by David Swete (after the penultimate day of racing)
After an amazing morning yesterday for the team it was only a brief celebration on finding out we had won the World Title, before heading back out to the racecourse to take on Peter Gilmour in the semi final. In a pulsating affair which saw us stage an amazing comeback in race three with the scores locked at 1-1, we took out the semi final 3-1 and cemented our spot in the 2009 Monsoon Cup final. Ben Ainslie won his semi final match up against Sebastian Col in a very close battle to seal his spot in the final and has been looking impressive all week so with it all still do do here, we are keen to top off a great year with a victory at the Monsoon Cup.
After fully controlling Gilly in the first match by forcing a red flag penalty on him in the pre-start and then sailing well to extend throughout the race and take the victory, he went one better in race two, forcing two penalties on us in the pre-start and totally dominating the match. Race 3 again saw us out gunned in the pre start, Peter did a good job of stalling us at the committee boat end of the start line and we drifted onto the boat, very close to snagging the anchor chain on our keel. Dave and Dan had to fend the boat off and by then not only had the Australian sailed away to a comfortable lead, but we had also incurred an early penalty.
Now the scene was set for an incredible comeback and as we chipped away at Gilmours lead, we were slowly making inroads in the tricky conditions. Gybe sets at the top mark to gain a little tide relief and picking the right bottom mark to round were allowing us to get back in the game and by the final downwind we were hot on his heals, abeit with a penalty to our name. On the final gybe to the finish we went for the roll, the Yanmar Racing team luffed us in a defensive move but it was too late and we rolled over his bow to take the lead. We were very close to the finish line, still with a penalty outstanding so our only option was to slow down and try to force one back on him before we finished. Tom and Dan (whos jobs are usually to make the boat go fast), did a great job of slowing the boat down and litterally right on the finish line Peter and his team made a fatal mistake, crashing into the back of us which offset our penalty and handed us the win.
The third race went all our way and in a press conference afterwards, Gilly stated that we 'Punched his lights out' in the deciding match, totally dominating the start and winning the side we wanted to get an unasailable lead. We now have an exciting opportunity to get the double and it would be great to finish the year with a win over Ben Ainslie and his formidable Team Origin.
BlackMatch would like to thank their sponsor Fedex Express and a very special thank you to David Ross for coming to Terengganu to support us this week. We would also like to make a special mention to Ross Munro for all of his incrediable support throughout the years, his help in getting us started on the tour and getting the boys looking like pros has been absolutely invaluable. Emirates Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadrons support has also been incredible and a massive thank you has to go out to all our Mums and Dads and Friends back home.
World Match Racing Tour