Monday, 28 June 2010
Adam Minoprio. Portimao Portugal Match Cup 2010. World Match Racing Tour. Portimao, Portugal. 26 June 2010. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.
by David Swete
A dramatic turn of events today saw BlackMatch just scrape into the quarterfinals, before knocking the current World Tour leader Mathieu Richard out of the regatta, with a 3-1 victory that set us up with a spot in the final four.
With three remaining matches in the round robin today and the unenviable task of scoring at least 2 wins. We lost out to Torvar Mirsky but won our other matches against Richard and Bjorn Hansen, to snatch the last remaining quarterfinal berth.
Although we had been showing mixed form throughout the week, the top qualifiers did not choose to race us and we were left to take on Mathieu in the quarterfinals. We raced out to a 2 nil lead after two very strong races that saw us totally dominating the French team, however in the fading light and breeze they fought back to take the next race convincingly.
It was after this loss that we had a boat swap and the fun began. With the race committee severely pushed for time (as it was 8pm and the sun was setting), we were certain that they would call the series at 2-1. However this was not to be and they pushed on for a third match, not only this but the French team had lodged a protest against for our previous races.
Tom Powrie trimming for BlackMatch Racing. Portimao Portugal Match Cup 2010. World Match Racing Tour. Portimao, Portugal. 26 June 2010. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.
The accusation was that we had reversed our jib cars in order to get a better sheeting angle and therefore we were not sailing the boat how it was presented to us. The protest seemed ambiguous and perhaps clutching at straws but there was definitely a high level of tension on the water. By the time the next race got underway the sun was setting and it was clear that if the French managed to level the scores at 2 all, there would not be enough time for a decider and the results would go back to the round robin, this was not good news for us.
In the deciding race Mathieu absolutely nailed the start and we trailed off the line, the best we could do was try and limit the damage to keep in touch around the course. Approaching the final top mark in the dying evening sea-breeze, we trailed by 4 boat lengths and with a last roll of the dice we gybeset into what we thought was better pressure. The gamble paid off and by the finish line we were neck and neck. It wasn’t until the last gybe into the finish that we had clawed back a lead and managed to take a last gasp victory that sent us through to the semifinal.
Understandably Mathieu and his team were upset at the result and still went through with their protest. But after a hearing we were cleared of any wrong doing and qualified for our second semi final of 2010.
Nick Blackman on the bow for BlackMatch Racing. Portimao Portugal Match Cup 2010. World Match Racing Tour. Portimao, Portugal. 26 June 2010. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.
BlackMatch would like to thank their sponsors FedEx Express and Events Clothing/Line 7 New Zealand. We would also like to thank our new sponsor Steinlager Pure and Emirates Team New Zealand, as without their support we would not have this opportunity.
World Match Racing Tour