Thursday, 29 July 2010

Internationaux de France de Match Racing 2010: 9th Edition of the Trophée Manu Minard

J80 match racing off Pornichet, France, venue for the Trophée Manu Minard 2010. Supplied image.

by SailRaceWin

The 9th edition of the French national match racing championships, the Trophée Manu Minard, gets underway 29th July at Pornichet, Brittany, France, with two Kiwi teams competing against top French sailors, Russian, Portugese, Italian and Monacan teams. The ISAF Grade One event is a qualifier for the 2011 World Match Racing Tour's event in Marseille, on the Mediterranean coast of France. The APCC Voile Sportive, the club in the metropolitan area Nantes Saint-Nazaire, is the event organiser, and racing will be held in J80s.

The 2009 winner, Seb Col, of the French/German ALL4ONE team, will not be back to defend his title. However, France's top ranked match racer, Mathieu Richard, currently 3rd in ISAF's open match race rankings, and World Match Racing Tour leader 2010, heads the entry list. Other top French racers include Damien Iehl (10th on ISAF match race ranking list), Pierre-Antoine Morvan (13th) and Philippe Presti (14th). Synergy youth team's Eugeniy Neugodnikov (RUS), currently ranked 8th for match racing by ISAF, is also taking part.

Close match racing in the 2009 edition of the Trophée Manu Minard, won by Seb Col. Supplied image.

The New Zealand teams competing are Black Sheep Racing, skippered by Reuben Corbett, and Waka Racing, skippered by Phil Robertson. Black Sheep Racing have been storming up the ranking list, winning Grade 3 events in Estonia and France (La Rochelle), a Grade 1 in Russia and narrowly losing out on a quarter-final spot in their first appearance on the World Match Racing Tour at Stena Match Cup Sweden earlier this month. Corbett defeated both Iehl and Neugodnikov on his way to victory in Russia, and is currently ranked 25th by ISAF. He has been training for this event against Pierre-Antoine Morvan in Lorient.

Robertson has been on the international match race circuit a little longer than Corbett, and is currently ranked 21st by ISAF. He recently lost out to Neugodnikov in the finals of a hard fought Grade 3 event in Slovenia. The Waka Racing crew have been sailing with Magnus Holmberg, who defeated Corbett in the deciding match as to who went through to the quarterfinals of Stena Match Cup Sweden this year. They went through the regatta in Sweden to finish third.

The full list of teams from eight nations who are competing are:
Mathieu Richard – FRA (Winner in 2004)
Damien Iehl – FRA
Eugeniy Neugodnikov – RUS
Philippe Presti – FRA
Pierre-Antoine Morvan – FRA
Mads Ebler – DEN
Alvaro Marinho – POR
Philip Robertson – NZL
Simone Ferrarese – ITA
Reuben Corbett – NZL
Michele Perris – MON

The race director is former top French match racer Luc Pillot. The umpire team will be led this year by Marianne Middelthon (NOR), assisted by Jean-Pierre Cordonnier (FRA) and will be composed of French umpires Christophe Schenfeigel, Gérard Bosse (Umpire International and America's Cup umpire), Marc Bouet (French match racing coach), and, from abroad, Bill O’Hara (IRL), Antonio Otero (ESP), Pekka Nuutilainen (FIN) and Zvonko Hocevar (SLO).

The winner of the 2010 Internationaux de France de Match Racing will be awarded the Trophée Manu Minard, on conclusion of the competition on Sunday, 1st August, CET.

Internationaux de France de Match Racing/Trophée Manu Minard