Saturday, 6 September 2008

BlackMatch and the Swiss 1-0 up in Quarterfinals at St Moritz

Wibroe leads down the run. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

by Kirsten Bollinger

On day three at St Moritz Match Race the big black rain clouds were slowly beginning to clear to make way for some great racing. With no races of the repechage round robin completed Thursday, organisers were starting to feel the pressure to get some races away.

The course was quickly moved to the northern end of the lake, where 5-7 knots of wind was enough to get the sailors off the start line. With racing starting an hour earlier than the previous two days, the race committee were hoping to start the quarterfinals mid-afternoon.

Presti gybes behind Mirsky. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

Spectators braved the freezing temperatures to watch flight one of the repechage and see Philippe Presti take an important win over Peter Wibroe. Bjorn Hansen beat Michael Hestbaek, while Torvar Mirsky reminded spectators not to count him out just yet as he beat Paolo Cian.

After a short postponement, while the course was moved back in front of the grandstand the racing continued in shifty conditions. By the end of the 5th flight Wibroe had managed four wins to finish the repechage series on top. Philippe Presti and Bjorn Hansen were tied on three points, but Presti took the countback and qualified for the final spot in the quarterfinals.

The eight quarterfinalists are Ian Williams (GBR), Jes Gram Hansen (DEN), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Eric Monnin (SUI), Mathieu Richard (FRA) and Sebastien Col (FRA), Peter Wibroe (DEN) and Philippe Presti (FRA).

The Corviglia Challenge saw sponsors and guests take to the water in a fleet race which was taken out by Adam Minoprio’s ETNZ/BlackMatch, with Team Pindar coming second.

With sponsors back on dry land the quarterfinals could begin. In the first race Eric Monnin led Ian Williams off the start and rounded the top mark with a comfortable lead. Unfortunately the fickle conditions led to the race being abandoned.

Ian Williams takes on Eric Monnin in the quarterfinals. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

After the breeze settled and the course moved the racing was restarted. Eric Monnin led Ian Williams across the start line for a second time, but this time Williams had managed to get a penalty on Monnin. By the top mark Monnin had extended his lead enough to be able to do the penalty before rounding the mark. Still in the lead, Monnin was able to extend to win the race comfortably.

Wibroe and Minoprio approach the top mark in the quarterfinals. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

In the second quarterfinal Peter Wibroe and Adam Minoprio were even off the start and after a split tack, the first cross saw Minoprio cross just in front of Wibroe who was forced to dip to keep clear. Wibroe led down the run and rounded the second top mark in front but was rolled by Minoprio only to roll back in front.

Wibroe leads Minoprio downwind in the first quarterfinal. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

Approaching the finishing line Minoprio’s ETNZ/BlackMatch team managed to get into the overtaking lane, and Wibroe was powerless to stop the Kiwi charge. Minoprio crossed the line a boat length ahead.

At this stage, Eric Monnin and Adam Minoprio are halfway to a semi-final place with only one more race to win, while Ian Williams and Peter Wibroe will be feeling the pressure of a must-win race to stay in the competition.

Quarterfinals - Flight 1
(Winners in bold)

M1 Peter Wibroe v Adam Minoprio
M2 Ian Williams v Eric Monnin

Match Race St Moritz
World Match Racing Tour

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