Field narrowing at Match Racing Worlds

Published on October 28th, 2017

Shenzhen, China (October 28, 2017) – After a day of very little wind at the 2017 Match Racing World Championship, the breeze kicked in for the final hour before sunset and the drama unfolded. Defending World Champion Phil Robertson was on the ropes against young Australian Harry Price, but a gust from heaven combined with an enormous wind shift blasted the Kiwi past his rival and into the Semi Finals.

After catching up by more than half a leg, Robertson made no secret of his good fortune this evening. “That was the day, better to be lucky than good,” he smirked. “It was a pretty brutal day today, nasty conditions out there. Big shifts and puffs and holes everywhere. Difficult to navigate around the course but Harry Price did a nice job. We had the better of him twice in the starts but he managed to sail around us twice and I guess we’re lucky that we were able to get past him at the end with a massive shift.”

Meanwhile another Kiwi, Chris Steele, made short work of the six-time World Champion Ian Williams, as GAC Pindar crewman Richard Sydenham admitted afterwards. “It was very shifty all the time, and there were some crucial wind shifts about 20 seconds before both starts,” said Sydenham. “We weren’t fast enough to respond and Chris just sailed too well for us to be able to get back to him in either match.”

Steele’s confidence is growing by the day, and he’s looking forward to a Semi Final against his fellow Aucklander Robertson. “Phil’s had a target on his back all year and we’ve got an opportunity to take a pop at him which is really exciting. We know that if we sail like we did today we can beat anyone. If you look at our progress over the season we’ve been building up all year. We’re very confident with the way we’re sailing and we’re just getting better and better every time we go sailing.”

The young Kiwi knows he’s up against a competitor who won’t give an inch and is a master of the ‘smash n grab’, as he was against Price today. “We saw Phil’s lucky moment watching from the hotel,” said Steele. “It’s been like that all year but you can’t take it away from him. He seems to be getting the rub of the green a lot, but you have to give him credit that he puts himself in positions to take those chances.

“Harry’s lead in that last race looked unassailable and we were sitting hoping that he would go around the right-hand mark at the bottom; but he went left and that was going to give Phil a chance, and sure enough, he snuck through. We have gone over different processes about how you shut those opportunities down; that’s what we did today with Ian and if we keep putting our boat in the right place then it makes it hard for the other boat to get any chances.”

After a day of very little wind at the 2017 Match Racing World Championship, the breeze kicked in for the final hour before sunset and the drama unfolded. Defending World Champion Phil Robertson was on the ropes against young Australian Harry Price, but a gust from heaven combined with an enormous wind shift blasted the Kiwi past his rival and into the Semi Finals.

After catching up by more than half a leg, Robertson made no secret of his good fortune this evening. “That was the day, better to be lucky than good,” he smirked. “It was a pretty brutal day today, nasty conditions out there. Big shifts and puffs and holes everywhere. Difficult to navigate around the course but Harry Price did a nice job. We had the better of him twice in the starts but he managed to sail around us twice and I guess we’re lucky that we were able to get past him at the end with a massive shift.”

Meanwhile another Kiwi, Chris Steele, made short work of the six-time World Champion Ian Williams, as GAC Pindar crewman Richard Sydenham admitted afterwards. “It was very shifty all the time, and there were some crucial wind shifts about 20 seconds before both starts,” said Sydenham. “We weren’t fast enough to respond and Chris just sailed too well for us to be able to get back to him in either match.”

Steele’s confidence is growing by the day, and he’s looking forward to a Semi Final against his fellow Aucklander Robertson. “Phil’s had a target on his back all year and we’ve got an opportunity to take a pop at him which is really exciting. We know that if we sail like we did today we can beat anyone. If you look at our progress over the season we’ve been building up all year. We’re very confident with the way we’re sailing and we’re just getting better and better every time we go sailing.”

The young Kiwi knows he’s up against a competitor who won’t give an inch and is a master of the ‘smash n grab’, as he was against Price today. “We saw Phil’s lucky moment watching from the hotel,” said Steele. “It’s been like that all year but you can’t take it away from him. He seems to be getting the rub of the green a lot, but you have to give him credit that he puts himself in positions to take those chances.

“Harry’s lead in that last race looked unassailable and we were sitting hoping that he would go around the right-hand mark at the bottom; but he went left and that was going to give Phil a chance, and sure enough, he snuck through. We have gone over different processes about how you shut those opportunities down; that’s what we did today with Ian and if we keep putting our boat in the right place then it makes it hard for the other boat to get any chances.”

QUARTER FINAL RESULTS
PAIR 1: Chris Steele (NZL), 36 Below Racing 2-0 Vs. Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar
PAIR 2: Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift Racing 1-0 Vs. Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One
PAIR 3: Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team 2-1 Vs. David Gilmour (AUS), Team Gilmour
PAIR 4: Phil Robertson (NZL), China One Ningbo 2-1 Vs. Harry Price (AUS), Down Under Racing

SUPER 16 Round
PAIR 1: Chris Steele (NZL), 36 Below Racing 2-1 Vs. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN), ART Sailing
PAIR 2: Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One Sailing Team 2-0 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 2-0 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

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
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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