Thursday, 2 July 2009

WMRT: Six Teams Still in the Hunt

Gilmour leads downwind at Match Cup Sweden. Image copyright Dan Ljungsvik.

Battle for the final two places in the quarter final is still on

by Tour Media

The warm and sunny weather continued here in Marstrand, which brought spectators out in force today to watch the repechage round robin at Match Cup Sweden. As the crowd lounged in swim suits on the rocks overlooking the race area, 8 teams fought hard to determine who would make it to the next stage, the Quarter Final round, where eight will be competing for their share of the 1,000,000 SEK total prize purse in this fifth stage of the World Match Racing Tour.

With only two quarter final spots left the eight teams were focused on securing points towards their place in the next round. Racing ended today with four of the seven flight repechage completed. Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar, Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team and Peter Wibroe (DEN) Wibroe Racing Team all ended the day with three wins.

Ian Williams was happy with his day “It’s our 4th year here and it takes time to get used to the peculiarities of the racing area but we think we’re getting a grip on things. We love the boats and at this event you really need to work hard on sailing the boat right."

Johnie Berntsson finished the day with a close victory over his countryman Mattias Rahm “It was close all the way with Mattias and on the final run we managed to close up on him with some great trimming from the team and a little luck with the breeze rolling in from behind. I could see Mattias getting edgy and when he turned into the gybe we mirrored his course and made sure we were in a position so that he couldn’t luff us. All the odds were stacked in our favour and we managed to roll him.”

For Sebastien Col things are looking a little better than in the preceding Tour events but he still feels on the back foot. “We are finding it harder than last year. We’re not capitalising on the opportunities to win matches and we’re feeling down in defeat and finding it hard to re-group and come back. It’s hard to pin point what is wrong, it’s just a little bit here and a little bit there. We hope that this is the bottom of the performance curve and we can build up from here and get better.”

Peter Wibroe received a late invite to Match Cup Sweden so has had less preparation time that some of the other teams. “I am satisfied with how we are going. We know the boats well and our boat handling and tactics have been good. We love being here having followed the event for many years from back home in Denmark. The venue is just perfect. Tomorrow will be a really tough day as 6 teams could still get through. It will probably be light in the morning when we race but we’re comfortable with light and shifty. It is all still to play for.”

On two wins apiece are reining champion Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing and Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch. Unable to secure any points for the day were Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Team Onico and Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Joe Fly Match Racing.

Alongside the Tour event this week Match Cup Sweden is also playing host to a women’s match race event. The women took to the water this morning with Claire Leroy (FRA) and local favourite Anna Kjellberg (SWE) leading the pack of eight entries. Both women won all three of their matches today and are looking forward to more racing tomorrow.

Clare Leroy is the defending champion here and also the current women’s world champion. “This year the goal is the World Championship and this event is a great indicator of who is going to be the best. We have done a lot of practice in Sweden and Denmark so that we can know the boats. We have improved our speed and are getting better at getting the best out of the boat. We feel we are more of a match against the Danes and Swede’s.”

Anna Kjellberg was the surprise performer at this event last year but with more experience under her belt she is here to prove that she can be one of the best. “I feel more nervous here at the press conference than out there on the water. We have been sailing the DS37 a lot and are very comfortable in the boat. We’ve been changing crews a lot over the last year and now I have a great team that has prepared a lot which has really helped. Match Cup Sweden is our preparation for the World Championship in Lysekil and we’re working hard to figure out what everyone else is doing right and wrong. Doing well here would give us a great psychological boost.”

Racing continues at 9am Thursday with the remaining three flights of the repechage round followed by the last four flights of the women’s round.

Repechage Results from Day 3
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 3-1
Peter Wibroe (DEN) Wibroe Racing Team 3-1
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge 3-1
Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 3-1
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team 2-2
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch 2-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Team Onico 0-4
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Joe Fly Match Racing 0-4

Match Cup Sweden Women
Lucy MacGregor (GBR) 1-2
Nicky Souter (AUS) 2-1
Claire Leroy (FRA) 3-0
Katie Spithill (AUS) 1-2
Anna Kjellberg (SWE) 3-0
Sally Barkow (USA) 0-3
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN) 1-2
Linda Rahm (SWE) 1-2

World Match Racing Tour

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