Return of the king
The semi finals got underway just before 09.30 and first up were Peter Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing and Damien Iehl (FRA) French Team. The first match was the closest of their series with Iehl taking an early lead though he was carrying a penalty. Gilmour came back to lead by mark four of the three lap course but Iehl wasn’t about to give up and fought back to lead by the final mark. Down the final run Iehl fought hard to offload his penalty and a last ditch attempt brought him a second one to hand the match to Gilmour. A fired up Gilmour attacked the next two matches leading Iehl round the course to finish off his semi 3-0. Credit should go to Iehl for his tenacity as the score line doesn’t reflect how well he sailed.
The second semi final pitted the two French Match Racing Teams of Mathieu Richard (FRA) and Sebastien Col (FRA) against each other. Col won the first two matches but Richard rallied in the third to keep his hopes alive. The fourth match was all Col until a big left shift on the final beat allowed Richard to slide by. A better gybe set by Col gave him a sniff of victory but Richard held his nerve to take the win. The decider saw a split tack start with Col on the right. At the first cross it was Col who held the lead at the first mark. Richard snuck by down the run but at mark two Col had more speed and managed to sail around the outside of Richard and force him to tack away to the right. Richard held the power of the right and led at mark three and four but not by more than a metre. Col tacked away this time and tried to gain some leverage on Richard but Richard wasn’t going to cede control and managed to push Col out to the starboard layline and lead him into the final mark and then onto the finish.
The petit final featured Seb Col (FRA) against Damien Iehl (FRA) in a first to two point duel. Iehl took the first but only just. Then Col returned the favour in the second to push them into a decider. A fired up Sebastien Col blazed off the line in the third match leading Damien Iehl throughout and taking third place.
A wind shift before the finals to a more westerly direction enabled the Race Committee to make the course longer, drop to two laps and give the gathering crowds more to see. In first match the boats were overlapped most of the way around the course and on the second upwind leg an attempted slam dunk by Richard resulted in him being penalised. Richard still led around the final mark but was unable to manoeuvre into a position to offload the penalty and so Gilmour went one up. The second race was Gilmour all the way but Richard came back in the third to lead Gilmour around the course until the last mark when the boats went around overlapped with Gilmour to windward. Gilmour slowly rolled over Richard and with a rapid spinnaker hoist was able to inch clear of the attacking Richard. A dummy gybe sent Richard right down the run and when the boats re-converged Gilmour was a length ahead and barrelling towards the line to take his seventh Match Cup Sweden.
A delighted Gilmour said “The team did a great job this week. I think there is never an easy win. Marstrand is a sensational venue and having been here longer than most I probably get cheered by default unless I’m sailing against a Swede and out there you can hear everything being shouted, it’s just great, we love it. Mathieu and all the French teams have done a great job and all credit to the system they have in place it’s turning into a bit of a talent factory.”
A disappointed Richard said “We tried to do the same to Peter as we did to Sebastien and come back from 2-0 down but we missed it. Peter sailed very well, we led twice but both times he overtook. We’ve have a fantastic event and have had great spectator support. I have now be six, four and now two in the results so maybe next year I can make it number one.”
A positive note for Richard is his rise to the top of the World Tour leader board with 68 points, followed by Adam Minoprio (NZL) in second and Match Cup Sweden winner Peter Gilmour (AUS) leaping up to third. The Tour takes a break now for the rest of July and August but comes back in the first week of September when the teams head into the mountains of Switzerland for the St Moritz Match Race.
Semi Final Results
Peter Gilmour v Damien Iehl (FRA) 3-0
Mathieu Richard v Sebastien Col (FRA) 3-2
Sebastien Col (FRA) v Damien Iehl (FRA) 2-1
Peter Gilmour (AUS) v Mathieu Richard (FRA) 3-0
1st – Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
2nd – Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Team
3rd – Sebastien Col (FRA) French Team/K-Challenge
4th – Damien Iehl (FRA) French Team
5th – Magnus Homlberg (SWE) Victory Challenge
6th – Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
7th – Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
8th – Philippe Presti (FRA) French Match Racing Team
9th – Peter Wibroe (DEN) Wibroe Sailing Team
10th – Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch
11th – Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar
12th – Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team
13th – Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Team Onico
14th – Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Joe Fly Match Race