Saturday, 27 September 2008

BlackMatch Fights Back on Troia Portugal Match Cup Day 3

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.

BlackMatch Racing

Mirsky Racing Team report on Troia Portugal Match Cup Day Three

Mirsky racing team lead Seb Col, but with a penalty outstanding, only to lose out at the finish. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

by Kinley Fowler

The laziest day so far saw the wind fill in late in the afternoon, and the race committee pushed hard to get through as many flights as possible in order to keep the full format.

However only 4 flights were completed, and with 5 races left, the chance of holding the quarterfinals is slimming rapidly. We are sitting in 4th now after losing both matches today, and with one race left, things are getting tight to hold on to the top 4 spot.

We had two tough matches against Sebastian Col and Magnus Holmburg, and in the tricky tidal conditions, it wasn’t easy to jump into it after the whole day off. However, we were sailing well and if it weren’t for two unforced penalties upon entering we could have been singing a different tune.

We are still very confident in our speed and tactics at this event, and all we need to do is keep sailing how we have been sailing and we will be able to post a good result. With 7 teams still in contention for the top 4 spots, tomorrow’s racing is going to be tight.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Mirsky Racing Team

French Teams Still Dominate at Troia Portugal Match Cup

Damien Iehl is the third Frenchman in Portugal. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

by Dobbs Davis

Light air delayed racing until late afternoon, so teams raced into the darkness to complete four more flights.

Light fluky breeze and strong tides delayed the start of racing today in Day Three of Troia Portugal Match Cup, with the resumption of the Round Robin not commencing until mid-afternoon and extending right up to sunset. But once the late seabreeze did finally fill, it provided the opportunity for great match race action in all flights, with multiple lead changes, penalties, and early starts keeping the assembled shore side spectators on edge.

Since new teams rotate through the three pairs of SM40s in every flight, it took an accurate score sheet to track who was rising and who was falling through the ranks of the 12 teams entered for the event. However, once the dust settled, it became clear the French Match Racing teams led by Mathieu Richard on Team French Spirit and Sebastian Col on K-Challenge were continuing their dominance of the event, with Richard on a nearly undefeated record of 9 wins in 10 matches sailed, and Col on 7 wins in 9 matches sailed.

In fact, in the dying light of the last flight, these two engaged in a battle royal which may have been one of the most exciting of the series, and maybe pivotal in the inevitable tie-breaks that lie ahead on the path to the Semi-Finals.

It all started on the start, where Richard earned a penalty, but Col was over the start early in the strong current and had to return to the start. Normally this margin might be enough for the leader to extend the margin and do their penalty turn before finishing, but Col kept it close, gaining back ground on the long runs downwind against the current and constantly challenging Richard for the lead.

The two repeatedly locked horns in multiple luffing matches, with Col getting the lead but not without getting his own penalty to even the score. And when Richard closed the gap enough to have a go at Col once more, Col failed to keep clear, and earned yet another penalty, but never with enough time nor space to prevent Richard from getting to the finish line first.

Seb Col moved up to second place at the end of the day's racing, despite losing to compatriot Mathieu Richard. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

According to their coach Marc Bouet, these two are very tough competitors despite their mild demeanors on shore, so it didn’t surprise him that neither would give in throughout their close-fought match. “This was a very exciting match, and maybe we will see them again,” referring of course to the likelihood that these two will advance forward to the next stage.

Other teams that excelled today included Magnus Holmberg (SWE) and his Victory Challenge team, winning 4 of their 5 matches including a successful re-sail match from Flight 9 against Paolo Cian (ITA) and his Team Shosholoza. Holmberg’s now gone from being deep in a tie-break for 7th to tied in points with Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and his Mirsky Racing Team on six wins in 10 matches sailed.

Racing continued late at the Troia Portugal Match Cup on day three. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

With the long delay today and only two days remaining in the program, PRO Miguel Allen has asked teams to return to racing tomorrow morning at 0800hrs in order to complete the remaining 5 flights of the Round Robin.

Mathieu Richard (FRA),French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit 9 – 1
Sebastian Col (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge 7 – 2
Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Victory Challenge 6 – 4
Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team 6 – 4
Damien Iehl (FRA), French Match Racing Team 5 - 5
Paolo Cian (ITA), Team Shosholoza 4 – 3
Ian Williams (GBR), Team Pindar 4 – 4
Adam Minoprio (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 3 – 4
Alvaro Marinho (POR), 2 – 5
Manuel Weiller (ESP), 2 – 5
Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team Team 2 – 6
Nick Cherry (GBR), 1 – 8

World Match Racing Tour

Russell Coutts Praises New Louis Vuitton Pacific Series as a Classic

by Jane Eagleson

BMW ORACLE Racing's Russell Coutts has praised the new Louis Vuitton Pacific Series as an "Instant Classic", fulfilling an important need in the international sailing community.

- Louis Vuitton’s Yves Carcelle, Louis Vuitton Cup Founder Bruno Troublé and Emirates Team New Zealand’s Grant Dalton Succeed in Attracting Top Competitors to Auckland

–Series Will Bring Thrilling Competitive Races, Top Boats and the Best Sailors in the World Close to Spectators

–Coutts: “We Look Forward to Being Part of the Show” September 26, 2008 – Valencia, Spain

BMW ORACLE Racing today congratulated Louis Vuitton’s Yves Carcelle, Louis Vuitton Cup Founder Bruno Troublé and Team New Zealand’s Grant Dalton for “creating an instant classic that meets an important need in the sailing community,” by organizing an exciting and competitive format for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.

The series, to be held January 31 to February 14 in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, has already attracted the official participation of seven top America’s Cup class competitors as well as interest from as many as 16 others.

“There is a tremendous hunger in the sailing community for a multi-challenger regatta with world-class sailing teams competing under rules that are fair and promote real competition,” said Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing and two-time Louis Vuitton Cup-winner.

“Given the current regrettable situation with the America’s Cup, we are very pleased that Louis Vuitton and Team New Zealand have teamed up to present a terrific series of competitive races among the top boats and the best sailors. It will be a big boost for our sport and for the sailing community as a whole. We look forward to seeing tens of thousands of spectators in Auckland standing at the water’s edge and watching highly competitive races. We look forward to being part of the show.”

Three-time America’s Cup winner and BMW ORACLE Racing CEO Russell Coutts will skipper the BMW ORACLE Racing entry. The regatta will be held over three weekends beginning on January 31, 2009, with three races scheduled each day on a two-mile windward-leeward course until the final on February 14.

The regatta will be held in association with the New Zealand Government, Auckland Agencies, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, SKYCITY Entertainment Group and Emirates Team New Zealand.


Richard's Winning Roll Continues After Day Two at the Troia Portugal Match Cup

Nick Cherry (GBR), newcomer to the World Match Racing Tour. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

by Dobbs Davis

Mathieu Richard's winning streak continued after day two of the Portugal Match cup. Young Australian Mirsky also maintained his position as runner-up after 13 flights of racing.

After yet another picture-perfect day of match race sailing off the Troia resort venue, three French teams have emerged among the top four of the standings after 13 flights of racing at the seventh stage of the World Match RacingTour.

Sebastien Col (France) concentrates hard during racing. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

ISAF number one-ranked Mathieu Richard (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit continued their winning ways from yesterday, adding three more wins to his score card, and losing only once to team mate Damien Iehl (FRA), who lies in fourth. And another team mate, Sebastian Col (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, has had an even better day, winning five matches to earn a 6-1 score to lie in third among the field of twelve teams at Troia Portugal Match Cup.

The day’s racing started leisurely, with the westerly seabreeze filling in about midday to a perfect 8-10 knots before shifting around a bit as PRO Miguel Allen and his race management team did their best to adjust the courses. A strong ebb tidal flow cutting left to right across the course area also made for interesting tactics on both upwind and downwind legs, with long starboard tack beats and early gybes favoring those who could take and hold this position.

Spoiling the all-French sweep at the top is 22-year old Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and his Mirsky Racing Team, who has been sailing well on an impressive 6-2 record earned thus far, including a win against current Tour leader Ian Williams (GBR) and his Team Pindar. In this match, Mirsky benefited from a massively damaged spinnaker on Williams’ SM40, torn at its first hoist and thus slowing the Brits on both runs of their match.

Team Pindar racing in Portugal. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

“We just were not having a good day,” said Williams, who is also the reigning World Match Race Champion but had lost four matches, “but it was great to win a close one against Bjorn and our last one against Iehl.”

The match against Hansen (SWE) and his Alandia Sailing Team was one of the more exciting of the day, with Hansen and Williams trading the lead twice on the first two legs of the course. At the top mark Williams, carrying a penalty from the pre-start, managed to take and hold the right, and forced Hansen approaching on port tack to give way.

Ian Williams, focusing hard during racing. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

With both boats drifting up-tide away from the mark, Williams and Hansen both had to bear away and gybe towards the mark. Hansen thought he had gotten to the two-length zone first to be entitled to room at the mark, but Williams approaching on starboard tack persuaded the umpires otherwise, and Hansen’s blue flag was flown, thus erasing Williams’ outstanding penalty and bringing the two to even up on the final run to the finish. The tide favored starboard gybe, so Williams managed to stay just ahead to take the match.

A brief delay and course readjustment in the late afternoon allowed racing to continue in a new fresh westerly, with genoas traded for jibs in the last two flights. In these, Hansen managed to snap a losing streak by defeating Mirsky, but then Mirsky’s next win against Nick Cherry (GBR) helped him stay amongst the French in the top ranks.

The Victory Challenge crew at the Troia Portugal Match Cup. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

Match race action resumes tomorrow morning with the re-sail of the Paolo Cian (ITA) and Magnus Holmberg (SWE) match from Flight 9 before continuing into Flights 14 – 22 to complete the First Stage of the event.


Mathieu Richard (FRA),French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit 7 – 1
Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team 6 – 2
Sebastian Col (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge 5 – 1
Damien Iehl (FRA), French Match Racing Team 4 - 4
Paolo Cian (ITA), Team Shosholoza 4 – 2
Ian Williams (GBR), Team Pindar 3 – 4
Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team Team 2 – 4
Alvaro Marinho (POR), 2 – 3
Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Victory Challenge 2 – 3
Adam Minoprio (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 1 – 4
Manuel Weiller (ESP), 1 – 4
Nick Cherry (GBR), 1 – 6

World Match Racing Tour

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Sees Overwhelming Response

by Keith Taylor

Louis Vuitton confirmed today an overwhelming response to the international match racing regatta to be sailed in Auckland, New Zealand, in February next year with 23 teams spontaneously expressing interest and seven teams which have already registered and paid the entry fee. With eight berths available in the regatta, the entries are almost closed only one week after announcing the new event.

Among the seven confirmed entries are five former Louis Vuitton Cup competitors: host Emirates Team New Zealand, BMW Oracle Racing (USA), K-Challenge (FRA), Mascalzone Latino (ITA), and Shosholoza (RSA). An Italian team and one other team have also officially entered but will announce their participation at a later date.

“We are delighted to see such strong interest from the teams for this friendly event,” said Yves Carcelle, President of Louis Vuitton.

“With such a positive response, we are working on creative ideas to bring more teams to Auckland,” said Louis Vuitton’s Director Christine Belanger.

“Exactly 25 years ago on September 26, 1983, the yacht Australia II put an end to 132 years of American domination over the oldest trophy in sport, after winning the first-ever Louis Vuitton Cup,” said Bruno Troublé, founder of the Louis Vuitton Cup. “We are proud on the occasion of this anniversary to work on a new event which will bring the teams back on the water.

“Russell Coutts, the skipper of BMW Oracle confirmed to me today that he will come home to New Zealand to skipper his team’s yacht in the regatta.”

To be called the “Louis Vuitton Pacific Series”, the event is being held in association with the New Zealand Government, Emirates Team New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS), Auckland City, and Sky City Entertainment Group.

All the sailing teams that have participated in previous Louis Vuitton Cup regattas have been invited to compete in Auckland from February 1 – 15, 2009.

Three daily match races are planned on a two-mile windward-leeward course laid at the entrance to Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, between Rangitoto Island and the city foreshore. There will be a daily draw to decide which yacht competing teams will sail that day.

Day of Reflection for BlackMatch in Portugal

by David Swete

Thursday saw us involved in none of the racing here in Portugal with the remaining teams getting their round robins underway. It was a day for us to watch the action on the water, reflect on yesterday and prepare for our upcoming races tomorrow.

We are straight into it Friday with our opening match against match racing guru Magnus Holmberg from Sweden and this will be an especially important race due to Magnus also having early poor form.

When Thursday's racing got underway, conditions again were near perfect and it was the three French teams who showed the best form along with young Australian Torvar Mirsky. World #1 Mathieu Richard has shown his class to be one point clear of the trailing Australian team while Sebastian Col and Damien Iehl round out the top 4.

We are looking forward to tomorrow and are confident we can make the step up to be a threat in this regatta. We would like to again thank our sponsors FedEx Express and Line 7, we would also like to extend a big thank you to our yacht club the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

BlackMatch Racing

Mirsky Racing Team report on Troia Portugal Match Cup Day Two

by Kinley Fowler

The day’s racing started leisurely, with the westerly seabreeze filling in about midday to a perfect 8-10 knots which lasted until late in the evening, allowing the race committee to complete 7 more flights of the round robin. We dropped only one race, putting us on 7 wins and 2 losses, just one point off Matthiu Richard in first.

We only lost one race against Swedish Sailor of the year Bjorn Hansen in an intensive battle which saw 2 lead changes and 2 penalties. Unfortunately, both penalties were against us, firstly for hitting the top mark, and the second for gibing in Hansen’s water on the final run. We managed to bounce back however, and defeat the UK’s Nick Cherry as the wind strengthened to a shifty 15 knots as the sun began to sink.

We have three more races left of the round robin and are quite eager to add a few more wins to the tally as the possibility of scrapping the quarterfinals is looming. At the moment we are sitting in 2nd, however we have done more races than most, so anything could happen.

A Special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Mirsky Racing Team

Friday, 26 September 2008

Richard and Mirsky on a roll at Troia Portugal Match Cup

Mathieu Richard takes on local hero Alvaro Marinho. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

by Dobbs Davis

Mathieu Richard from the French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit, the number one ISAF ranked sailor in the world, continued his excellent form after winning the recent World Tour event in Switzerland with a storming day at the Troia Portugal Match Cup, winning four of his five matches on the opening day, Wednesday.

With many of the world’s best match racing stars here sailing the SM40s, the competition for the $125,000 prize money event has already proven fierce in the opening flights of the Round Robin phase.

Richard versus Mirsky on Day One at the Troia Match Cup in Portugal. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

Richard defeated Manual Weiller from Spain, then local hero Alvaro Marinho in a close match, Kiwi Adam Minoprio, and rising Aussie star Torvar Mirsky, finalist in Match Cup Sweden, who had his wings clipped by a masterful French display in the first flight of the day.

However, this seemed to only spur on the young antipodian, who went on to match Richard’s winning ways in the shifty 6-8 knot breeze, taking the next four matches. In his final race of the six man group, Mirsky was brilliant, shutting out Manual Weiller in the closing seconds before the start who then incurred a double penalty from the umpires in trying to recover his position – game over.

Mirsky was naturally delighted with his performance in tying Richard’s result and commented, “Today has been a great day. The wind is really good, the water is flat and the current makes for interesting racing. The conditions are perfect for sailing SM40s and it’s been a fun day”.

Racing started mid-afternoon after a misty, breathless morning, the wind gradually filling from the west into the mouth of the bay into which the Troia peninsular juts, south of Setubal near Lisbon. As a beautiful nature reserve, Troia provides a spectacular setting to the contest, its sandy beaches and lush greenery a huge draw for visitors, with a championship golf course and a new luxury hotel completing the scene.

The second group managed only one flight before both the wind and the light faded, with reigning World Match Racing Tour Champion and current leader, Ian Williams from the UK, winning the battle of the Brits, taking down newcomer Nick Cherry in his very first Tour race.

Frenchman Seb Col again showed his class having won the biggest event of the year in Korea, he defeated the hugely experienced Magnus Holmberg from Sweden in a spirited opening match. Meanwhile another America’s Cup veteran, Paolo Cian from Italy kicked off his challenge for the Troia Portugal Match Cup by beating Bjorn Hansen from Sweden, with a stunning sunset rounding off the day.

SM40 sailing off Troia, Portugal. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

Everyone is looking forward to tomorrow with the anticipation of some top class sailing, as this strong group moves through their flights, every match promising to be a classic, such as the first one – Col v Cian while Williams takes on Holmberg. Quite a day in store with racing planned to start mid-morning once the breeze builds.


1. Mathieu Richard (FRA),French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit 4 - 1
2. Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team 4 – 1
3. Damien Iehl (FRA), French Match Racing Team 3 - 2
4. Alvaro Marinho (POR), 2 - 3
5. Adam Minoprio (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 1 - 4
6. Manuel Weiller (ESP), 1-4
7. Ian Williams (GBR), Team Pindar 1 - 0
8. Paolo Cian (ITA), Team Shosholoza 1 – 0
9. Sebastian Col (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge 1 – 0
10. Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Victory Challenge 0 – 1
11. Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team Team 0 – 1
12. Nick Cherry (GBR), Cherry Racing 0 - 1

World Match Racing Tour

BlackMatch Report on Day One of the Portugal World Tour Event

Adam Minoprio leads Manuel Weiller on Day One of the Troia Match Cup. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

by David Swete

BlackMatch are currently competing in the Portugal Match World Tour event. Wednesday started off extremely slowly, with racing not getting underway until a steady sea breeze filled in around 2pm.

Once the sea breeze kicked in conditions were absolutely perfect for match racing. However, our start to the regatta was far from perfect, only managing 1 win from our 5 races. The format for the regatta allows for one full round robin with the top 8 teams progressing through to the quarterfinals. This means that after our slow start we will definitely have to step our game up Thursday.

Our losses Wednesday included tight matches against World #1 Mathieu Richard and Torvar Mirsky, but we also had a surprise loss to local talent Alvaro Marinho. We had a massive lead going into the final downwind against Marinho and after fully dominating the race, the wind unmercifully shut down late in the evening and the Portuguese team ghosted past us on the finish line to take the victory.

Thursday will see us sitting out the next 6 races as other teams take to the water, we are looking forward to taking in some of the action and improving on today to hopefully qualify for the top 8.

We would again like to thank our sponsors: FedEx Express and Ross Munro from Line 7. To the RNZYS and everyone else, thank you for your support.

BlackMatch Racing

Troia Portugal Match Cup - Mirsky Racing Team Report

Mirsky Racing Team at the Trois Match Cup, Portugal. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

by Kinley Fowler

You couldn’t ask for better conditions than those delivered to us on the first day of racing (24th September) in Portugal.

Flat waters and 12 knots of breeze settled in just after midday and stayed through until late in the evening. We finished the day on 4 wins from 5 races, and are looking to be in a fairly comfortable position for the Quarter Finals.

We started the day paired up against current world number 1 Mathieu Richard, and after being beaten off the line, we were forced to follow on his tail around the race track.

We then managed to step up our game, and go on to do to our opponents what Richard had done to us, and won the next four races consecutively.

After doing four regattas in a row, our team is starting to click, and it couldn’t come at a better time. The 2008 World Tour is coming to a close, with only one more event left before the final in Malaysia at the Monsoon Cup.

We had a really good feeling on the boat today, and hopefully we can continue the momentum on to get some much needed Tour points to finish the season off on a high.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Mirsky Racing Team

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

L'Equipe de France de Match Racing: Part One - The Trainer, Marc Bouët

Marc Bouët, trainer of the French Match Racing Team. Supplied image.

Marc Bouët, trainer of the very successful French Match Racing Team, answers some questions, put to him by Anne Hinton, about the set up and operation of L'Equipe de France de Match Racing (in translation).

THIS ARTICLE IS COPYRIGHT TO ANNE HINTON, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Anne Hinton's written permission must be obtained prior to any use of any of the material anywhere else. SAILRACEWIN must also be credited, as required by the Copyright Notice on this blog.

Marc Bouët skippered the French America's Cup boat, French Kiss, in Fremantle in 1987, and Ville de Paris in San Diego in 1992. He represented France in each of the Olympic Games from 1980 to 1996. Marc Bouët also won European and/or World Championships in three Olympic sailing classes, as well as the Half Ton Cup worlds. In match racing he won the Lymington Cup (in the UK) in 1990 and 1991, and the Kouros Cup in St Tropez in 1989.

AH: New Zealand has its 'Youth Training Scheme' at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Is there something like this in France (for youth sailors), or only l'Equipe de France de Match Racing for more advanced sailors?

MB: We have:
- about 10 training centres spread around our different coasts that each have fleets of boats (First Class 8, First Class 7.5, J80) and high level trainers.
- A French Championships for the under 25 year olds, with regional selections
- The best are then aided financially and are invited to the training sessions with the best French sailors.

AH: Why does l'Equipe de France de Match Racing exist?

MB: It is a political decision not to keep the term "Team of France" to the Olympic team. The last two America's Cup teams were able to use the label "Team of France, America's Cup", for example.

The Match Racing system and the America's Cup are perceived as one of the sports of the highest level by the Federation de France de Voile (French Sailing Federation).

AH: How do you decide who will be in the Team, and of how many people it will be comprised?

MB: It was decided to integrate our best skippers at the end of the last America's Cup, and that consists of those who were in the teams from France (being Bertrand Pacé and Philippe Presti).

The results of Mathieu Richard, Sébastien Col and Damien Iehl also justified their integration.

We feel we have rather too many skippers of a high level, but it is easier to manage a number that is too large, rather than the opposite.

AH: Where does the money for l'Equipe come from, and what does it cover?

MB: There is a two-fold source of funding:
- funding from the Ministry [of Health, Youth and Sports] like all the high level acivities in France
- private partnership with AREVA.

AH: What training do you do, exactly?

MB: First of all, it is a matter of work in the long term, so we have worked with everyone for many years.

There is training with two or three crews before each big event, and two or three gatherings per year.

The work concentrates on the analysis of situations in tactical plans and the rules of racing.

When training, communication between all the crews is very important: we all discuss tactics, rules, manoeuvring, communication when sailing, etc.

For example we had very good training sessions with Bertrand Pacé and Claire Leroy. Claire got very good input from Bertrand Pacé to help improve her skills and team.

AH: Do you work with everyone at the same time, or with each team individually?

MB: With at least 2 crews at a time. There are also analyses and reports for each crew.

AH: How do you (or the crews) decide in which events they will participate?

MB: Each crew organises its own planning according to the invitations at its disposal. Each crew is the organiser of its own project, we are only a facilitating structure for all areas of performance.

AH: Do you make a programme for each team for the season (training and events) + goals?

MB: We define aims for each crew:
- position in the ranking list at the end of the year
- World Champion
- Nations Cup
- European Championship

AH: Is there also a goal for l'Equipe de France de Match Racing as a whole for the season? [They beat each other at St Moritz Match Race and the ACI Match Race Cup...]

MB: The aims of the team are simple:
- win the World Tour
- win the Nations Cup (men and women)
- obtain the best ISAF ranking list classification possible

AH: How do you think that the crews are doing this year, in comparison with their goals?

MB: The results of Col and Richard are satisfactory.

Damien Iehl and Philippe Presti have had few invitations to the World Tour and so have few opportunities to demonstrate that they could also be serious candidates to win the World Tour.

Bertrand Pacé hasn't sailed much this year due to a lack of invitations, in particular to the World Tour.

We understand that there is a real problem in the sporting management of the invitations on the World Tour.

AH: Is Claire Leroy in the team? What are you doing to encourage other women to take up match racing for the Olympic Games?

MB: Claire Leroy isn't officially in the team, which is currently reserved for men. This must change next year with the advent of women's match racing to the Olympic Games.

She has considerably less financial support than the men. On the other hand she has access to the same technical supervision and participates in the training with the better men. She has learnt a lot thanks to sailing with the men.

AH: How will you train a group of women who may be new (or nearly new) to match racing, and where in France will you do this?

MB: This group will be integrated, without doubt, in the Olympic group, so in a different structure.

We have begun to work with the other teams that are progressing rapidly in the [ISAF] ranking list:

Julie Bossard
Mathilde Géron
Anne Claire Le Berre

All these crews are located in the west of France.

AH: There is no World Tour match race event in France, in spite of four crews in the top ten ISAF rankings, only 2 ISAF Grade One Match Race events (Marseille + Pornichet). Why is this?

MB: We dedicate the bulk of our means to aiding the crews to progress.

The financial level needed to organise a World Tour event is too high for our club organisers. It is possible for us to organise excellent Grade 1 events with modest budgets, but not more at the moment.

AH: To whom is your book: Les clés de la tactique : Régate et stratégie en 90 dessins explicatifs, by Marc Bouët and François Chevalier (The main points of tactics: racing and strategy in 90 explanatory drawings) addressed? Also, is it more difficult than the situations described in Comprendre les Cles des Regles de Course 30 Situations by Marc Bouët (Understanding the key rules of racing in 30 situations)?

Les clés de la tactique is dedicated to the explanation of the principle tactics to apply to race well. It is a book which can be of use to racers of different levels (including the highest standard).

The book about the rules is at a more simple level, aimed at trying to improve the knowledge of the rules of French-speaking sailors.

AH: What do you and former French Match Racers, Thierry Peponnet and Luc Pillot, do in the way of sailing yourselves nowadays?

MB: Thierry Peponnet is sailing or coaching a TP52. To my knowledge, Luc Pillot sails very little - occasionally on a Dragon.

I hardly ever sail now: some regattas in a Dragon or on big boats (once or twice a year).

AH: Thank you very much indeed for your time.

Marc Bouët's books (in French).

To Come: PART TWO - Mathieu Richard

Sunday, 21 September 2008

From the Archives: Steinlager Line 7 Cup 2002 QF with Rod Davis v. Magnus Holmberg

Rod and Magnus stare at each other during an aggressive pre-start. Image copyright Anne Hinton/

by Anne Hinton

The Steinlager Line 7 Cup on the Waitemata in Auckland in 2002 was loaded with top America's Cup match racers in both the qualifier series and the actual event. However, it was also notable for the fact that many of the teams had their minds on other things, in the lead-up to the Louis Vuitton Cup later in the year.

One match stood out from all the others at the event for determined aggressiveness. This was the first quarterfinal race between Rod Davis and Magnus Holmberg.

Rod Davis had taken the match to his opponent from the start. Magnus Holmberg had a penalty outstanding as both boats approached the finishing line. Magnus led Rod out to the left of the committee boat, but could not pin him there, outside the line.

(1) Magnus reaches the committee boat end of the line, overlapped with Rod. Image copyright Anne Hinton/

While Magnus was taking his penalty turn, Rod dived in between him and the committee boat towards the finish line.

(2) Rod then attempts to pass between the committee boat and Magnus, while Magnus starts to take his penalty turn. Image copyright Anne Hinton/

(3) Rod asks for more room to pass between the committee boat and Magnus than Magnus is giving him - with Magnus needing to keep clear of Rod as Magnus takes his penalty. Image copyright Anne Hinton/

However, Rod made contact with the committee boat whilst trying to pass between Magnus, who was taking his penalty, and the committee boat.

(4) Rod comes into contact with the committee boat. Image copyright Anne Hinton/

Rod then luffed and Magnus did not keep clear.

(5) Rod then luffs and Magnus does not keep sufficiently well clear. Image copyright Anne Hinton/

(6) The umpires (Nev Wittey driving) assess the situation. Image copyright Anne Hinton/

Both boats were awarded penalties by the umpires.

(7) The umpires penalise both boats. Image copyright Anne Hinton/

Rod crossed the finishing line first to win the race.

(8) Rod crosses the finishing line to win the race as Magnus completes his penalty turn. Image copyright Anne Hinton/

At the press conference after the race, Chief Umpire John Doerr commented that in any other sport play stops when the whistle blows. However, the action keeps going in match racing, and the umpires did a good job under very difficult circumstances.

Rod Davis went on to take the second quarterfinal race, to win through to the semis, 2-0.

Sadly on the last day the wind did not oblige, so a count-back determined that the event winner was Peter Holmberg, with Jes Gram Hansen second and Paolo Cian third.

All images above are scanned.

Mirsky Racing Team Report on Day Four at the ACI Match Race Cup in Croatia

by Kinley Fowler

The Bura wind kicked in as strong as promised, but the race committee still managed to fit in the full format to complete the event. We had an intense finals series, but our French competitors outshone us, and we ended the regatta in 4th place. Congratulations to Paolo Cian and his team for taking out the title for the second year running.

After qualifying for the semi-finals in 2nd place, it was a case of the young gun against the old fox as we faced up against French match racing veteran Bertrand Pacé, and the hunt was on. Despite winning the first race and showing promise in the next two heated matches, Pacé was cunning enough and managed to take out the series 2-1, putting us up against Sébastien Col in the petit final.

Once again, we won the first race convincingly, and the next two matches saw a number of lead changes and penalties. However the feisty Frenchman managed to get the better of the tricky conditions and won the last race to get 3rd place behind Pacé and Paolo Cian.

This regatta has been an excellent warm-up for the upcoming World Tour event in Troia, Portugal which is the third last Tour event of this year. This is the second time we have sailed as a full team and hopefully we will be able to go a few better next week and climb into the top 3 on the leader board.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Mirsky Racing Team

Paolo Cian Wins the 2008 ACI Match Race Cup in Croatia

Paolo Cian, winner of the 2008 ACI Match Race Cup in Croatia. Image copyright Ante Verzotti.

by Irena Bistričić

Italian Paolo Cian repeated his last year's success from the 21st ACI Match Race Cup. In brief: experience outplayed youth.

Paolo Cian and Bertrand Pacé were uncertain about entering the play-offs. When they managed to reach the semi-finals they demonstrated their value. On the other hand, two of the unsurpassed sailors from the First Round Robin, the Frenchman Sébastien Col and the Australian Torvar Mirsky, did not make it to the top because they were defeated in the semifinals. Cian won against Col with the result 2:0 and Pacé against Mirsky 2:1.

Then, the final decisive matches for the first place began. Two experienced skippers confronted, and the Italian Paolo Cian resulted as a winner, while Pacé took the second place.

In the matches for the third place Col managed to overcome Mirsky with the result 2:1. Actually, he wouldn’t have won if it hadn’t been for Mirsky’s penalty.

In the lower part of the table, Minoprio from New Zealand is fifth, Kliba is sixth with eight victories. Bašić is next, with half point less because of a penalty. The Russian Musikhin sailed well on the last day of the event and he scored four victories, while Barbieri and Tarnacki were the tail enders.

It is important to mention that the last day was marked by a northeasterly wind of 30 knots.

The 22nd ACI Match Race Cup handed the awards to the winners on Split’s Riva, and the celebration of ACI’s 25th birthday continued in Diocletian’s palace.

Paolo Cian and his crew from Team Shosholoza celebrate winning the ACI Match Race Cup 2008. Image copyright Ante Verzotti.

Comments from the semi-finalists and finalists

Sébastien Col

Q: You were able to pick the opponent and you've picked Cian the defending champion?

A: Yes, I still think it was a good decision. We didn’t make it to the finals, but we sailed good and won a lot of races.

Q: Please tell us how do you feel and how different sailor are you now in comparison to the last time you've been here?

A: Yes, I came to Croatia almost 10 years ago for the first time. Since then we have practiced a lot and we have improved a lot in match racing. Therefore, we have more experience now than 10 years ago. And now we are among top five in the world.

Bertrand Pacé

Q: Was the start Cian's advantage?

A: Yes, his first start was very good, he pushed us. In the second we were even but we didn’t make the right calls. If we hadn't made mistakes, we would have done better. Paolo used the wind better than we did and we also had some troubles with the boat. The best man won. Congratulations to Paolo.

Torvar Mirsky

Q: You finished and took the fourth place?

A: We sailed well, we really gave everything but the French team has beaten us today in the semifinals and the petit-finals. Congratulations to them. We thought that Pacé was a weaker opponent, but we were wrong. The experience pulled him through.

Q: Will you come next year?

A: We’ll definitely come back next year, we have some unfinished business. Congratulations to Paolo Cian.

Paolo Cian

Q: This is your second victory here in Split?

A: It was not easy, winning two times in a row. The wind was very strong and my team did an incredible job.

Q: Col picked you to be his opponent in the semifinals?

A: Yes, but it's always difficult to pick the opponent. We did some mistakes in the round robin but we were sailing very well, I was confident in our victory. In the finals, the conditions were very difficult, but we did a couple of very nice starts and had the control of the match.

Other Skipper Comments on the last day of Racing

Dario Kliba, one of the Croatian skippers at the event. Image copyright Ante Verzotti.

Dario Kliba (CRO)
Too much wind! They even raised a flag after the second match signalling that we cannot sail with the spinnakers any more. After that the matches lost their charm. It was a very hard day for all of us, especially for those who entered the semifinals. Hats off to them!

Adam Minoprio (NZL)
It was very windy. The racing was really exciting because of the shifty wind conditions - very tricky but same for everyone. We lost couple of matches, and now we're out of the regatta. I must confess we are a bit disappointed... Those who made it to the semifinals really did a good job, and I think it is going to be hard to win.

Sergey Musikhin (RUS)
Wind in Split today was almost the same as the winds that blow in Russia. The regatta was a first-class event and we are very glad for being a part of it. We would also like to come again next year, if you invite us.

Paolo Cian and Team Shosholoza on the last day of racing in Split. Image copyright Ante Verzotti.


Flight 1
M1 Sebastien Col v Torvar Mirsky 0-1
M2 Bertrand Pace v Paolo Cian 0-1

Flight 2
M1 Torvar Mirsky v Sebastien Col 0-1
M2 Paolo Cian v Bertrand Pace 1-0

Flight 3
M1 Sebastien Col v Torvar Mirsky 1-0

Final - summary
Paolo Cian v Bertrand Pace 2-0

Petit-Final - summary
Sebastien Col v Torvar Mirsky 2-1


Flight 1
M1 Paolo Cian v Sebastien Col 1-0
M2 Bertrand Pace v Torvar Mirsky 0-1

Flight 2
M1 Sebastien Col v Paolo Cian 0-1
M2 Torvar Mirsky v Bertrand Pace 0-1

Flight 3
M2 Bertrand Pace v Torvar Mirsky 1-0

Semifinals - summary
Paolo Cian v Sebastien Col 2-0
Bertrand Pace v Torvar Mirsky 2-1

Final Overall Results (with Round Robin points - the four highest point scorers progressed to the semi-finals)

1. Paolo Cian (ITA) 12pts
2. Bertrand Pacé (FRA) 13pts
3. Sébastien Col (FRA) 16pts
4. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) 14pts
5. Adam Minoprio (NZL) 11pts
6. Dario Kliba (CRO) 8pts
7. Tomislav Bašić (CRO) 7.5pts
8. Sergey Musikhin (RUS) 4pts
9. Frane Barbieri (CRO) 2pts
10. Przemek Tarnacki (POL) 2pts

ACI Match Race Cup

BlackMatch Report on the Final Day at the ACI Match Race Cup

Good advertisement space for the sponsors at the ACI Match Race Cup in Croatia! Image copyright Ante Verzotti.

by David Swete

A very fresh offshore breeze was in force today and the race committee did an excellent job, managing to complete the second round robin, semi finals and finals. We definitely stepped our game up and got through the second round robin with only two losses, managing victories over Sébastien Col, Bertrand Pacé and Paolo Cian, but we were left rueing our poor form early on in the regatta and failed to progress through to the semi-finals, missing out by one race.

With the wind often gusting up over 25 knots, the race committee were forced to race us with a reef in the main and no spinnaker for the last two races. In our last must-win race of the day against Torvar Mirsky, the breeze was really up and the Perth team showed excellent form in these conditions to destroy our hopes of a semi-final berth. We trailed off the start line but clawed our way back into the race, only to receive a penalty for tacking too close to the young Australians. On the final upwind we gained the lead momentarily at the top mark but they rounded inside us and, with our outstanding penalty, it was game over.

The final was raced between defending Champion Paolo Cian and Match Racing legend Bertrand Pacé, in a battle between two fiery skippers who were eager win after a long day of racing. Pacé's trimmer had injured himself in the round robin so BlackMatch's Trimmer, Tom Powrie was called in and adapted very well to win through to the final. Unfortunately for the French team, even with an expert Kiwi trimmer onboard, Pacé lost the final 2-0 and Cian was crowned the 2008 ACI Match Champion.

BlackMatch would like to congratulate Paolo and his Shosholoza crew on a magnificent regatta. We would also like to thank our sponsors FedEx Express and Line 7 who have stuck by us as we feel it is a great privilege to have the support of such world renowned companies.

BlackMatch Racing

BlackMatch Report on Day Three of the ACI Match Race Cup in Croatia

by David Swete

In a very uneventful day, racing today was limited to a single race due to a lack of breeze. With a thick layer of cloud cover preventing the land from heating up enough to generate a sea breeze, all teams were held ashore until 1600 hours when a light onshore wind piped in which only allowed for one flight of races to be completed.

We raced Przemek Tarnacki from Poland and in a one side affair we lead from start to finish. This win has kept us in the hunt for a semi final berth whilst Betrand Pace lost to Paulo Cian in his match today to only be one win ahead of us, meaning we need to keep on winning and have a few results go our way to progress through.

Tomorrow is the final day of the regatta and the race committee will be hard pressed to get through the entire scheduled programme with 5 races in the second round robin still to be completed, along with semi finals and finals.

Tomorrow we are hoping to have weather conditions that are a little more conducive to match racing and will allow us to get in enough races to give us a chance of making it through to the later stages of the regatta. Although our early form may have let us down we are gaining confidence here in Split and hope to be given the chance the complete all of the racing without it being dictated by the weather as it was today.

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.

BlackMatch Racing