Saturday, 6 March 2010

Blackmatch keep hopes alive for a semi-final berth in Omega Cup

by David Swete

Day 3 of the Omega Cup again saw very testing conditions for the race committee, a massive tidal flow and huge wind shifts made for some interesting racing that often saw the advantage shift from one team to another. We had a mixed day with 3 wins and 3 losses. However, going into the final day we are tied for second position, still needing two good performances Saturday to seal a semi-final berth.

We had another great win today over Dean Barker and his Emirates Team New Zealand crew, also gaining victories over Sebastian Col and Chirs Dickson. However a terrible loss to Ben Ainslie where we squandered a significant lead and losses to Karol Jablonski and Betrand Pacé, made for a not so satisfying day.

In our race against Dean, Adam did a fantastic job of controlling the start and we held the advantage off the start line. It was a tricky first beat and nearing the top mark we tacked on layline to the top mark, with Dean storming in on the starboard 'right of way' tack. As the boats converged we got a nice left hand windshift and looked to be crossing. However, the Emirates Team New Zealand boys did a good job of convincing the umpires that we in fact could not cross clear in front and we were handed a red flag penalty turn, to be taken immediately.

On completion of our penalty we trailed by 3 boat lengths and had some serious work to do. Slowly but surely we made inroads and by the next top mark we only trailed by a boat length, so it was on for young and old going into the final downwind. We gybeset into what we thought was better inside pressure and fortunately for us we got some nice breeze that allowed us to roll over Dean and his boys, to take a nerve racking win.

All three of our losses today came against teams showing great form this week and they were all losses where we surrendered our lead after doing a great job in the start. Although today saw some of the trickiest conditions we have ever sailed in, Ben Ainslie and his TeamOrigin crew showed their class and remain unbeaten in the second round robin. If we are to push on and beat these guys tomorrow we are going to have to step our game up on our tactics around the course, but we learnt a few lessons today and are looking forward to the challenge ahead.

After a great evening last night where we invited our friends, family and sponsors to join us in a celebration of our 2009 World Match Racing Tour victory, BlackMatch has a few special mentions to make. As always we would like to thank our sponsor FedEx Express, our yacht club the Royal New Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand, but we would also like to thank Lion Nathan who supplied the Steinlager beers for the evening and New World Birkenhead who through Hancocks Wine and Spirits, supplied all of the wine. It was an awesome evening and without the help of these companies it would not have been possible.

Scoreboard at end of Day 3

Ben Ainslie 13 wins
Karol Jablonski 9
Adam Minoprio 9
Bertrand Pacé 8
Torvar Mirsky 8
Dean Barker 8
Magnus Holmberg 6
Francesco Bruni 6
Sébastien Col 5
Chris Dickson 4

BlackMatch Racing

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