Saturday, 27 September 2008
BlackMatch gybe towards Magnus Holmberg on starboard. Image copyright Wander Roberto.
by David Swete
Light shifty winds and a massive tidal flow prevented racing from going ahead on schedule this morning and it was not until the land heated up sufficiently in the late afternoon that a light sea breeze built allowing the start of racing.
The action was limited to four flights of racing due to the late start. However, some very exciting matches unfolded and racing continued until sunset.
We were only involved in two races and managed to secure two very important wins over Swedish Skippers Magnus Holmberg and Bjorn Hansen.
Our match against match racing legend and America's Cup skipper Magnus Holmberg, was an extremely close affair and a very thrilling race. After a heated pre-start which saw numerous protests from the vocal Scandinavian crew, we came off the start line even but they had received a penalty after failing to keep clear when we luffed them in an attacking move.
By the top mark they held a slim lead and instead of hoisting their spinnaker on the first downwind, they cunningly waited for us in an attempt to force us to infringe and offset their penalty. We were more then equal to the task and hung back far enough to avoid being caught in their trap. They conceded and continued downwind to hold a slim lead.
Minoprio versus Holmberg upwind, while Weiller leads Cherry downwind in Portugal. Image copyright Wander Roberto.
The next upwind leg saw the Swedes make significant gains and they continued around the top mark where they did their 270 degree penalty turn on the downwind course to maintain their lead.
The penalty turn had, however, killed all of their speed and our momentum gave us the inside line going into the final downwind side by side. We picked up a good breeze while closing in on the finish line and held our lead to give Magnus his only loss of the day.
With the top eight going through to the quarterfinals our wins today were extremely important. However, with the chance of quarterfinals being canned due to the delays we have had over the previous three days, our next 4 races are looking like must wins in a bid to qualify directly for the semis.
We are looking forward to the challenge ahead and are confident we can keep building here in Portugal to be competitive in our final four races of the round robin, which includes World Champion Ian Williams.
We would again like to say a special thank you to 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.