Saturday 5 December 2009

Adam Minoprio is the new World Match Racing Champion

Adam Minopiro (left) and David Swete celebrate winning the ISAF Match Racing World Championship after Peter Gilmour beat Torvar Mirsky in the Quarter Finals at the Monsoon Cup 2009, in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 5 December 2009. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

by Rob Kothe

The 2009 World Match Racing Championship was at stake on morning 4 of the Monsoon Cup, the final round of the World Match Racing Tour in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.

When this regatta started Australian Torvar Mirsky and his MRT crew were number two ranked on the World Match Racing Tour leader board and 12 points behind New Zealander Adam Minoprio and his Emirates Team New Zealand BlackMatch Racing Team.

Mirsky was down 0-2 against the defending Monsoon Cup champion, the America's Cup and World Match Racing Tour veteran Peter Gilmour.

The maths showed that if Mirsky was eliminated in the Monsoon Cup quarter finals and Adam Minoprio was to win his battle with Mathieu Richard, Minoprio would become the World Match Racing Champion.

Entering the starting box Minoprio had his game face on... he nailed the start and was two lengths ahead on the left of the course.

Richard was on the right. The two boats came back fast with Richard having gained on the right. After contact at the top mark Minoprio was given a penalty; Richard a red flag, meaning he had to take an immediate penalty.

Minoprio extinguished his penalty and went on to win the match. Dockside the BlackMatch skipper was calm as he said 'We were feeling the pressure a little before that last match. The current is very hard to read, its varying with the tide and there are swirls and eddies. You have watch the match ahead of you to see who does best, left or right and then it might not mean much anyway.'

Mirsky beat Gilmour in the third race; the scoreline was now 1-2.

Mirsky had to win the next match in order to earn a fifth and final match that he would also need to win.

Peter Gilmour needed to win the match and then the Monsoon Cup in order to come second on the World Tour.

Mirsky had to finish sixth or worse in order to lose his current second place ranking. Ben Ainslie has a sniff at second place if he wins the Monsoon Cup, so all was at stake.

The tension on Mirsky's boat was palpable. They had to win the next two races to keep their World Championship hopes alive.

Coming towards the top mark Gilmour was ahead by half a boat length. Gilmour was inside boat entitled to room; he took Mirsky head to wind but did not keep clear and was given a penalty.

Mirsky decided to follow Gilmour, hoping to stay close enough to pounce when Gilmour did his penalty turn. On the third beat Gilmour was 45 metres ahead, looking to do his penalty turn in the best tide. Mirsky closed to 40 metres giving Gilmour no option but do a finishing line spin.

Mirksy finished first, but was penalised and Gilmour won the match.

Peter Gilmour just pips Torvar Mirsky on the finish line. Mirsky was elimanated from the quarter finals and with it went his chances of the world title, Monsoon Cup 2009, in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 5 December 2009. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

As the penalty flag went up, there were loud cheers on the balcony overlooking the Pulau Duyong course.

Adam Minoprio is the new World Match Racing Champion.

It was all black and silver, as Minoprio high fived his crew. There was chaos for a few minutes, with crew, family and supporters all yelling.

Minoprio settled and said 'Wow, this is sensational. Talk about lows and highs. Its very tricky out there.

'Yesterday morning we were down, struggling to make the quarters, we just scraped in, now we've make the semis and we are the new World Champions.

'We are gunning for the title.

'Right now we are going to cheer for Phil Robertson. We really want to meet him in the final. That would be perfect.'

Alas it was not to be as Robertson was penalised in a vigorous pre-start stoush and Sebastien Col won the deciding match of their flight.

Phil Robertson during his quarter final against Sebastian Col, Monsoon Cup 2009, in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 5 December 2009. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

Col now heads for the semifinals along with triple gold medallist Ben Ainslie, defending Monsoon Cup Champion Gilmour and the new World Champion.

Torvar Mirsky dockside ' Congratulations to Adam, he is a worthy world champion.

'We are obviously disappointed. The match with Gillie (Peter Gimour) was so close, coming towards the finish line, we though he might complete his turn, so we had to engage. We were sure the penalty would have gone the other way. Tomorrow we will be fighting for fifth and we will be back harder than ever in 2010.'

24 year old Adam Minoprio started sailing in Auckland at age 8. He won his first New Zealand championship at the age of 12 in the Optimist class. He joined the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's Sailing Academy in 2002 at age 17 and graduated in 2006, that same year winning the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in Perth in the WA Yachting Foundation's matched fleet of Foundation 36 yachts.

Adam Minopiro (left) and Nick Blackman celebrate winning the ISAF Match Racing World Championship after Peter Gilmour beat Torvar Mirsky in the Quarter Finals at the Monsoon Cup 2009, in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 5 December 2009. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

The Warren Jones Regatta prize gave Minoprio expense money and entry to a number of top European match racing events, significantly helping his ranking and experience against the world's top ranked skippers.

The rest is now history.

Monsoon Cup
World Match Racing Tour

BlackMatch Racing are World Match Racing Champions

Adam Minoprio and BlackMatch Racing were crowned ISAF Match Racing World Champions after they defeated Mathieu Richard in the quarter finals of the Monsoon Cup 2009, and Gilmour defeated Mirsky, in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 5 December 2009. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

by David Swete

After getting off the water from our 3 nil win over Mathieu Richard, we watched an extremely close race against Peter Gilmour and Torvar Mirsky, a match that meant if Gilmour won we would be crowned World Match Racing Champions. Gilmour had incurred a penalty on the first beat and although he held the lead coming into the final run to the finish, we knew it was going to be extremely close. He left it right until the finish to do his penalty turn as Torvar and his team were storming down in great breeze, Gilly went for the turn and it was marginal if he was going to complete it in front of the fellow Australian team. He just managed to complete his turn and there was contact between the boats, Torvar then crossed the line first only to be handed a penalty and this decisive moment handed us the World Tour win.

The team is extremely happy to have pulled of this incredible fight back and take out the World Title, although we still have it all to do at this regatta and will remain focused for this afternoons semi finals.

BlackMatch would like to thank their sponsor Fedex Express and a very special thank you to David Ross for coming to Terengganu to support us this week. We would also like to make a special mention to Ross Munro for all of his incrediable support throughout the years, his help in getting us started on the tour and getting the boys looking like pros has been absolutely invaluable. Emirates Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadrons support has also been incredible and a massive thank you has to go out to all our Mums and Dads and Friends back home.

BlackMatch Racing
World Match Racing Tour

BlackMatch sneak into Quarterfinals of Monsoon Cup to keep hopes alive

Spinnaker set for BlackMatch Racing at the 2009 Monsoon Cup. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

by David Swete (after Day 3 of racing)

The rollercoaster ride of BlackMatches fortunes have continued and in an extraordinary turn of events, we managed to qualify for the quarterfinals with only 5 wins from our round robin. With the prospect of winning two of our three remaining round robin matches against Peter Gilmour, Ian Williams and Sebastian Col we had a dismal start to the day narrowly losing both of our first matches, the race against Gilmour possibly the match of the regatta. After our first two races we had a two hour break to respect the local Muslim Prayer time and during this break we discovered we still had a good chance of qualifying. Former World Champion and Swedish America’s Cup Skipper Magnus Holmberg had also lost both of his morning matches so if we were to win our final match against Sebastian Col, we would advance on countback over the Swede.

We came out firing against the former World number 1 Col, forcing a penalty on him in the prestart after he lost control in a dial up and there was contact between the boats. The Frenchman won the favoured left hand side of the course however and we trailed narrowly at the first top mark. There is a bottom mark gate system being used here at the Monsoon Cup, similar to the America’s Cup courses you have a choice of what bottom mark to round and while we had made our minds up as to what gate was favoured before the start, the French team thought differently and went to the opposite mark. This proved to be a fatal mistake for Seb as we gained significantly and took a two boat length lead to run away with the victory and steal the last remaining quarterfinal berth.

So after a tumultuous week here for the team, we somehow found ourselves in the quarterfinals and still with a shot of being crowned World Champions. It was back ashore for all of the teams and goodbye to four teams that included current World Champion Ian Williams, Magnus Holmberg, Francesco Bruni and local hero Hazwan. Next was the ever interesting situation where the top qualifiers get to choose who they are to race in the quarterfinals and after just scraping through it was totally out of our hands as to who we would race. Ben Ainslie was first to choose and picked Damien Iehl, next up was Sebastian Col picking Phil Robertson and this gave Mathieu Richard a choice of Peter Gilmour, Torvar Mirsky or us. Despite beating Mathieu 3-0 last week in Perth he choose to race us, leaving the two Western Australian teams to battle it out.

With only enough time left in the day for one quarterfinal match up we managed to win decisively over Mathieu and his French Match Racing Team, pushing him over at the start and then forcing two penalties on him during the first downwind, to go into the night leading the first to 3 quarterfinal 1-0. Also 1 nil up are Ben Ainslie, Peter Gilmour and Sebastian Col.

With quarterfinal action resuming and a clean slate for the team it is only just heating up.

BlackMatch is Adam Minoprio, Dan Mclean, Tom Powrie, Nick Blackman and David Swete and we would like to thank our sponsor FedEx Express for their incredible support. We would also like to make a special mention to the support we receive from Emirates Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

BlackMatch Racing
World Match Racing Tour

TJV: A highly instructive Transat Jacques Vabre - Marc Guillemot, skipper of Safran, IMOCA World Champion 2009

Arrival of Safran in Costa Rica. Image copyright A. Courcoux.

by Regis Lerat

A highly instructive Transat Jacques Vabre Marc Guillemot, skipper of Safran, IMOCA World Champion 2009 This Transat Jacques Vabre, which culminated in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, with the arrival of Sam Davies and Sydney Gavignet aboard Artemis II, saw victory go to the duo Mar c Guillemot - Charles Caudrelier (Safran), thus enabling Marc Guillemot to pocket the IMOCA World Champion 2009 title.

Prior to the start in Le Havre, it was Armel Le Cléac'h (Britair) who stood the best chance of winning ahead of Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Marc Guillemot (Safran).

However, with the skipper of Britair suddenly forced to retire from the race, Marc Guillemot (Safran) could only snatch championship victory if he finished at least two clear places in front of Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia).

Fortunately for Marc Guillemot, the very fine second and third places that went to Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel) and Mike Golding (Mike Golding Yacht Racing), deprived the double Vendée Globe winner of the 2009 title. Indeed this particularly lively 2009 edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre initially saw the supremacy of the two sisterships, Safran and Groupe Bel, contested by crews who were especially at ease in the breezy conditions, namely Roland Jourdain - Jean-Luc Nélias (Veolia Environnement) as well as Sébastien Josse - Jean-François Cuzon (BT).

However, once the storm had passed, the two leading boats really stole a march on their pursuers. This unquestionable speed potential combined with weather phenomena which favoured progress at the front of the pack, explain the considerable separation between the fleet at the finish. Another big lesson learnt during this race was that, when faced with some particularly difficult conditions, the IMOCA fleet handled themselves very well. Aside from the incident that affected BT, the other retirements weren't related to the boats' overall integrity: Britair retired after its mainsail track became detached, DCNS due to concerns with the keel pivot joint and Hugo Boss following a collision with a UFO, which didn't stop Alex Thomson and Ross Daniel bringing the boat safely into port in the Azores with the wind and sea conditions against them. As regards the incident suffered by BT, it has to be admitted that, even when full of water, BT was able to be towed to the port of Terceira in what were some especially difficult sea conditions. As such, the latter once again proves the validity of the class rules, which stipulate that the boats must be unsinkable.

Finally, the IMOCA 2009 ranking sees victory go to a Champion whose human qualities no longer need to be proven, but for whom a big win in a classic race has been lacking for some time. This record has now been set straight in grand style, because in addition to this great victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre, Marc Guillemot (Safran) has also won the World Championship title into the bargain, crowning off what has been an exceptional season. Ultimately ranking 3 points ahead of her French rival, the battle between Dee Caffari (Aviva) and Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) went all the way to the wire in Puerto Limon, and they are flanked in the general ranking by their Transat Jacques Vabre co-skippers, Vincent Riou and Brian Thompson.

IMOCA 2009 Ranking

1 Marc Guillemot (Safran) 362 pts
2 Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) 357 pts
3 Armel Le Cléac'h (Britair) 338 pts
4 Sam Davies (Artemis II) 321 pts
5 Vincent Riou (PRB) 304 pts
6 Dee Caffari (Aviva) 295 pts
7 Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) 292 pts
8 Brian Thompson (Brian Thomson Racing) 281 pts
9 Steve White (Spirit of Weymouth) 250 pts
10 Richard Wilson (Great American III) 220 pts

Transat Jacques Vabre

America's Cup: ISAF Announces Jury for 33rd America's Cup

Two additions to Justice Kornreich's advisers form the five-man jury

by ISAF media

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Friday announced the ISAF approval for the appointment of the International Jury for the 33rd America's Cup.

The 33rd America's Cup Match is scheduled to be held in Valencia, Spain in February 2010 between the Société Nautique Genève of Switzerland and the Golden Gate Yacht Club of the United States of America.

The five-person International Jury will be:

David Tillett (Australia) Chairman

A lawyer in Australia, David has been an International Judge for 20 years and is the current Chairman of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee. He has been a juror at the 31st and 32nd America's Cup's as well as an Umpire at the 28th and 29th America's Cups. He has also been a Jury Member at four Olympic Games, and Chairman in 2004 and 2008.

John Doerr (Great Britain)

An Arbitrator specialising in the engineering field. John has been an International Judge since 1987 and an International Umpire since 1980. A past Chairman of the ISAF Race Officials Committee. He was a Jury member and Chief Umpire for the 29th America's Cup and a Jury Member and Chief Umpire at the last four Olympic Games.

Josje Hofland (The Netherlands)

Josje has a Doctorate in English Literature and Linguistics. An International Judge since 1992 and an International Umpire between 1992 and 2000. A past Chairman of various ISAF Race Officials Committees and a member of the Racing Rules Committee between 1995 and 2008. She was a Jury member in the 29th America's Cup and filled the role of Chief Umpire in the Challenger Finals and Deputy Chief Umpire in the America's Cup match. Josje has also been a member of the Jury in three Olympic Games.

Graham McKenzie (New Zealand)

A distinguished Barrister at Law and a solicitor in New Zealand. Graham is a competing sailor in keelboats. A member of the ISAF Constitution Committee. He was a Jury member for the 32nd America's Cup.

Bryan Willis (Great Britain)

An Arbitration specialist and a Magistrate in the lower criminal court in Great Britain. Bryan has been an International judge since 1976 and an International Umpire between 1980 and 2004. He was an integral member of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee for 20 years between 1980 and 2000. Bryan was a Jury member and Chief Umpire in the 28th America's Cup, Chairman of the Jury and Chief Umpire in the 30th and 31st America's Cup and Chairman of the Jury and Arbitration Panel for the 32nd America's Cup. Jury Chairman of the 2000 Olympic Games and Jury Chairman for the last three Volvo Ocean Races.


Broken generator causes Groupama 3 to delay her departure from Cape Town

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

Whilst she was set to leave South Africa this Friday morning, the Groupama 3 trimaran has now been forced to remain in the port of Cape Town temporarily after her generator failed.

"We were in the process of charging the batteries one last time when, all of a sudden, the alarm sounded in the engine compartment. After a thorough check by Yann Mérour, it has been deemed to be out of service. It's annoying as we should already be at sea by now but that's just the way it is" says Fred Le Peutrec. He continues: "It's better that this problem occurred now rather than after we'd set sail because, without power, we can't desalinate the seawater. As a result we would have been forced to make a stopover, which is never simple in such a large boat".

Around the basin where Groupama 3 is tied up, cameras from all around the world are trained on the drawing of lots for the World Cup football tournament. However, the main focus for the Groupama Team is arranging a new Yanmar engine block to be sent down from France: "We've found an identical one to ours, which is a positive step. We just have to get it delivered to Cape Town, which isn't easy. If everything goes smoothly at customs, we should receive the block on Sunday evening, assemble everything onto it on Monday and then head out to sea on Tuesday" explains Fred Le Peutrec.

Though it may seem surprising that a yacht is stuck in port with engine failure, it is worth pointing out that, without power, Groupama 3 is deprived of:
- Communication with land
- Weather information
- Lights and radar
- Electronic instruments showing the strength and direction of the wind
- Freshwater, which is essential for hydrating the crew and the freeze-dried food.

And even though Groupama 3 has a wind generator and solar panels, they are only back-up energy sources and hence not sufficient to cover the 6,000 miles (11,200 km) under satisfactory conditions of safety: "From our arrival in Cape Town, we decided that Groupama 3 had to leave South Africa in as close to perfect condition as possible in order to validate all the repair work on the return delivery trip. The same is true for the engine" adds Fred Le Peutrec, who concludes: "By leaving Cape Town on 8th December, we still have a chance of making Brest before the Christmas festivity. Indeed this is the latest challenge we have set ourselves as, together with the start of stand-by for the Jules Verne Trophy remaining set at 1st January, there will be little time left to share with our families".

Cammas - Groupama

Chocolates Nestle Brasil Match Cup

by Paul Cayard

I am in Rio for the 7th annual Nestle Brasil Match Cup 2009 Friday through Sunday. It is pretty local but that is not to say it is not competitive. Amongst the competitors is Torben Grael, five time Olympic medalist and Star World Champion as well as, Robert Scheidt four time Olympic Medalist and Star World Champion and Xavier Rohart from France who is a two time Star World Champion and Bronze medalist from 2004. There are a many good local young sailors keen to beat one of the guys with all these titles.

After a press conference Friday morning, the teams went out for about 2 hours of training in the boats. At 1500 the flights started. There is a small fleet race component to this event and that is what they started with for the first four competitors.

There are 4 boats, but 8 competitors so we don't all race all the time. Unfortunately for us, we didn't get to race today as our first race is in the fourth flight and the race committee only got 2 flights in before the wind died. There is a womens division in the regatta and they sail in J-24's, while the men race in Bennetau First 40.7's.

My crew is a bunch of Star sailing friends and two young Brazilian kids. Ross MacDonald and his wife Marcia (a former 470 and Europe dinghy Olympian for Brazil), Flavio Marazzi and his crew Enrico de Maria (who finished 4th in Athens in 04). Then we have the two kids, Lucas Brun (son of Gastoa and nephew of Vince) who was part of the ABN Amro youth team in the 2006 Volvo Ocean Race and Thomas Low-Beer who is an up and coming 470 sailor for Brazil in 2012 and an engineering student here in Rio.

I started out my day today (Friday) at 0600 with a run down Ipanema Beach. I found the most beautiful gym in the world. It is outdoor and on the beach. I am going tomorrow and will take pictures. Now I am off to my friend Alan Adler's house for a Bar-B-Q. Alan is another Star World Champ. There are 6 of us down here in this regatta! Alan is the promoter of this event and has another event this weekend in Sao Paolo with Maria Sharapova.


Cayard Sailing
Chocolates Nestle Brazil Match Cup

WMRT: Ainslie Stars in 'A Tale of Two Rivers'

Ben Ainslie (GBR), Team Origin. Monsoon Cup 2009, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 4 December 2009. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

Sebastien Col (FRA) and Mathieu Richard (FRA) at the top mark with Ian Williams (GBR) and Adam Minoprio (NZL) in the background, Monsoon Cup 2009, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 4 December 2009. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

by Rob Kothe

The Pulau Duyong Monsoon Cup match racing course is the meeting of the two Terengganu river flows, which split above the Island; the heavier right hand flow is deeper water, while the left hand flow is slower and shallower.

On the first few days of the Monsoon Cup the start line was well to the right and the course was heavily biased, with the boat winning the right side drag race winning the match.

But today, for the completion of the round robin matches and for the start of the quarter finals, the start line moved to the left, making the course much more even.
Adam Minoprio and his Emirates Team New Zealand BlackMatch crew faced a sudden death match, fighting for his season with a scoreline of 4-6, against Sebastien Col, 6-4 (French Match Racing Team ALL4ONE).

French Match Racing Team/Team Frech Spirit skippered by Mathieu Richard (left) heads to the start against Sebastien Col's ALL4ONE team, Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 4 December 2009. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

Sebastien Col attracted a penalty while Minoprio was looking for a clean start. The pair battled throughout the match; Minoprio finally taking the win to keep his World Tour Championship hopes alive.

On the BlackMatch boat a relieved Adam Minoprio said 'We did not quite get the pin, but we made better use of the current. There was a huge gain from that mark. A huge relief!

In the other matches to complete the round robin, Torvar Mirsky (Mirsky Racing Team) defeated Peter Gilmour (YANMAR Racing).

Mathieu Richard (French Team) beat Ben Ainslie and his TeamOrigin crew handsomely.
Francesco Bruni and his Italian Azzurra team took the last match in the last flight from Ian Williams and Team Pindar.

Bruni said 'A good way to end. We came into this event, very tired from a big season. We've sailed Farr 40's, TP52's, LV and more. But we have no regrets, it’s a fascinating venue.'

The skippers who did not make the quarter finals were Magnus Holmberg (Victory Challenge) 5-6, Francesco Bruni (Azzurra), 4-7, Ian Williams (Team Pindar) 4-7 and Hazwan Hazim (Taring Pelangi TESA) 0-11.

Adam Minopiro and his BlackMatch crew trail Ian Williams and his Team Pindar crew during Day 3 of Racing at the Monsoon Cup 2009, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 4 December 2009. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

On to the quarter finals and Ben Ainslie (TeamOrigin) chose to sail against Damien Iehl (French Team).

Ainslie controlled the left, while Iehl was very happy to go right, and the race started with a big split. Iehl gained two lengths in the heavier current, running up to five knots. But down the run Ainslie gained, staying out of the adverse current.

‘What a random place’ was the comment Ainslie made to his dual gold medal mainsheet hand Iain Percy.

TeamOrigin headed for the right hand side having chosen the opposite side earlier. They had made one mistake - they did not make another. They sailed to an easy victory.

Dockside the triple gold medallist Ben Ainslie said ‘We felt for Ian and Team Pindar, he has been on the top of the Tour for two seasons and now he has lost his chance to defend his title, but he will be back.

'We thought we had a pretty good handle on the course until the Committee Boat was moved to the middle.

‘The left hand versus right hand river decision has become hard. Now it’s become a tale of two rivers. For the first time in the week, we had a situation where either side could win. We went left but Damien Iehl had chosen best from the start, but we managed to stay close and overtake and then we led right.’

Peter Gilmour (left) and Torvar Mirsky head for the start Monsoon Cup 2009, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 4 December 2009. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

In the other quarter final matches, Peter Gilmour pushed young Perth competitor Torvar Mirsky to the left side of the line, before heading right. Mirsky headed right, but he fell in behind Gilmour and was unable to make an impression.

Forced over the line early by Adam Minoprio (BlackMatch Racing), Mathieu Richard (French Match Racing Team) had to fight to stay in contact. At the bottom mark for the second time, Minoprio was two lengths ahead and headed right. But Richard gained rapidly in the left hand current; Minoprio was just a length ahead.

With Richard failing to keep clear in a luffing match, the Frenchman attracted one penalty then another. All Minoprio had to do was to stay clear to win.

A visibly happier Adam Minoprio said ‘We are happy to have squeezed through and wipe the slate clean.' Grinning broadly he commented about his quarter final win ‘We were able to watch the first two sides and see how they went and that did not help us at all ..... just pleased to win. Even after Richard had the second penalty, there was still risk with the two river flows.’

Adam Martin on Waka Racing comes in close to the start boat , Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 4 December 2009. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

Although Phil Robertson lost his quarter final match against Sebastien Col this afternoon, he was still irrepressible ‘Five - five yesterday, a wicked day. In our first quarter final match we won the start we wanted left and the right was better, but lots made that mistake, It will be a big day tomorrow, we will come out pumped.’

The last quarter final match was the two Perth, Australian skippers, the old bull Peter Gilmour and the young bull Torvar Mirsky.

Cameron Dunn in action for Yanmar racing Monsoon Cup 2009, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 4 December 2009. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

Peter Gilmour ‘we knew we had to come out and win this morning, - for everyone it was tough, to see Ian Williams in eleventh place, any one of us could have been there.

'We were pleased with our first quarter finals match, (tongue in cheek – he grinned as a Terengganu local, I had it all worked out.)'

Mirsky – 'We were just ahead at the top, but Peter is correct, we actually think he has the keys to the (Kenyir) dam spillway and probably flicked it to get more current. and found more current and won.'

With days of monsoon rain, fifty kilometres upstream the Kenyir Dam spillway is roaring and the Terengganu ‘tale of two rivers’ will continue through the balance of racing and into the finals.

Quarter Final Results
(After 1 Flight)
Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin vs Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 1-0
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/ALL4ONE vs Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 1-0Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing vs Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 1-0
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing vs Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 1-0

Skipper Mathieu Richard and his French Match Racing Team at the Monsoon Cup 2009, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 4 December 2009. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

Day 3 Round Robin Results
1st Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin 8-3
2nd Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/ALL4ONE 7-4
3rd Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 7-4
4th Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 7-4
5th Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 7-4
6th Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 6-5
7th Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 6-5
8th Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 5-6
9th Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge 5-6
10th Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Azzura 4-7
11th Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar 4-7
12th Hazwan Hazim Dermawan (MAS) Taring Pelangi Team 0-11

Monsoon Cup
World Match Racing Tour

WAKA Racing make Quarters!

WAKA Racing in the lead at the Monsoon Cup. Image copyright Sander van der Borch?Subzero Images.

by Garth Ellingham

Today we went into racing with the luxury of knowing that we had already qualified for the quarter finals. So with two races remaining we went out this morning with the aim of notching up a couple more wins to improve our overall position and possible give ourselves the chance to pick our quarter final opponent.

First up we had Seb Col. After miss-timing our pre start Seb lead us off the line but after a good first beat and downwind we managed to close up on him just before the bottom mark. Unfortunately when trying to roll and pass him he only just managed to keep an over lap and luffed us with the umpires saying as windward boat we didn't keep clear. Penalty on us and the game was effectively over.

Next was the local sailor Hazwan. This was a straight forward with us doing a nice job leading comfortably of the line and extend throughout the race to take a comfortable victory.

Final score, 7 wins 4 losses, which put us in 4th position easily qualifying us for the quarter finals. This alone is a huge achievement for the team with it being the first time we have made the top eight at a world tour event and was our goal heading into this regatta. Now that we have achieved this the team is absolutely ecstatic but will not lie down having made it.

Our quarter final opponent is Seb Col and we went out and did one race of the best of five race series. Unfortunately for us after winning the side we wanted of the start and narrowly leading around the top mark. Seb had a slightly better hoist than us and managed to soak inside us preventing us from gybing and picked a nice lay line to what turned out to be the favoured mark. Taking the lead and holding it to the finish.

So overall not the best start to quarter finals but by no means are we out of our depth and amongst the team confidence is high. Saturday we can guarantee we will come out fighting hard!

Finally we just like to say a big thank you for all the emails of support we have received whilst we have been here, it means alot.

Also Waka Racing would like to thank Ian from Tax Management NZ for helping the team get up here to compete, along with Stefan of Widex, Pacific Sports Community Trust, Ross Munro of Line 7, RNZYS, Simon from Frontend Design and the WAKA racing supporters club for all their help and generosity.

WAKA Racing is Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, James Williamson, Sam Bell and Adam Martin.

WAKA Racing
World Match Racing Tour

MRT vs.Yanmar Racing in QTR Finals of Monsoon Cup

Mirsky Racing Team down 0-1 against four time World Champion Peter Gilmour, and his Yanmar Racing team in their first quarter final encounter at the 2009 Monsoon Cup

Torvar Mirsky at the helm. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

by Kinley Fowler

The day started with Mirsky Racing Team finishing off their last two round robin races against Victory Challenge and Yanmar Racing.

Needing at least one more win to guarantee their place in the next stage MRT narrowly lead Swedish Americas Cup helmsman Magnus Holmberg around the course.

The Victory Challenge skipper made a risky gybe down the last run where MRT could not defend because of the tide, but sticking to their strategy MRT held their nerve and held their lead to right to the finish.

MRT placed 5th in the round robin, after a complicated four way count back for second place. Without a high enough placing MRT were unable to choose their opponent in the quarter final and were left to race Yanmar Racing.

Mirsky Racing Team versus BlackMatch Racing. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

Racing for the quarter finals got underway in the late afternoon where the two rivers of the Terengganu venue provided teams with a difficult racecourse.

MRT started slightly ahead of Yanmar Racing with a slight advantage off the line, a big split up the first work saw the teams meet at the top mark with MRT edging ahead and holding Yanmar Racing out at the top mark.

Another split on the next upwind saw Yanmar Racing overtake on the tricky racecourse. Unable to work their way back into the race, MRT lost their first race of the quarter finals.

Racing will commence again Saturday when the quarter finals will be decided and MRT continue their charge to win the World Match Racing Tour.


Mirsky Racing Team AUS vs. Yanmar Racing AUS 0 - 1
ETNZ Blackmatch NZL vs. French Team Spirit FRA 1 - 0
Team Origin GBR vs. French Match Racing Team FRA 1 - 0
All4One FRA vs. Waka Racing NZL 1 - 0

9th Victory Challenge (Magnus Holmberg) SWE
10th Team Azzura (Francesco Bruni) ITA
11th Team Pindar (Ian Williams) GBR
12th Taring Pelangi TESA (Hazim Hazwan) MAS

Phuket King's Cup day four - what a difference a windy day makes

Miss Saigon and Zhuka. Image copyright Guy Nowell.

by Joseph Henry

It was a day of high drama for the international fleet competing in the 23rd Phuket King's Cup in the windy race day four with damaged boats and gear, and plenty of protests.

After gentle, shifty breezes and smooth seas for the first three days of racing, the international fleet were today confronted today with strong winds and choppy sea conditions resulting in sail damage, broken masts, a broken rudder and a few broken crew. Now 10 protests are to be heard by the International Jury.

Blitzing the 111-boat fleet in today's racing was Henry Kaye and Fergus Wilmer's Seacart 30 catamaran, Thor, taking the first gun of the day. Next to finish was Firefly 850 multihull Brent Gribble's Twin Sharks, well ahead of the Racing division's big boat, Frank Pong's Reichel Pugh 76 footer, Jelik II.

The dramas started on the Racing division start line."Just prior to the start we broke a couple of battens in the main and they poked a hole through the mainsail." With a lumpy sea, 22 knots and 10 other boats in start formation, Roberts's decided instead of sending a crewman up the mast, to drop the main and replace the battens. "We were quite late for the start so that put us right behind the 8-ball. But then we had a really good first beat and a first reach and we got back in touch with the other boats. We gradually wore them down.

Hi Fi. Image copyright Guy Nowell.

"We liked the heavier conditions. This was more our day. Without that five minute penalty I am pretty comfortable we would have had a win. I am happy with the performance of the boat and the crew is going much better than at the start of the regatta," Roberts's said.

Evolution Racing finished in third place behind Hi-Fi. Unfortunately for Roberts he is being protested by Full Metal Jacket for using their motor within the start sequence. Roberts's completed his 720 degree turn, but now the matter is with the International Jury.

Finally Frank Pong's Jelik II took the Racing division double, winning both line and handicap honours in today's long southern island race. Sailing a superb 28 nautical mile race Jelik II led the fleet off the start line flying past the first mark well ahead of its pointscore rivals Neil Pryde's Hi-Fi and Chris Meads's Full Metal Jacket.

"It got up to 20 knots at times, but then it moderated. The sea was choppy which was possibly what caused the damage to the others boats. We went the right way today. It was very close racing today," Pong said.

Tazo Too tactician Jamie Wilmot reported at the end of the race that they were delighted to finally not come last. Yesterday saw the team frantically trying to fix the boat after experiencing keel problems in the last two race days. The dagger boards, canting keel and twin rudder yacht finally passed some of the bigger boats in the Racing division ending the day in ninth place. "We got the canting keel sorted out and are now back in the game. With a bit more breeze we could get more speed with the canting keel downwind. We caught up a lot downwind today. Even though we are handicapped out we can still get some good rides out of the boat," Wilmot said.

AA. Image copyright Guy Nowell.

The overall provisional results for the Racing division after seven races and one drop leaves Hi-Fi on nine points with Full Metal Jacket and Jelik II in equal second on 18 points and Evolution Racing on 21 points.

In Premier division Robert Tanner's Shahtoosh had a blinder of a race to finish ahead of Anthony Hasting's Baby Tonga-Hideaways Club and Jon Wardill's Australian Maid. On the first work Baby Tonga-Hideaways Club struggled with putting a reef in their main losing a lot of ground to Shahtaoosh. Two boats in the division did not finish today; Bob Yapps's YoMo and Mario Zansi's Obsession II. Horst Lakits's Big A did not start the race today due to problems with a leak in the boat's head which overnight caused it to take on water.

The Premier division overall provisional pointscore after five races and one drop places the consistently well-sailed Baby Tonga- Hideaways Club still in first place on six points, Shahtoosh just one point behind on seven and then Australian Maid in third on 11 points.

IRC1 division was again dominated by Matt Allen's Ichi Ban. The mover in this division today in the heavier winds was Brent Morgans's Beneteau First 40.7 L'autre femme. In third place was Yasuo Nanamori's old IOR boat, Switchblade. In fourth and clearly also benefitting from the heavier winds was Peter Sorensen's Sail Plane.

Second placed going into today's race, Koull Baby's owner Peter Wintle, another Cruising Yacht Club of Australia member, was pleased with his boat's performance today. "We had a good start and a great second leg. The beat was tough for us because we are a very small boat, only 37 feet. We had a lot to do to catch up with the bigger boats. It was very sloppy after going around the top mark and it went very light at the top. Normally we would catch up on the spinnaker run, but it went very light," Wintle said. Unfortunately for Wintle his result was a fifth.

Overall with seven races completed and one drop now has Ichi Ban still in first place on six points with Koull Baby holding onto second with 19 points and Switchblade moving up to take third place with 21 points,

IRC2 was one more class with too much excitement today with CDR Pomprom Sakultern's Thai Navy 2 loosing it's mast near Ko Hi island and one of his crew badly hurt when the mainsheet block hit his head. The racing continued with 2008 division winner CPO Wiwat Poonpat and his Thai Navy 1 team winning the race. In second place was Peter Dyer's Team Bentley and in third, Ken Eyears taking his second third place of the regatta.

"Today was a very good wind for the Farr MRX. The team worked really well and made the boat fast. The boat likes the heavy wind", Poonpat said.

The overall provisional pointscore after seven races and one drop sees no change to the top three places from yesterday's results with Peter Dyer's Team Bentley still in first place on 12 points, Royal Thai Navy 1 in second on 13 points and Stuart Williamson's Skandia Endeavour of Whitby in third on 19 points.

As the breeze softened up the top of course the race committee decided to shorten the course for the Bareboat Charter, Classic, Modern Classic, Cruising and Cruising Multihull divisions.

It was dramatic racing in the Bareboat Charter division with four DNFs and one dismasting. The start was chaotic with people calling each other up, barging and showing very competitive behaviour. Just after the start Jan Rudel's Sunsail Odyssey 35 Princess Arieta lost its mast.

By the first mark the fleet has spread out and the steered well clear of the mark as they sailed in 20 plus knots. First place in the race went to John Ford's Little Eva, followed by Keisuke Nagamatsu's Fidgi and then Mike Crisp's Venture. Pointscore leader at the start of the day, Terry McLaughlin's Princess Sharda finished fifth.

The overall places after five races and one drop has Venture and Princess Sharda equal first on nine points. Just one point behind is Figdi on 10 points and in fourth is Little Eva on 11 points.

Race five for the Modern Classic division saw Nick Band's Emerald Blue take first place ahead of Peter Wood's Windstar and Simon Jupe's Waconda in third. Overall Windstar is on four points and still leads Emerald Blue on seven points with Reinhard Haiber's Pytheas Aura holding third on 14 points.

The Cruising division battled the choppy sea conditions to complete race four of the regatta. In first place was Bob Ashman's Simba followed by Rod Heikell's Skylax with Richard Macfarlane's Aida taking third. Overall and with one drop, this leaves Simba still in first place on four points, Skylax in second on five points and Simon Piff's Rainbow Dream just holding on to third with nine points.

The Firefly 850s also had their share of dramas with both Roger Kingdon's Moto Inzi mainsail falling apart and Damian Ford's Sea Property mainsail tearing in the second top panel. "Just off the back of the island we got a split in the main. We nursed it up the windward leg and then all the way on the downwind. We are very happy with the results. All it had to do was tear off and we would not have finished the race. We are wrapped to finish and get second, which we could not believe. We got a few 20 knot gusts.

"We hit about 15 or 17 knots boat speed and managed to get the hull about two metres in the air at one point, and we did one nose dive which nearly got us at one point otherwise we were pretty much in control," helmsman Shaun Jackson said.

Division leader Twin Sharks joined the rest of the fleet reefing down their main."It was a very good reach from the top mark to the committee boat. We were probably doing close to 20 knots and overtook a lot of other boats in other fleets. Going around the committee boat to go upwind to the islands there was very, very big waves with the boats going and stopping and going and stopping. Halfway up the beat our jib stared to fall apart," Gribble said.

Chris Meads (left), Chris Dickson (right) and the Full Metal Jacket crew, Phuket King's Cup 2009. Image copyright Guy Nowell.

The results for the Firefly 850s one race today was Brent Gribble's Twin Sharks in first, Sea Property second and Hans Rahman's Voodoo third. After seven races and one drop this leaves Twin Sharks still in first on nine points, then Voodoo in second on 12 points with Sea Property just one point behind on 13.

These results may change however with Twin Sharks lodging a protest against the Race Committee for the penalty decision awarded against them in race five.

Henry Kaye/Fergus Wilmer's Thor had a massive lead over the rest of the Multihull Racing division to take out their seventh win from seven races. In second place was David Liddell's Miss Saigon taking their second third place of the regatta. Sadly for Radab Kanjanavanit's Seamico Cedar Swan, who went into race seven in second place on the overall pointscore, a broken rudder forced them to retire.

Thor's co-owner Fergus Wilmer said at the end of racing today, "It was fun out there today. It was windy with nice waves. We hit about 22 knots and our average around the course was 13.8 knots. It was great. We should be clear of the rest, but we will definitely be racing tomorrow".

The overall provisional pointscore after seven races and one drop places has Thor in first place with six points, Miss Saigon moving up to second place with 15 points and Seamico Cedar Swan moving down to third place on 18 points.

In the Multihull Cruising the only finisher was Timothy Robins's Nipper placing him in first place overall.

There were no finishers in the Classic division race. The overall results for the division are Rene Tiemessen's Alondra in first, Christopher Edwards's Schwalbe in second and Simon Morris's Sirius in third.

Saturday is the King's birthday with a sail-past in the morning before the final day of racing.

King's Cup, Phuket

Friday 4 December 2009

BlackMatch with it all to do at Monsoon Cup, after terrible day at the office

BlackMatch at the Monsoon Cup. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

by David Swete (after Day 2 of racing)

Day 2 of the Monsoon Cup just wasn’t our day and in a disappointing display of sailing we finished the day with a scorecard of just 1 win and 3 losses. Our only win came against the recently crowned Louis Vuitton Trophy winner Francesco Bruni, however with losses against fellow Kiwi Phil Robertson, Mathieu Richard and a throw away win against Torvar Mirsky, we need to step it up if we are to make the top 8 and keep our hopes alive.

In contrast Phil Robertson and his Waka Racing Team had the day of their lives, now aptly nicknamed the ‘Giant Killers’ they went through unbeaten and have now claimed the scalps of big names such as Peter Gilmour, Ian Williams and Torvar Mirsky, to lie in second place behind Ben Ainslie. Phil and his team are doing very nice work here in Malaysia and we hope their form continues.

The biggest disappointment of our day was definitely our loss against Torvar Mirsky. After gaining the advantage off the start line we won the favoured right hand side of the course and even managed to force the Australian team to the left. They tacked back at us and we had a clear two boat length lead, but thinking we were close to the lay line for the mark and perhaps panicking a bit, we tacked for the top mark. Realising that we might have been thin on lay and that they were in good current we made another mistake and tacked back at them, but going into our lee bow tack we were ‘down speed’ and they etched out a little bow forward on us to hold ‘mark room’ at the top mark and gain the lead. We did a great job of keeping it close throughout the race and there are plenty of positives to be taken out of it, but after getting the start we wanted and losing from such a good position, it was a massive let down and we have to eliminate these silly mistakes if we are win this event.

We have three races remaining in the round robin and the way it’s panning out it looks like we will have to win at least two of them to qualify for the final 8. First up we have Peter Gilmour, followed by Ian Williams and Sebastian Col, a dubious task at the best of times let alone on such a big stage however we are feeling confident and are looking forward to the challenge.

BlackMatch is Adam Minoprio, Dan Mclean, Tom Powrie, Nick Blackman and David Swete and we would like to thank our sponsor FedEx Express for their incredible support. We would also like to make a special mention to the support we receive from Emirates Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

BlackMatch Racing
World Match Racing Tour

VOR: New North Sea Record for Delta Lloyd

Delta Lloyd passes the finish in IJmuiden. It took skipper Bouwe Bekking just 5 hours 23 minutes and 18 seconds to sail Delta Lloyd 105 miles from Lowestoft to IJmuiden, breaking the North Sea record set by VO60 Pleomax by 23 minutes. Image copyright Ronald Koelink -

by Delta Lloyd media (in translation)

After completing the Volvo Ocean Race, which saw Delta Lloyd's VO70 sail around the world, the sights were set on the North Sea record. On Wednesday, 2nd December, Delta Lloyd broke the old record - that of Pleomax.

The record breaking was the result of a sportive combination of the most successful Dutch skipper, Bouwe Bekking, together with Dutch sailors with Olympic, Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup experience and fanatical amateurs. Especially for this record attempt, the crew was completed with two employees of Delta Lloyd. Also a member of the Council board, Paul Medendorp, was of the party.

Old Record Broken
The North Sea record stood at 5 hours, 59 minutes and 30 seconds and was established in March 2008. Delta Lloyd left around 09.16 hours (NL time) from the English town of Lowestoft and knew that the 105 nautical miles (ca. 200 kilometres) to IJmuiden could be completed in a yet faster time. On board a GPS tracker system went with the boat. With this, the boat could be followed on a website.

Champagne for Bouwe Bekking. Image copyright Ronald Koelink -

Average: 18 knots
Leave Dutch time: 09.16 hours
Arrival Dutch time: 14.52 hours
Sailed time: 05h 36m 18s
Wind: 22 knots on average
Direction: 160-180, turned to 145


The complete crew. Image copyright Ronald Koelink -

Skipper: Bouwe Bekking
General co-ordination: Gideon Messink
Mainsail: Frans Hinfelaar
Trimmer/pit: Peter van Niekerk
Trimmer/pit: Rogier van Overveld
Trimmer/pit: Herbert Derksen
Floater/foredeck: Bert Schandevyl
Navigator: Jelle Kasteel
Camera/mediaman: Sander Pluijm
Delta Lloyd: Paul Medendorp, Egbert Vroom, Frank Schalkwijk, Kees de Vries, Bart Leijssen, Dineke Polman
Zeilen magazine: Klaas Wiersma
Shore navigator: Frits Koek

Delta Lloyd
Volvo Ocean Race

Groupama 3: Returning Home

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

On stopover in Cape Town, South Africa since 21st November, after suffering damage during her Jules Verne Trophy attempt, the trimaran Groupama 3 will head back out to sea again tomorrow morning, Friday, bound for Brest. Having been repaired and reinforced by the team's shore crew, the maxi trimaran is likely to take two to three weeks to cover the 6,000 miles (11,500 km) separating her from Brittany.

Of the ten men making up the Jules Verne Trophy crew four will be onboard to deliver Groupama 3 to Brest, where she will begin a new period of stand-by to tackle the Round the World record on 1st January: "The presence aboard of the entire Jules Verne crew wasn't justified. As such, together with Lionel Lemonchois, Jacques Caraës, Ronan Le Goff and six new crew, we'll be in a position to validate the reliability of the repairs carried out in Cape Town" explains Fred Le Peutrec, who will be shouldering the role of skipper during this climb up the Atlantic.

"We're going to make the most of this delivery trip to give some members of the shore crew a chance to sail, as they know Groupama 3 very well. They will include Eric Lamy, Clément Surtel as well as François Salabert. We will also be playing host to some other multihull specialists: Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, Ludovic Aglaor as well as a South African who notably sailed aboard Cheyenne, Nick Legatt" adds Fred Le Peutrec.

In all, Groupama's stopover in Cape Town will have lasted nearly two weeks: "Once we'd worked out where the damage was, it was necessary to bring in the architects and engineers to determine the cause so that we could be sure about what repairs and reinforcement were required on the beam-float joints. There was great understanding in the collaboration between the Groupama Team's research department and the architects from VPLP and HDS. As such we'll be setting off with complete trust in what is a more solid boat in tip-top condition. It was very important for the whole team to take the time to do things properly, without being overly hasty" continues Fred.

Determined to set off on a fresh attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy from 1st January 2010, the crew of Groupama 3 has managed to find the energy necessary for this new challenge, despite the inevitable disappointment caused by this damage: "We were really on the pace. Despite our retirement, we monitored the evolution of the weather system we'd been sailing in. It was excellent as far as Australia. That goes to prove the quality of the work carried out by Stan Honey, our navigator, as well as Sylvain Mondon, the weather adviser at Météo France. This augurs well for the next stage and the five weeks of stand-by we'll have at our disposal between 1st January and 6th February for our new attempt" comments Franck Cammas.

Returning to France a few days ago with Bruno Jeanjean, Thomas Coville, Stève Ravussin and soon to be joined by Loïc Le Mignon, the skipper of Groupama 3 will be monitoring the return delivery trip very closely: "We chose to repair Groupama 3 in Cape Town in order to validate her reliability at sea. Calculations have their limitations. Nothing can beat offshore trials for testing the structure and I have complete trust in the crew onboard to achieve this".

As regards the weather, conditions will be favourable for getting back into the Northern hemisphere: "We'll be setting off in 15 to 20 knots of SSE'ly. As such we'll be on a reach along the coast until Sunday and then we'll put in some westing to cross the equator at around 25° West. The next stage of the passage will depend on the depressions sweeping across the North Atlantic, but whatever happens we should make it into Brest before Christmas and hence spend the festive period with our families" concludes Fred Le Peutrec.

The organisation of Groupama 3's crew between Cape Town and Brest:
Watch No.1: Fred Le Peutrec, Eric Lamy, Nick Legatt
Watch No.2: Lionel Lemonchois, Ludovic Aglaor, Clément Surtel
Watch No.3: Ronan Le Goff, Thierry Duprey du Vordent, Jacques Caraës
Off-watch navigator: François Salabert
Land-based weather adviser: Sylvain Mondon

Cammas - Groupama

WMRT: World Champion out, who else?

Close racing between the matches at the Monsoon Cup. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

New Zealand's Waka Racing: the team of the day. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

A pensive and disappointed Ian Williams by the World Match Racing Tour and Monsoon Cup trophies in Malaysia. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

by Rob Kothe

Monsoon Cup 2009 Day 2 and after the monsoon drama of the first day, the toughest racing day so far in the history of the regatta, this morning the competitors had time to focus on the leader board.

At the end of the round robin series, (there are four more flights) four skippers will exit the regatta, leaving the top eight to contest the quarter-finals.

At the start of racing on day two of the Monsoon Cup the Asian Match Racing champion, New Zealander Phil Robertson, was 1-3. His single victory yesterday was against Ian Williams and he had been singled out as one of the teams who could miss the cut.

Phil Robertson versus Torvar Mirsky in the pre-start. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

Dockside this morning Robertson was feeling the pressure but was definitely optimistic. 'Two of the races we lost yesterday were our own mistakes. We are aiming to do better today!'

Mathematically a team needs six wins to get through to the quarter-finals, so Robertson and his WAKA Racing crew had work to do.

However Robertson did not expect to beat Peter Gilmour the defending Monsoon Cup champion. Gilmour was aggressive in the starting box, but impressively Robertson outgunned him. Gilmour attracted two penalties in the pre-start; one a red flag meaning he had to take one penalty immediately. Game over.

Sailing against the World Tour ranked number two Torvar Mirsky, Robertson forced the Australian to the left side of the starting line. Robertson was fast to the right hand current elevator and sailed to victory.

Then came the Kiwi match up - Robertson against fellow New Zealander Adam Minoprio, who is the Tour leader.

Minoprio and his crew were confident ahead of the match, but Robertson took control in the pre-start and grabbed the right hand side of the course. They were sailing bow to stern when the two boats reached the current at the top mark. Robertson was just a length ahead but down the run he extended to three lengths. He held the lead and went on to win.

Adam Minoprio with trademark tongue out concentration on BlackMatch Racing. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

It was quiet onboard Minoprio's boat at the end of the match. Minoprio commented 'We want Phil to win lots of matches - just not against us. He is on a hot streak today that's for sure.'

Robertson, the world ranked number 26, finished a great morning's work beating Damien Iehl.

WAKA Racing was now 5-3 and heading for the quarter-finals. Robertson's smile was broad dockside. 'Who would have believed this possibility after yesterday? Actually we were pretty much on the pace yesterday but we made a few silly mistakes.

'It was just fine tuning. Today we won all our starts and the boys just kept us going fast down the track.

'With Gilmour, Mirsky and Minoprio, all three, we managed to get to the right of them and push them down the line and then we were able to tack off towards the current. In our fourth match Damien Iehl was under a lot of pressure, he made a mistake on his timed run and that was it.

'Actually we've found overall there is an advantage going out in tide in the pre-start, it has allowed us to get enough gauge to come back and control.'

Next the number 25 ranked sailor tackled former World Champion Magnus Holmberg and in the tight pre-start Holmberg attracted a penalty. Robertson comprehensively outsailed his rival.

While for some crews its all going swimmingly, there are losers too.

Minprio versus Mirsky. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

Ian Williams and Team Pindar have dominated the World Tour for the last two years winning both the 2007 and 2008 World Match Racing Championships but right now Williams is in nightmare territory.

After the first day Williams was 1-3, having recorded losses to Damien Iehl (French Team) Peter Gilmour (YANMAR Racing Team) and Phil Robertson (WAKA Racing), while defeating Torvar Mirsky (Mirsky Racing Team).

After the completion of racing last night Williams commented 'you have to be right on the money and we were not.'

Today he knew he had to be and Williams started with a workman like victory over the Malaysian Match Racing champion Hazwan Hazim Dermawan (MAS).

Traffic downwind at the Monsoon Cup. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

He then lost to Sebastien Col (ALL4One) and Magnus Holmberg (Victory Challenge).

A moderately stressed but very determined Ian Williams and his Team Pindar crew were 2-5, needing to win four out of four races in the round robin series.

'The mistakes we've made or problems we've had, have come in different races. It has not been all about the start. Right now we are doing the hard stuff well; it's just the simple things. We've been losing by small margins' said Williams.

'Of course we are all racing the conditions as well as the other crews. The tide lines are moving, you have to be very aware and very sharp, because one mistake and you lose.

'We've had four wins from seven starts. We've lost two races where we clearly won the start and that is a real concern. We have had a couple of umpire calls that could have gone a different way...but I guess everyone can say that.

Ben Ainslie's TeamOrigin crew. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

'We have Ainslie, Richard, Minoprio, and Bruni. It's just a matter for us, of taking one race at a time.

'Two years ago we went through to the quarter-finals on four wins, last year on five. We will have to get to six wins; it's actually possible that someone could go out on six. We are just focussed on winning our next four races' concluded Williams.

Ian Williams' Team Pindar. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

But it was disaster for Williams in his match against Ben Ainslie, earning a penalty in the pre-start. Team Pindar sailed hard, won a leg advantage on the left, but lost the match.

The bitterly disappointed World Champion said ''We think that's it for us; we can't make the cut. We are just going to keep trying and let's see what happens.'

Press conference Day 2 Quotations:

Ben Ainslie 7-2. 'Our teamwork has been good, the racing is very close.'

Mathieu Richard 6-3. 'We are improving every day.'

Phil Robertson 6-3. 'All the wheels are turning. The boys are stoked.'

Mirsky Racing Team at the Monsoon Cup. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Îmages.

Magnus Holmberg 5-4. 'The race against Phil Robertson was exciting. We ran out of time; we tried to tangle with them but Phil and his crew did a good job beating us.'

Torvar Mirsky 4-4. 'The highlight of the day for us was beating Adam Minoprio.'

Peter Gilmour 4-4. 'Some of these young fellows just do not respect their elders, the whole field is very, very tight. The last four flights tomorrow will be critical for all of us struggling to make the quarter-finals.'

Peter Gilmour's YANMAR Racing team. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

Adam Minoprio 4-4. 'We were 1-3 today. We are disappointed with our performance. We still have a job to do to make the quarter-finals.'

Bowman Nick Blackman attempts to fend off Mathieu Richard during a pre-start between Adam Minoprio and Mathieu Richard. Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 3 December 2009. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

Damien Iehl 4-5. 'We had a disappointing day today, as we did yesterday. We have to do better.'

Bruni 3-6. 'It's been a very big season for us and I think we are just tired. We had a couple of close races, but don't know the boats and course well enough, but we are looking to improve tomorrow.'

Hazwan Hazim 0-9. 'We are too light (100kg) for strong conditions. We had trouble accelerating, we got some tips from Peter Gilmour and we will be better for this experience.'

Minprio versus Richard. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

Day 2 (03/12/09) Round Robin Results after flight 13

Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin - 7 2
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team - 6 3
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team - 6 3
Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge - 5 4
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/ALL4ONE - 5 3 *
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team - 5 3 *
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing - 4 4 *
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing - 4 4 *
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team - 4 5
Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar - 3 6
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Azzurra - 3 6
Hazwan Hazim Dermawan (MAS) Taring Pelangi Team - 0 9

Francesco Bruni's Italian Azzurra team. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Subzero Images.

Monsoon Cup
World Match Racing Tour

Waka on Fire and Undefeated

Waka Racing skipper Phil Robertson with BlackMatch Racing's Adam Minoprio at the press conference after racing. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

by Garth Ellingham

We have just come in off the water after one of team WAKA Racing's best days.

Going in to todays racing we knew we had to pick our act up if we were going to make it into the next stage of this regatta, and we did!

The coarse which was set right off the massive complex here and has two rivers converging through it, proved to be a bit of a one way track. We knew this and put a huge emphasis on winning the start and being able to get to the right hand side of the coarse first (where the main channel is located and once you get in it you put the times two button on!).

We put our plan into action and with Phil on fire in the pre-starts we won everyone of our starts except for one. The day started with victories over Torvar Mirsky (World No. 2), Peter Gilmour, Adam Minoprio (World no. 1) and Damien Iehl. After lunch we came out to race veteran America's Cup helmsman Magnus Holmberg. We managed to put a penalty on him in the pre-start but unfortunately lost the right-hand side of the coarse. Through out the entire race we battled to keep it close enough to stop him getting his penalty in. On the last downwind we managed to close in on him enough to force him to slow up and try attack us to get rid of his penalty. After losing from this position a couple of times this year due to lack of patience, cool heads prevailed. We didn't let him engage us and when the opportunity arose Phil took the right option and rolled over Magnus to take the victory.

Overall we all felt like today was one of those days where everything went right (excuse the pun) for us. After battling hard all year with what seemed like countless things going against it was nice to have it go our way for once. This has given the team huge confidence going into tomorrow and we can't wait to get back on the water.

Waka Racing would like to thank Ian from Tax Management NZ for helping the team get up here to compete, along with Stefan of Widex, Pacific Sports Community Trust, Ross Munro of Line 7, RNZYS, Simon from Frontend Design and the WAKA racing supporters club for all their help and generosity.

Waka Racing is Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, James Williamson, Sam Bell and Adam Martin.

Waka Racing

World Match Racing Tour

And So it Begins

Mirsky Racing Team at the Monsoon Cup: Kyle Langford, Kinley Fowler, Torvar Mirsky, Tudur Owen and Graeme Spence. Image copyright Brendon O'Hagan/Subzero Images.

by Kinley Fowler

As the first stage of the World Tour final moves on to its late stages, the Mirsky Racing Team are in a strong position, finishing day two of the Monsoon Cup with 5 wins.

Strong currents and varible winds in Terengganu, saw some big upsets today with current world champions Bahrain Team Pindar having a lot on in order to make it to the quarter final stage.

MRT first faced young Kiwi team Waka Racing, lead by Phil Robertson. Waka Racing capitalized on an MRT mistake in the prestart and had the advantage off the line. Once Waka Racing had secured the right side of the course, MRT didn't get a glimpse of the lead.

Although the loss to the young kiwi's was an upset, it proved that it was imperative to get out to the right side of the course straight off the line. With this in mind, MRT went on to defeat the local hero Hazim Hazwan.

The final race saw the two teams on top of the Tour BlackMatch Racing and MRT, face off in a fiery match. BlackMatch Racing won the start, winning the right side of the course, however they incurred a penalty so needed to keep the lead. With a new level of intensity the Australian's fought hard to take the lead at the top mark, and despite a few close calls around the track, MRT took the win.

"It was an excellent win for us!" said an elated tactician Kyle Langford. "We always have close races, and it was only a small mistake by them up the first work that gave us the lead. We are stoked, but at the same time it's just one race, and we still have three more hard races before we can start thinking about the World Tour trophy."

Tomorrow's racing will see the conclusion of the round robin, and the teams turn up the heat as their grasp on the World Match Racing Tour gets closer.


Team Origin - Ben Ainslie 7 wins 2 losses
Waka Racing - Phil Robertson 6 wins 3 losses
French Match racing - Mathieu Richard 6 wins 3 losses
Mirsky Racing Team - Torvar Mirsky 5 wins 3 losses
Victory Challenge - Magnus Holmberg 5 wins 3 losses
ALL4ONE - Sebastien Col 5 wins 3 losses
YANMAR Racing - Peter Gilmour 4 wins 4 losses
BlackMatch Racing - Adam Minoprio 4 wins 4 losses
French Match Racing - Damien Iehl 4 wins 5 losses
Team Azzura - Francesco Bruni 3 wins 6 losses
Bahrain Team Pindar - Ian Williams 3 wins 6 losses
Taring Pelangi - Hazwan Hazim 0 wins 9 losses

Mirsky Racing Team

World Match Racing Tour