Friday, 14 May 2010

WMRT: Future Talent Phil Robertson with WAKA Racing Wins Korea Match Cup Qualifier

Robertson Secures Entry to ISAF World Match Racing Tour 2010 Korea Match Cup

Phil Robertson and Waka Racing win the Korea Match Cup qualifier. Image copyright Korea Match Cup.

by Audrey Lakai

The Korea Match Cup Qualifier for the ISAF World Match Racing Tour Korea Match Cup held in Gyeonggi, South Korea has produced a young and upcoming racing personality for the sports fans to follow. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing won the latest qualifier and is now in a bid to secure entries to as many of the 10 Stages of the 2010 Tour circuit as possible through qualifying Grade One events. The Tour is a professional series and competition is tough to gain an entry into any of the global events.

Twenty three year old Robertson is the fresh face on the rise in the international match racing circuit and has decided to select his crew from rival dinghy sailors whom he has raced against since he was just 10 years old. In an interview with the Tour after winning the Korea Match Cup Qualifier, Robertson who trains on home waters in New Zealand against rival Laurie Jury said, “they are a great group of guys and we have fun together”.

Robertson went perfectly through the initial Round Robin in South Korea with a solid 10 wins out of 11 races, Olli – Pekka Lumijärvi from Finland was the only competitor to beat him in one match. Robertson went on to be top on the leader board for the Korea Match Cup Qualifier with his WAKA Racing Team and puts his success down to ‘great team work’.

Korea Match Cup qualifiers racing. Image copyright Korea Match Cup.

The main focus for Robertson, who has developed his racing skills through Optimist and 420 class events, will be match racing for the next three years, Robertson ran through his 2010 plans. “We will compete in all the Grade One events we can and hope to race in 6 Tour events during 2010”.

Currently Robertson has won an entry to compete at Korea Match Cup and the Argo Group Gold Cup so he has another four events he must qualify for to meet his 2010 aim. The team will also be spending quality time in the gym this year to increase their overall body weight. This is essential when competing on the larger match race yachts.

To make sure he experiences the top level ISAF World Match Racing Tour competition before Korea Match Cup in June, Robertson has decided to crew for Ian Ainslie (RSA) Team Proximo at Match Race Germany. Robertson will be a competitor to his core WAKA Racing crew in Langenargen where the remaining four members will be competing with match race legend Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge. This will be a prized learning week with Holmberg, the crew will be learning from a double winner of the ISAF World Match Racing Tour and a helm who was previously ranked number one in the world at match racing.

Magnus is known as one of the most competitive sailors in the match racing scene so the crews will be pushed to their racing limits. They will all share common ground with early years spent in dinghy classes, Holmberg then went on to represent Sweden three times in the Olympic Games as well as being involved in two America’s Cup campaigns. It will be a testing situation for Robertson in Germany, he has a huge insight into his crew’s minds and can use this to his competitive advantage if there is close racing produced against Ainslie and Holmberg.

Dong Young Kim, Event Promoter Korea Match Cup. Image copyright Korea Match Cup.

After the prize giving at Gyeonggi, Dong Young Kim, Event Promoter of the Korea Match Cup explained the importance of this qualifier event to select the wild card entries for the main World Match Racing Tour event, “the Korea Match Cup Qualifier provides an excellent competition where the winner not only achieves regatta victory but is also signed to enter the highest elite level event racing the World Match Racing Tour Card Holders. This is a real accolade for the upcoming star to reach in the match racing world”.

Robertson is set for a very active 2010 racing programme under his WAKA Racing team name, originating from the native New Zealand Maori language meaning war canoe, and is backed by sponsor Tax Management New Zealand.

New Zealand will continue to inspire a wealth of hot ISAF World Match Racing Tour contenders and is backed up by a famous marine heritage including the likes of Sir Peter Blake, Robertson’s all time racing legend.

Skipper List - Stage 2 - Match Race Germany
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Gill Global Team
Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Italia
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
Ian Williams (GBR) Sail Bahrain
Ian Ainslie (RSA) Team Proximo
Mads Ebler (DEN) Ebler Matchracing
Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge
Jesper Radich (DEN) Radich Racing Team
Kathrin Kadelback (GER) EWE Sailing Team

2010 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings
(After Stage 1 of 10)

1. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 25 Points
2. Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN 20 Points
3. Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra 15 Points
4. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Italia 12 Points
5. Sebastian Col (FRA) ALL 4 ONE 10 Points
6. Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 8 Points
7. Philippe Presti (FRA) 6 Points
8. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 4 Points

2010 Tour Card Holders:
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Global Team (Gill Global Team for Match Race Germany)
Bertrand Pace (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Ian Williams (GBR) Sail Bahrain

About the ISAF World Match Racing Tour:

The World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) is the leading professional sailing series featuring 10 World Championship events across the globe, sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with “Special Event” status.

The World Tour awards over US$1.5million in prize money with points awarded at each event culminating in the crowning of the “ISAF Match Racing World Champion”. In addition, an incentive to compete in the world’s premier sailing series just got bigger. A US$250,000 overall prize pool for the top nine teams with a $50,000 bonus for the outright winner of next year’s World Match Racing Tour is now on offer.

Events utilise the same “match race” format used in the America’s Cup with racing taking place in identically supplied racing yachts which places a focuses on team work and skill. Racing takes place close to the shore for the general public to follow the races as virtual on-the-water stadiums.

Media and television highlights coverage reaches over 2.1 billion households in excess of 183 countries around the world.

ISAF World Match Racing Tour Calendar 2010

Match Race France 6 - 11 April Marseille, France
Match Race Germany 19 – 24 May Langenargen, Germany
Korea Match Cup 8 – 13 June Gyeonggi, South Korea
Portimão Portugal Match Cup 22 – 27 June Portimão, Portugal
Match Cup Sweden 5 – 11 July Marstrand, Sweden
St Moritz Match Race 31 Aug – 5 Sept St Moritz, Switzerland
Danish Open 8 – 12 Sept Bornholm, Denmark
Vietnam Match Cup 21 – 26 Sept Nha Trang Bay, Vietnam
Argo Group Gold Cup 4 – 10 Oct Hamilton, Bermuda
Monsoon Cup 30 Nov – 5 Dec Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Note from SailRaceWin: Waka Racing's own report from the finals of this event preceded this official press release, and can be viewed here

Korea Match Cup
World Match Racing Tour