Williams takes early lead

Team Pindar skipper 5-0 up on the opening day of the St Moritz Match Race

Thursday September 3rd 2009, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: United Kingdom
The 12 teams competing in the St. Moritz Match Race, the sixth stage of the World Match Racing Tour, today enjoyed sun and a thermal breeze that built to 15-20 knots over the afternoon. Ten flights were completed, half the round robin. The Race Committee played it safe considering the possible bad weather over the coming days and decided to launch a final flight at 17:30.

The first match of the day brought together the 'Latin' sailors of the event, with French, Swiss and Portuguese teams opening the show alongside Johnie Berntsson from Sweden. Three flights later, when the teams swapped boats, Alvaro Marinho's Portuguese Seth Sailing Team had the biggest smiles thanks to two victories against Sébastien Col and Mathieu Richard.

At the other end of the ranking, the local sailor Eric Monnin was disappointed with three losses while the three French teams each managed to grab two points.

“We didn’t sail well at all and we made too many mistakes. It is very frustrating, because it got worse throughout the day," said Monnin. "We got many penalties on mistakes that we should never have done. We need to get out of this bad trend quickly and start on a new basis tomorrow.”

The other six teams then completed five flights over the afternoon. Ian Williams' Team Pindar dominated his races, winning each one of them convincingly.

Williams commented: “We’ve had a great day and we are very happy with the way we sailed. In those conditions, you always need a bit of luck and you must be able to benefit from all the opportunities. And that’s what we have done all day. It is the fifth time that we sail here in St. Moritz and we really love it here; we feel very comfortable.”

Peter Gilmour's team, Yanmar Racing, wasn't as successful, only managing to win one single match against Francesco Bruni and the Team Joe Fly Match Race.

The six teams involved in the morning then went out on the water again at 5:00pm for their last two flights of the day. Revved up and on fire, they displayed all their talent and sailed aggressively, providing a fantastic show to the public only meters away from the shore.

The last races of the day were very close; sometimes even too close, giving a lot of work to the umpires. Several collisions resulted in penalties, and three cases had to be discussed in front of the Jury after the racing.

The rain finally put an end to the day, sending the exhausted crews back to the shore.

Bill Edgerton, Chief Umpire summed up: “We’ve had to judge too many collisions today; certainly more than we should see at this level, it is really regrettable. There is quite a bit of wind and the sailors need to get familiar with the boats. This might be one of the reasons. Other than this, it was an exceptional day for sailing and racing."

Results after 10 flights:
Skipper name, Nationality, Team name, Win / loss
Ian Williams, GBR, Team Pindar; 5/0 (0,5 point penalty)
Philippe Presti, FRA, French Match Racing Team; 4/1
Matthieu Richard, FRA, French Match Racing Team; 3/2
Sébastien Col, FRA, French Match Racing Team; 3/2
Torvar Mirsky, AUS, Mirsky Racing Team; 3/2
Björn Hansen, SWE, Onboard Sailing Team; 3/2
Alvaro Marinho, POR, Seth Sailing Team; 3/2
Adam Minoprio, NZL, ETNZ/BlackMatch; 2/3
Johnie Berntsson, SWE, Berntsson Sailing Team; 2/3
Francesco Bruni, ITA, Team Joe Fly Match Race; 2/3
Peter Gilmour, AUS, YANMAR Racing; 1/4
Eric Monnin, SUI, Swiss Match Race Team; 0/5

More photos on page 2....

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