Monday, 30 November 2009
WAKA Racing versus TeamOrigin at the 2009 Sunseeker Australia Cup. Supplied image.
by Garth Ellingham
The Waka Racing team has been extremely busy over the last 3 weeks. Firstly was the Asian Match Racing Championship in Malaysia where we won with extraordinary style by not dropping a race. This also doubled up as the qualifier for the Monsoon Cup which is the last World Match Racing Tour event of the year. The Day after the qualifier we found ourselves on a Kerr 32 racing up the coast of Malaysia in a series of 3 coastal races and 3 windward leeward races. This went on for the next 7 days and we managed to pull off another win taking out the IRC 3 division with a score of five 1st places and a 5th.
The past 5 days we have been in Perth for the much anticipated return of the Australia Cup. As one of the most prestigious regattas to win in the past, with a world class entry list and seven of the ten teams also competing next week, we were really excited to get under way. This was going to be a superb event and also doubled up as a fantastic warm up for the big regatta.
The round robin didn’t start as we planned with us going down in our first 2 races on day 1. We managed to recover well the next day by beating Torvar Mirsky, world number 2 and local favourite, in our first match. The rest of the day went well winning 5 races from 7 races beating Francesco Bruni and Mathieu Richard in the process.
Phil Robertson and Francesco Bruni in a dial up at the Sunseeker Australia Cup. Supplied image.
Qualifying for the quarter finals in 5th place we were fortunate enough to be paired up against triple gold medallist, Ben Ainslie. We came out firing. Trailing round the top mark in race 1, we managed to catch up, put a penalty on him and gain buoy room around at the bottom mark. Holding a small lead for the rest of the race we crossed the line side by side but with a penalty outstanding on his boat. A good first win for the team.
The second race was going just as well. Holding a small advantage off the line we found ourselves going into battle again upwind. Flags flying and boats within millimetres of each other for the first half of the race saw a penalty go on both boats, cancelling each other out. We lead around the bottom mark and extended up wind to have a 3 length lead at the last mark. The breeze didn’t play out too nice for us here and he managed to pick up a little bit more pressure from behind and pass us to win by half a boat length. Score now 1-1.
With the quarter finals first to win 3 we were still in with a decent chance. We sailed our hearts out and were at a level we have been striving to hit all year. Unfortunately going down in the next two races to Ainslie but not by more than two boat lengths and not without a huge fight. The final score 3-1. We were very happy with the way we sailed and the way we improved immensely throughout the regatta. A great effort by the team and a huge confidence boost for next week.
We are now flying back up to Malaysia Monday morning for the start of the Monsoon Cup. This will defiantly be our last event for the year and a regatta we hope to excel at.
Waka Racing would like to thank Ian from Tax Management NZ for helping the team get up here to compete, along with Stefan of Widex, Pacific Sports Community Trust, Ross Munro of Line 7, RNZYS, Simon from Frontend Design and the WAKA racing supporters club for all their help and generosity.
Sunseeker Australia Cup