Thursday, 4 September 2008

St Moritz Match Race 2008: Day One - BlackMatch Lead Round Robin B

Paolo Cian sparring with Philippe Presti on St Moritzersee. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

by Kirsten Bollinger

St. Moritz Match Race got under way this morning (Wednesday, 3rd September) and, while the lake looked like glass, as promised the wind came through in time for the scheduled start. With eight of the top ten ISAF ranked teams competing, competition is sure to be fierce as the teams battle out for their share in the $135 000 prize pool.

The format for this regatta sees the teams split into two groups for the Round Robins. In Round Robin A, Eric Monnin (SUI), Phillipe Presti (FRA), Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Mathieu Richard (FRA), Sebastien Col (FRA) and Michael Hestbaek (DEN) race each other with the top three teams proceeding to the quarter-finals.

The remaining three teams will compete in a repechage Round Robin with the bottom three teams from Round Robin B to decide the final two quarter final places. Round Robin B consists of Ian Williams (GBR), Paolo Cian (ITA), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Peter Wibroe (DEN) and Jes Gram Hansen (DEN).

A fleet race started the day off with the teams from Group A all fighting for a top spot, knowing that if it came to a count-back it would be the fleet race result that would help decide the outcome. Michael Hestbaek took out 1st place in the fleet race, while regatta favourite Mathieu Richard was disqualified for rounding the wrong top mark.

Match racing at the top of the world on St Moritzersee, Switzerland. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

The last match of Round Robin A saw Eric Monnin’s team of Switzerland come face to face with Michael Hestbeak’s Team Hestbaek of Denmark. Hestbaek was leading down the final run and decided his only option to win was to try and offset the penalty he was carrying. While Hestbaek waited, Monnin attempted to gybe onto starboard but could not keep clear and plowed into the side of Team Hestbaek, receiving a penalty and offsetting Hestbaek's penalty.

Top Swiss match racer, Eric Monnin, gets involved in penalties on Day One in St Moritz. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

Monnin then attempted to luff Hestbaek, who gybed onto port and caused another collision. Both teams received penalties, Hestbaek for not keeping clear, and Monnin for taking Hestbaek past proper course.

However, that wasn’t the end of the penalties with the umpires giving a twin penalty in a further incident before the finish. With the penalties offset, Monnin went on to win the race, but not before interrupting Sebastien Col and Mathieu Richard, who were seconds away from starting their race.

Round Robin A finished with Col in the lead with 4 wins. The battle for the remaining two places saw a 3-way tie between Richard, B Hansen and Monnin. “We got really lucky with the count-back” said Monnin, “since in the fleet race we were last coming up to the final mark we went around both marks just in case. Neither Hansen nor Richard went round the right mark so they got disqualified, which means we go through to the quarterfinals in 2nd”.

The third quarterfinalist from Round Robin A is Mathieu Richard’s French Match Racing Team, who won their head to head with Hansen.

The afternoon saw another fleet race and then Round Robin B got underway with a standout performance from Adam Minoprio’s BlackMatch Racing, who go into tomorrow undefeated with 3 wins.

In a close match between Minoprio and Jes Gram Hansen, the bottom mark rounding saw some exciting racing. Minoprio led to the mark and dropped his spinnaker. “Hansen then gybed and didn’t keep clear of us so he got a penalty, then when he dropped his spinnaker he sailed over it which caused even more problems for him”, explained Minoprio after the race.

At the completion of the day's racing, Peter Wibroe is on two wins while the remaining teams from Round Robin B are all on one win.

At this stage, no teams from Round Robin B have secured a quarter-final spot, so sailors and spectators alike will just have to wait for racing to commence in the morning.

Gilles Favennec trims the spinnaker for Round Robin A winner Sebastien Col at the St Moritz Match Race 2008. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

Results from Day One

ROUND ROBIN A FLEET RACE - used for count-back positions in match race results
1st Micheal Hestbaek
2nd Philippe Presti
3rd Sebastien Col
4th Eric Monnin
5th Bjorn Hansen
6th Mathieu Richard DSQ

(Winners in Bold)

M1 Eric Monnin v Philippe Presti
M2 Bjorn Hansen v Mathieu Richard
M3 Sebastien Col v Michael Hestbaek

M1 Eric Monnin v Bjorn Hansen
M2 Philippe Presti v Sebastien Col
M3 Mathieu Richard v Michael Mestbaek

M1 Bjorn Hansen v Sebastien Col
M2 Michael Hestbaek v Philippe Presti
M3 Mathieu Richard v Eric Monnin

M1 Michael Hestbaek v Bjorn Hansen
M2 Eric Monnin v Sebastien Col
M3 Philippe Presti v Mathieu Richard

M1 Michael Hestbaek v Eric Monnin
M2 Philippe Presti v Bjorn Hansen
M3 Sebastien Col v Mathieu Richard

Round Robin A Results (wins-losses)

1. Sebastien Col (FRA) 4-1
2. Eric Monnin (SUI) 3-2
3. Mathieu Richard (FRA) 3-2
4. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) 3-2
5. Michael Hestbaek (DEN) 2-3
6. Philippe Presti (FRA) 1-4

Top three progress to quarterfinals; bottom three to repechage round robin

(Winners in Bold)

M1 Peter Wibroe v Adam Minoprio
M2 Torvar Mirsky v Ian Williams
M3 Paolo Cian v Jes Gram Hansen

M1 Peter Wibroe v Torvar Mirsky
M2 Adam Minoprio v Paolo Cian
M3 Ian Williams v Jes Gram Hansen

M1 Torvar Mirsky v Paolo Cian
M2 Jes Gram Hansen v Adam Minoprio
M3 Ian Williams v Peter Wibroe

St Moritz Match Race
World Match Racing Tour

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