Saturday, 28 March 2009

Congressional Cup: BlackMatch Go Unbeaten on Day 3

Action at the Congressional Cup on Day 3. Image copyright Rich Roberts.

by David Swete

A miraculous come from behind victory in our first race today against Ben Ainslie pretty much set the scene for the rest of the day, as we went on to win 5 straight matches to put us in a strong position for the semi-finals. Again the sun was out and racing got away in very light and shifty condition. Today we did a great job using the wind shifts to our advantage while others struggled, including Ainslie who had a shocking day, adding no wins to his scorecard.

In our match against Ben, we had an even start however the British team ground out a narrow lead by the first top mark. We did a great job keeping the game close but it wasn't until the final upwind when some good calls by tactician Rod Davis, got us back into the fray and we were close enough to attack on the final downwind. Shadowing the triple gold medalist with our spinnaker we made significant inroads and managed to roll over top of them close to the finish line. After trailing for the entire race we now found ourselves in front and although they had one last throw of the dice near the finish, we managed to defend our lead and take a much needed victory.

We had very convincing wins in our next three matches against Steffan Lindberg, Brian Angel and Phillipe Presti, however, in our last match of the day against Sebastian Col, we had an absolute nail biter, again managing to secure a narrow win. We smashed the world number 1 off the start line, forcing a penalty on him while also gaining a 3 boat length advantage. However, the talented French team came back and actually passed us by the next bottom mark. They seemed to have amazing boat speed on us in this race and although we kept it close they managed to extend enough to complete their penalty but it was now 'neck and neck' going into the final downwind.

A fierce gybing duel ensued down the final run with both teams gaining the advantage at various stages. We held a slim lead approaching the finish when Sebastian went for the roll in a last ditch effort, they were so close to rolling us on the finish line however we defended by luffing hard and held on for the narrowest of wins.

Our run of consecutive wins today has put us in good stead to reach the semi finals, however, there are 3 people standing in our way of which one of them we have to beat. Tomorrow we race Hutchinson, Berntsson and Bruni and one win should be enough to guarantee us a place in the final four. Ben Ainslie's bad day means he needs us to lose all three of our races while Mathieu Richard who to went unbeaten today is also in a good position along with Francesco Bruni of Italy.

It will be interesting to see how tomorrow pans out as it is extremely tight for the remaining semi final berths.

BlackMatch Racing
Congressional Cup

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