Light and fickle at Match Racing Worlds

Published on October 27th, 2017

Shenzhen, China (October 27, 2017) – Uncooperative conditions at the final event of the World Match Racing Tour are increasing the pressure on who will rise to claim the title of 2017 Match Racing World Champion.

The round of 16 remains incomplete on day four as pairings must get 3 wins to advance to the Quarter Finals, a count that Harry Price was on his way to achieving before the jury interceded.

After winning two crucial battles, the young Australian was up against Markus Edegran from the USA, but Price was penalised for a technical infringement. The International Jury ended up docking Price 0.5 points from each of his two victories. So this puts Price just 1-0 up against Edegran, leaving more work to be done tomorrow.

Price remained upbeat despite the setback after a long and gruelling day on the water. The sun was beating down hard, but the wind was only ever soft, barely flickering over 4 knots.

“We were 2-0 on the water, only 1-0 on the scoreboard,” said Price. “Overall a good day for us, two race wins and it looked like it might be a third one before it got called off. But as the scoreboard shows, we got a bit ahead of ourselves and put something on the boat we weren’t allowed to. We got pinged, that’s fine, that’s part of the rules and we’re happy to accept that.”

The battle of the 49er sailors saw David Gilmour dispatch the 2008 Olympic Champion Jonas Warrer 2-0 in their Super 16 battle. “It was a good day, long day of light wind sailing and we managed to get the best of our first two races,” said Gilmour. “It was unfortunate we couldn’t finish the best-of-five series but still happy to get to the next round.”

The Western Australian has learned the subtleties of racing the M32 in light winds better than most.

“The way you sail these boats changes a lot from just trying to fly the hull to committing to two hulls in, and sailing with the gennaker out upwind. Every couple of knots, you go from six to five to four knots, and it changes radically how you sail the boat, from having everyone working on the manoeuvres to having people going forwards to get the bows in and just having two people doing all the manoeuvres, which is how we ended up the day.”

Next up for Gilmour will be a Quarter Final match against fellow Western Australian Torvar Mirsky.

While Chris Steele’s match against Joachim Aschenbrenner should have been straightforward, it was anything but that. The New Zealander just couldn’t get his timing right for the start.

“It was a very tricky day, light and fickle conditions,” said Steele. “Full credit to Joachim and his team who got a number on us on the starts, 2-1 to him there. But Garth [Ellingham] picked some nice shifts and the boys dug us out of some big holes after the start.”

Despite the scares on the start line, Steele came through 2-1 against the young Dane. It’s a different story in the Quarter Finals against six-time World Champion Ian Williams who will be no pushover in the start or on the open race course.

“We’ve obviously got to be stronger against Ian Williams who’s going to be very tough in the pre-start,” said Steele. “There’s a lot to work on but we’re feeling confident as well.”

With the wind refusing to co-operate, the event is behind schedule and the Super 16 match between Taylor Canfield and Måns Holmberg is yet to begin. As former World Champion and Tour commentator Simon Shaw commented: “There’s only two days to go and we’re not even into the Quarter Finals, so the sailors are going to have to master some imperfect circumstances and be ready to win it quick.”

The remaining Super 16 and then Quarter Final stage matches will begin tomorrow at 10:00 local time in conditions forecast with more wind.

SUPER 16 Round (best of 5)
PAIR 1: Chris Steele (NZL), 36 Below Racing 2-0 Vs. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN), ART Sailing
PAIR 2: Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One Sailing Team Vs. Måns Holmberg (SWE), Gothenburg Racing
PAIR 3: Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team 3-1 Vs. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), Sailing Team NL
PAIR 4: Phil Robertson (NZL), China One Ningbo 3-0 Vs. Sam Gilmour (AUS), Neptune Racing
PAIR 5: Harry Price (AUS), Down Under Racing 1-0 Vs. Markus Edegran (USA), E11even Racing
PAIR 6: David Gilmour (AUS), Team Gilmour 2-0 Vs. Jonas Warrer (DEN), Warrer Racing
PAIR 7: Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift Racing 3-0 Vs. Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Flux Team
PAIR 8: Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar 3-1 Vs. Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), Essiq Racing Team

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Competition format:
• Day One and Two – Fleet race Qualifying in Groups. Each Group sails 6-8 races.
• Day Three – Bottom team from each Group compete in a sail-off to decide who moves on to the Super 16 knockout. Top three from each Group join the sail-off winners in a 16 team, first to three-point, knockout. 1v16, 2v15, 3v14 etc.
• Day Four – Sponsor day and remaining races from the Super 16 Knockout.
• Day Five – Quarter-Finals and start of Semi-Finals (knockout format).
• Day Six – Finish Semi-Finals and complete Final/Petit-Final (knockout format).

2017 World Championship Level Events:
WMRT Match Cup Australia, March 20-25
WMRT Congressional Cup, March 29-April 2
WMRT Match Cup Sweden, July 3-8
WMRT Match Cup Russia, August 1-6
WMRT Match Cup Chicago, September 26-October 1

WMRT Match Cup China, October 24-29

Background: In 2013, Swedish company Aston Harald AB acquired the design and production rights to the one-design M32 catamarans. In July 2015, Aston Harald AB acquired the World Match Racing Tour, which then began the use of the M32 during the 2016 Tour. Launched in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour is the leading professional match racing series sanctioned by World Sailing.

Source: WMRT

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