Saturday, 9 October 2010

WMRT: BlackMatch qualify for Quarterfinals in extremely controversial circumstances

Shutting Ian Williams out at the committee boat. Image copyright Subzero Images/WMRT.

by David Swete

In an action packed repechage series that saw Ben Ainslie, Ian Williams and Ourselves finish on an unbreakable tie, a tie break was used to decide who would be the two teams to progress. In a day packed with extreme controversy, an ‘on the water sail off’ was originally offered to both Ian Williams and Ben Ainslie to break the deadlock, however both British Teams were against this, with Ian Williams believing the sail-off was unfair, so they lodged a protest against the race committee. After turning down the opportunity for the sail off and deciding to take it to the protest room, the Brit put his case forward and in a massive turnaround it was decided that there was an oversight in the original decision to have a ‘sail off’ in the first place and it was to be us and Ben that would move forward.

To The Room... Image copyright Subzero Images/WMRT.

The decision was based on the fact Ben had beaten us in both his round robin match and repechage match, while Williams had only beaten him once in the repechage, so Ben was the clear winner. While we had only raced Ian once and beaten him in the repechage, so we were to go through in second position. Originally it was thought that another tiebreak system may be used which would see us miss out, but no-one including Ian William’s, thought that protesting the ‘sail off’ decision would see the former World Champion miss out. It was an incredible scenario with tensions running high and although we are ecstatic to have made it through to the quarterfinals, we were not entirely happy with the circumstances surrounding it.

The debate begins. Image copyright Subzero Images/WMRT.

Despite all the controversies off the water there was some awesome action on the water. Our start against Ian Williams was an absolute blinder, as we managed to shut him out at the boat end of the start line and force a double penalty on him when he tried to barge his way between us and the committee boat. Our advantage off the start line giving us an unassailable lead. Our race against Ben Ainslie saw us again nail the start but an uncharacteristic mistake up the first beat when we went to the wrong top mark cost us this race, an amateur mistake at this level which we will not be making again this week.

The look on Ian Williams' face says it all. Image copyright Subzero Images/WMRT.

In a twist of fate, tomorrow sees us up against Ben Ainslie in our quarterfinal match up. With the Top qualifiers reluctant to pick either Ben or Ourselves we were the only two teams left and it will be a replay of last years final. We of course are hoping for a better showing then last year and will be hoping to emulate our semi final victory against Ben the previous year, when we defeated him 3-2.

We would again like to say a special thank you to our sponsors FedEx Express and Events Clothing/Line 7. Owen Rutter from Events Clothing has supplied us with new sailing gear this season, keeping the boys looking very sharp. The ongoing support of our sponsors is helping make this opportunity possible for the BlackMatch boys and we would also like to thank Emirates Team New Zealand and Steinlager Pure.

BlackMatch is Adam Minoprio, Tom Powrie, Nick Blackman and David Swete.

BlackMatch Racing
World Match Racing Tour