Tuesday, 8 June 2010

WMRT: YANMAR Racing Stepping up a Gear in Korea

YANMAR Racing at Match Race France. Image copyright World Match Racing Tour.

by YANMAR Racing media

While its not been the best of season starts for Australia's Peter Gilmour's YANMAR Racing team, having an 11,6 result after Match Race France and Match Race Germany, a better result might be expected in the upcoming Korea Match Cup, which runs from June 9th to 13th 2010.

The YANMAR Racing team is now almost back to the full squad that sailed to a strong fourth place in the 2009 ISAF World Match Racing Championship season. Western Australian Gilmour, the four times ISAF World Match Racing Champion, is quietly confident but insists it's a match by match affair.

New Zealander Cameron Dunn, a seasoned America's Cup racer who has previously match raced extensively with Bermuda's Peter Holmberg, is rejoining the YANMAR Racing crew in Korea.

Dunn first sailed with YANMAR Racing as their mainsail trimmer-tactician in Germany and Portugal in 2009, before YANMAR Racing won the Swedish event. In Denmark YANMAR Racing made the semi-finals and then repeated that result at the WMRT season finale, the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.

Dunn commented 'A settled team is essential. Look at the recent strong achievers, Mirsky, Minoprio, Richard; they have been sailing with the same crew over the last three or four years, and it really does make a huge difference. The young guys have realised that crew continuity early on and have built strong teams, and they just get better and better each season.

'For us, last year we felt it was a pretty good result for a new team. The plan this year is to have a really good crack at winning the Tour. Because of other commitments this will be my first event for the year, so I am looking forward to Korea.

'It's an important event and we have a few things in our favour. Peter certainly does enjoy the bigger boats. 36 footers .... they are more classic Match Racing style which really is Peter's forte; he has a ton of experience, more than anyone else on the Tour. Korea is a reasonably tricky place with light air, so Peter's experience should be to our advantage.'

Yasuhiro Yaji, the YANMAR Racing team's pitman has competed with Gilmour at almost every match racing event in the last decade.

'We are looking forward to this regatta. We've raced here twice before. It is light weather sailing and we have a strong team. We will be trying very hard with 100% effort for a good result.'

The balance of the YANMAR Racing crew for the Korean event is Thierry Douillard (FRA) and Martin Berntsson (SWE).

Douillard, the 37 year old America's Cup sailor, first competed with Gilmour in 2005 and over the last two seasons has regularly sailed on his crew as a trimmer. Berntsson, the YANMAR Racing bowman sailed four events in 2009 with Gilmour's team and was aboard for Match Race Germany 2010.

Peter Gilmour's record in bigger boat match racing events is enviable and the 36 footers seem to bring out the best in the veteran skipper. ''While Bakewell-White designed both the Foundation 36's used in the Monsoon Cup and the KM36's, these KM36's are vastly different from the F36's. The asymmetric spinnaker creates a real requirement to set things up way earlier than normal and to limit the tacks and gybes required. All in all they are a reasonable boat that really tests the whole crew.'

The Korea Match Race Course is in an area that experiences a tidal range of up to 10 metres. Commenting on this the veteran match racer said 'The tide has only a small influence on the racing, the flows seem to be fairly even across the course, however the low tide shrinks the size of the playing field and changes the scenery. Last year a few boats got caught on old fishing ropes and moorings at the extreme low tide but I am sure organisers have cleared these obstacles by now.'

Asked what the next number in the series for YANMAR Racing might be, after placing 11 and 6 so far in this year's World Match Racing Tour events, Gilmour smiled and replied 'Let's wait and see.'

YANMAR Racing crew at the Korea Match Cup:
Peter Gilmour, Australia-Skipper
Yasuhiro Yaji, Japan-Pitman
Martin Berntsson, Sweden-Bowman
Thierry Douillard, France-Head Sail Trimmer
Cameron Dunn, New Zealand-Main Sail Trimmer

Korea Match Cup
World Match Racing Tour