Matt Jerwood leads Warren Jones Youth Match Racing Regatta

Published on January 29th, 2014

Perth, Australia (January 29, 2014) – The second day of racing at the Warren Jones International Youth Match Racing Regatta started in a light south easterly, which as forecast died away to nothing in the middle of the day and shifted to a solid south wester as Perth’s famous “Fremantle Doctor” kicked in at 20 knots plus.

Rookie skipper Matt Jerwood showed remarkable composure today to finish at the head of the points table with 11 wins from 12 races. Round robin 1 is complete and the first flight of Round robin 2 finished today’s activities.

Current titleholder David Gilmour is next with 10 wins from 12 races and Chris Steele has also suffered just two defeats, but has only completed 11 races so far.

Racing continued to be remarkably close today, underscoring the observation that the field in this year’s Warren Jones Regatta is the best we have seen. When it is possible for the crews near the bottom of the table to still score wins against those near the top, as the Japanese skipper Kohei Ichikawa did today, is evidence enough that every crew needs to be on top of its game at the start of every race or suffer the consequences.

There were some exciting races in the fading breeze during the morning, with rewards to those who were observant enough (or lucky enough) to pick the windshifts, but the race that had everyone talking was the classic between Will Tiller and Matt Jerwood. Their first meeting yesterday morning resulted in a very narrow win to Jerwood. In the last race of the day however, Jerwood turned the top mark for the final leg to the finish with a small lead, but carrying a penalty. Jerwood elected not to set a spinnaker, centred the main and slowed the boat down. Midway through the downwind leg he had an overlap as Tiller, also desperately trying to slow his boat inched forward.

Near the finish line with both boats aiming for the boat end of the line and on starboard tack, Jerwood put the helm down and forced Tiller to sail towards the pin, parallel to the finish line. With clinical patience, Jerwood waited until there was enough room to complete a tack and gybe to clear his penalty, which also gave Tiller one last chance to dive down to the line. His crew went for the spinnaker, which did not launch cleanly, while Jerwood’s crew did the same and side by side, both made the desperate lunge for the finish. Jerwood got the nod from the finish boat and the admiration of spectators for his cool head under enormous pressure, but the huge cheer from the boat when they realised they had achieved their objective was clear evidence that they had felt the pressure – even if they did not show it!

“We knew that our first job was to establish the overlap,” Jerwood said later. “Once we had done that, we talked about how we would handle the finish and the boys did the job they had to do perfectly.”

It is difficult to fully appreciate the degree of difficulty of the manoeuvre. The breeze was upwards of 20 knots at the time and the Foundation 36 yachts were still carrying full mains and overlapping genoas. Good boat handling was paramount. Will Tiller won this regatta in 2010 and has extensive success on the international match racing circuit. It augurs well for Jerwood and his team.

Scores after Flight 1 of the second round robin:
Matt Jerwood – 11wins; 1 loss
David Gilmour – 10 wins; 2 losses
Chris Steele – 9 wins; 2 losses
Chris Staub – 6 wins; 5 losses
Will Tiller – 6 wins; 6 losses
Chris Poole – 5 wins; 6 losses
Sam Gilmour – 5 wins; 6 losses
Tristan Brown – 5 wins; 7 losses
Andy Green – 4 wins; 7 losses
Adam Middleton – 2 wins; 10 losses
Kohei Ichikawa – 2 wins; 10 losses
Ash Rooklyn – 2 wins; 10 losses

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