Friday, 4 June 2010
Top Pedigree Skippers Head to South Korea for the WMRT Stage 3
Traditional opening for the Korea Match Cup. Image copyright Chris Cameron/www.chriscameron.co.nz
by Cailah Leask
The world’s most elite match racers will converge on the developing region of Gyeonggi in South Korea next week for Korea Match Cup, Stage 3 of the ISAF World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). Twelve helms will take to the tidal flats of Jeongok and Jebu lying on the West coast to fight for further valuable World Match Racing Tour score points. This is the first of the 2010 tour events to be staged outside of Europe and will provide a new developed Asian marine arena for the highly competitive teams.
As well as the skippers ranked 1st and 2nd in the overall standings - Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team and Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing – there will be the addition of Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra, back from the LV Trophy racing, as well as 2009 Korea Match Cup winner Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Italia. New names to the race circuit picture selected via wild card entries include; twenty three year old Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing winner of the recent Asian Match Racing Championship and Korean national Gunwoo Park (KOR) who only started match racing during November 2009.
Spectators get a close up view at the Korea Match Cup, © Subzero Images.
The pedigree of skippers and teams attending Stage 3 of the World Match Racing Tour is excellent, they will all be hoping for more wind than the lake sailing at Match Race Germany last month. The teams are excited to race KM36 yachts which have been especially commissioned for Korea Match Cup where a light and manoeuvrable model is required for close ‘boat on boat’ handling.
Bruni comes straight from racing in Europe without a rest period in between and Minoprio has used his free time since winning Match Race Germany to race in the mainsheet position at yet another match racing event. It will be a daunting time for the wild cards and qualifiers who will need to elevate themselves up to the supreme level of skill associated with the Tour card holders.
“It’s great to come back to the Tour series again after the LV Trophy, I feel the more racing a skipper can schedule into their calendar then the better equipped they will be to perform at international events. Match racing comes down to practice, the more you tune your mind into winning and becoming a seamless team, then the more certain you will be to do well and improve as a group”, said Bruni.
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing is also heading to Asia, when asked to comment on the favourite to win Korea Match Cup he looked at the statistics, “All teams are treated equally on the Tour, going into the round robin at Stage 3 we have an 8% chance of winning, as we build through to the quarter-finals and semi-finals those chances increase to 12% and 25% respectively. As the remaining teams hit the finals they have a 50% chance of winning however, this analysis is affected by each team’s performance and skill set”.
With the change in time clocks for the majority of the entered teams and a totally alternative set of race course elements, Korea may provide some surprise results early on in the regatta.
Park, the only Korean skipper entered, is excited to meet and race against the world’s crème de la crème of match racing. “I am really proud to be able to race against America’s Cup level teams, I hope I can learn from their skills and perhaps win some races against the less experienced helms”.
A crowd of 30,000 enjoy a free concert celebrating the opening of the Korea Match Cup, © Subzero Images.
Korea Match Cup racing will start on June 9th, culminating in a closing ceremony and a Stage 3 champion on June 13th. All eyes will be on any notable changes to the WMRT standings after Stage 3.
Korea Match Cup 2010 Skipper List:
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing
Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Italia
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Gill Global Team
Bertrand Pace (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team
Gunwoo Park (KOR)
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
Korea Match Cup
World Match Racing Tour