Vintage Match Racing in Monohulls
Published on February 16th, 2017
by Dave Perry, US Match Racing Committee
A video of a monohull match race between Sam Gilmour and Phil Robertson, the number 3 and 4 match racers in the World, offers both insightful audio and visual action at the Monsoon Cup.
Phil crosses Sam on port up the first beat, but then gives Sam the right side near the top and pays dearly. As Phil is ducking, Sam puts his bow down. This is normally green flagged unless there is contact. In this case, Phil cuts it too close and there is contact and Phil gets a penalty. It is not a red-flag because he did not gain control as a result of fouling.
Phil tries to stop the race at the windward mark but gets too slow. You will hear how important (and difficult) it is for the driver to communicate his intentions to the crew. It is very tricky because in these unscripted situations, it is very much dependent on what the other boat does, so often the driver does not know what the next move will be. Sam gets back ahead.
Down the run, Phil gets a small overlap and because there is no rule 17 (proper course rule) in match racing anymore, Phil luffs Sam aggressively. I think Sam didn’t try his hardest to keep clear and was surprised that he did not get a penalty.
Sam remained ahead at the leeward gate, but Phil got the right due to a better rounding (Sam should have sailed much wider, while staying in the zone, and rounded tight on the mark; there is no rule 18.4 (another proper course rule) limitation at a gate mark.
Phil takes the lead up the beat, but needs approximately 4 lengths to be able to spin (to shed his penalty) and win the race. He gambles and tries to do the turn at the finishing line, but the wind went soft just as he got there and Sam was able to close in and beat him across the line.
So many opportunities for each boat to win had they done things slightly differently in retrospect. That’s why it is so important to debrief every race, to eliminate the subtle mistakes and be ready for the unexpected when it occurs.
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