round robin we are racing former world #1 Sebastian Col, recent runner up in Match Cup Sweden Torvar Mirsky and local talent Mads Ebler. If we can secure victories against all of these competitors and Johnny loses to one of them, we will be guaranteed a berth in the final 4, but it will be tight.
A special thank you to our sponsors, FedEx Express and Ross Munro from Line 7, with their ongoing support we have able to promote BlackMatch to #8 in the world and be over here competing with the worlds best. To the RNZYS and everyone else thank you for your support.
Update after completion of the Round Robin on Day 3
A count-back decided the fourth semi-final berth, after BlackMatch Racing beat Mirsky and Ebler, but lost to Col. They are now in the 7th/8th place sail-off (best of five races) against Magnus Holmberg (SWE - Victory Challenge).
The best-of-five semi-finals are between Ian Williams (GBR) and Johnnie Berntsson (SWE), and Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and Sebastien Col (FRA).
The Danes were very disappointed not to have a representative in the semi-finals, after an all-Danish final in 2007. However, Peter Wibroe is in the best-of-five sail-off for 5th and 6th place with Mathieu Richard on Sunday.
Magnus Holmberg and the Victory Challenge crew at the Danish Open 2008. Image copyright Per Heegaard.
In the round robin, BlackMatch had a very close race with Holmberg, leading out of the start and halfway up the first beat. However, Holmberg and his crew are very familiar with the DS 37 Match Racer boat and managed to get out of phase with Minoprio and the BlackMatch crew. A favourable windshift then saw Holmberg take the lead. Despite BlackMatch challenging all the way, Holmberg managed to finish 4 seconds ahead in that race.
Saturday saw a change to warmer southerly winds for the competitors. The first race in the 7th/8th place sail-off saw Holmberg ahead at the start gun, but unable to tack as Minoprio had him pinned. BlackMatch Racing were too far back, so received dirty air from the Victory Challenge crew and had to tack off up the first beat. Minoprio gained better pressure with the split and went into a narrow lead. However, coming together again, Minoprio was unable to cross Holmberg, whose lee bow tack forced Minoprio to tack off again. When they came together again, Minprio went hunting. However, Holmberg was able to gain the inside berth and lead around the windward mark.
On the first downwind, Minoprio covered Holmberg closely for the first half of the leg, but then gybed away into his own air. When they converged to round the bottom mark, Holmberg had gained a few metres. Initially the advantage appeared to be with Holmberg on the second upwind leg, as he was lifted higher towards the mark than Minoprio. The match was still very close and when they came together, Minoprio again forced Holmberg to tack, but then had to sail in Holmberg's dirty air to the top mark.
A better rounding of the second windward mark by the BlackMatch team (thanks, in part to Mirsky, in another match, affecting Holmberg's rounding), saw them with a very close cover on Holmberg downwind. Minoprio gybed off trying to hot the angle up, with Holmberg covering. However, Holmberg shepperded the BlackMatch team out to the side of the course. When they gybed back, Holmberg took things to the bounds of proper course, heading approximately parallel to the finishing line. Minoprio escaped, gybing behind Holmberg, to a heading just outside the finishing line. Holmberg delayed his gybe until he was sure of crossing the finishing line directly.
The finish was even closer than the first race race between the pair, during the round robin. Minoprio squeezed around the committee boat as Holmberg crossed the line just 3 seconds ahead.
In the first semi-final races, between Williams and Berntsson, and Mirsky and Col, respectively, there were distant wins for Williams and Mirsky.
Round Robin results (skipper - number of wins/losses):
1. Ian Williams 8/3
2. Johnie Berntson 7/4
3. Sebastian Col 7/4
4. Torvar Mirsky 6/5
5. Mathieu Richard 6/5
6. Peter Wibroe 6/5
7. Magnus Holmberg 6/5
8. Adam Minoprio 6/5
9. Jesper Radich 5/6
10. Mads Ebler 4/7
11. Björn Hansen 3/8
12. Andrey Arbuzov 2/9
Danish Open 2008
World Match Racing Tour