Monday, 8 September 2008
Adam Minoprio and BlackMatch Racing sail against Tour leader Ian Williams in the semi-finals of the 2008 St Moritz Match Race, beneath Badrutt's Palace Hotel. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/www.myimage.ch
by David Swete
Sunday held so much promise but the weather put an early dampener on things with the lightest, shiftiest and coldest day of the entire week, that even saw snow falling on the surrounding hills.
We were held ashore for 3 hours until a very light and uncharacteristic northerly came through. With pressure on the race committee to get through the tight programme they shortened the semi-finals to a best of 3 series, and we were sent out to take on the current world champion.
In our first race against Ian, Adam absolutely nailed the start and we had a significant lead off the start line. We held our lead throughout the race in the tricky conditions until 100m from the finish line when the wind shut down on us and the British team managed to sail around us in a breeze of their own, setting them up for match point.
Team Pindar (Ian Williams) defends against BlackMatch Racing (Adam Minoprio) in their semi-final in St Moritz. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/www.myimage.ch
In the next race Ian had the advantage off the start line and held a good lead for most of the race. Again in the shifty conditions it was almost beneficial to be behind on the final downwind. This was illustrated when we brought pressure up from behind and made significant inroads to reduce the deficit to half a boat length. However, luck was on the Brits' side and they got our puff just in time to defend their lead and win the semi-final 2-0.
World #1 Mathieu Richard took his semi-final 2-0 over fellow countryman Philippe Presti, which meant we were to race Philippe for 3rd place.
Conditions were even more fickle in the race-off for 3rd and we took the first race after overtaking the Frenchman, again while trailing and on the downwind leg.
BlackMatch lead Philippe Presti in the petit-final at St Moritz. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/www.myimage.ch
The second match was taking convincingly by the French team after they got too big an advantage off the start line and sailed in their own breeze for the first leg of the race, gaining an a lead we could not come back from.
In the third and deciding race we didn't even have enough wind to set the sails for the majority of the race. After an even start we slowly drifted towards the top mark, not even knowing what direction the wind was coming from at times in the freezing rain.
In a race that dragged on forever, we drifted around the final top mark with a 4 boat length lead. However, the breeze yet again built from behind on the run to the finish and we were once again left stranded with no way of defending our lead, handing the French team the victory.
It was a disappointing way to end a great week of racing for us, but we are extremely happy with our 4th place here in St Moritz and realise that all of our competitors have invaluable years of experience over us. Our 4th place will help us with our ISAF World Ranking, also with our World Tour points and we are looking forward to the challenge of our next World Tour Event in Portugal at the end of the month.
Mathieu Richard, winner of the 'King of the Mountain' Trophy at the St Moritz Match Race 2008. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/www.myimage.ch
BlackMatch would like to send big congratulations to Mathieu Richard and his team after they defeated Ian Williams convincingly in the final and were crowned the 2008 Kings of the Mountain in St Moritz.
From Adam, Dave, Tom and Nick we would again like to acknowledge our long-term sponsors FedEx Express and Ross Munro from Line 7. Their ongoing support is making it possible for us to be in Europe on our long term quest to win the World Match Racing Tour. To the RNZYS and everyone else, thank you for your support.