Tuesday, 13 October 2009

WMRT: Second Place again for BlackMatch at the Argo Group Gold Cup

Adam Minoprio, skipper and helmsman of BlackMatch Racing: runners-up in Bermuda, but first on the World Match Racing Tour leaderboard and ranked #1 by ISAF for match racing. Image copyright Charles Anderson/Bermuda Gold Cup.

by Tom Powrie

A tough day for BlackMatch saw us once again relegated to second place in the Argo Group Gold Cup. Ben Ainslie and his Team Origin crew sailed a fantastic regatta only losing four races and beating us today 3-1.

After Ainslie dominated us in the first two matches, at match point we knew we had to keep things close in the pre-start and on the first beat to stand any chance of getting a race off them. With a starboard entry giving us a small advantage in the pre-start, we managed to force Team Origin past the pin end of the start line and gain a small lead at the start gun. However, a well timed luff by Ainslie saw us gain a penalty shortly after the gun but we managed to hold onto our slim lead until the final top mark.

At this point we knew we had to either extend our lead enough to complete our penalty at the finish line, or slow down and wait for the Brits and hope they would give us an opportunity to either gain a penalty back on them or sail them past the pin end of the finish line where we could complete our penalty and still hold an advantage. We quickly decided our best option was to wait for them, so we collapsed our spinnaker and let them close the gap. After they were overlapped inside us both teams gybed for the pin end of the finish line but as we were leeward boat we had right of way and sailed them past the pin end, and into the spectator fleet.

It was crucial to ensure we were close enough to them so that they couldn’t gybe around our bow, but far enough back so that if they tacked back to the finish line, we could complete our tack without hitting their stern. Adam did a great job to judge this perfectly so that after both teams dropped their chutes and tacked backed towards the finish line our bow just cleared their stern and after returning to a downwind course and completing our penalty turn we sailed back to the finish to take a much needed victory.

Unfortunately the final race progressed as the first two had, with the Origin boys reading the shifty wind conditions perfectly and sailing a great race to take a much deserved victory. However looking forward, our second place sees us regain the number one spot on the World Match Racing Tour, and command a 12 point lead over our Australian rivals Mirsky Racing Team. So now we are looking forward to the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia in the first week of December, where we endeavour to take the World Title.

As always thanks to our sponsors FedEx, and support from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand. It was great to have a few supporters from FedEx out on the water here in Bermuda, fed and watered by Mark Watson from Argo Group on his beautiful yacht, as well as support from Renaissance Re.

BlackMatch Racing
World Match Racing Tour

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