Into the quarterfinals

Ainslie still on song at the Monsoon Cup

Friday December 4th 2009, Author: World Match Racing Tour, Location: United Kingdom
The Pulau Duyong Monsoon Cup match racing course is the meeting of the two Terengganu river flows, which split above the Island; the heavier right hand flow is deeper water, while the left hand flow is slower and shallower.

On the first few days of the Monsoon Cup the start line was well to the right and the course was heavily biased, with the boat winning the right side drag race winning the match. But today, for the completion of the round robin matches and for the start of the quarter finals, the start line moved to the left, making the course much more even.

Adam Minoprio and his Emirates Team New Zealand BlackMatch crew faced a sudden death match, fighting for his season with a scoreline of 4-6, against Sebastien Col, 6-4 (French Match Racing Team ALL4ONE).

Sebastien Col attracted a penalty while Minoprio was looking for a clean start. The pair battled throughout the match; Minoprio finally taking the win to keep his World Tour Championship hopes alive.

On the BlackMatch boat a relieved Adam Minoprio said: "We did not quite get the pin, but we made better use of the current. There was a huge gain from that mark. A huge relief!"

In the other matches to complete the round robin, Torvar Mirsky (Mirsky Racing Team) defeated Peter Gilmour (Yanmar Racing).

Mathieu Richard (French Team) beat Ben Ainslie and his TeamOrigin crew handsomely.

Francesco Bruni and his Italian Azzurra team took the last match in the last flight from Ian Williams and Team Pindar.

Bruni said: "A good way to end. We came into this event, very tired from a big season. We've sailed Farr 40s, TP52s, LV and more. But we have no regrets, it’s a fascinating venue."

The skippers who did not make the quarter finals were Magnus Holmberg (Victory Challenge) 5-6, Francesco Bruni (Azzurra), 4-7, Ian Williams (Team Pindar) 4-7 and Hazwan Hazim (Taring Pelangi TESA) 0-11.

Onto the quarter finals and Ben Ainslie (TeamOrigin) chose to sail against Damien Iehl (French Team). Ainslie controlled the left, while Iehl was very happy to go right, and the race started with a big split. Iehl gained two lengths in the heavier current, running up to five knots. But down the run Ainslie gained, staying out of the adverse current.

"What a random place" was the comment Ainslie made to his dual gold medal mainsheet hand Iain Percy.

TeamOrigin headed for the right hand side having chosen the opposite side earlier. They had made one mistake - they did not make another. They sailed to an easy victory.

Dockside the triple gold medallist Ben Ainslie said: "We felt for Ian and Team Pindar, he has been on the top of the Tour for two seasons and now he has lost his chance to defend his title, but he will be back.

"We thought we had a pretty good handle on the course until the Committee Boat was moved to the middle. The left hand versus right hand river decision has become hard. Now it’s become a tale of two rivers. For the first time in the week, we had a situation where either side could win. We went left but Damien Iehl had chosen best from the start, but we managed to stay close and overtake and then we led right."

In the other quarter final matches, Peter Gilmour pushed young Perth competitor Torvar Mirsky to the left side of the line, before heading right. Mirsky headed right, but he fell in behind Gilmour and was unable to make an impression.

Forced over the line early by Adam Minoprio (BlackMatch Racing), Mathieu Richard (French Match Racing Team) had to fight to stay in contact. At the bottom mark for the second time, Minoprio was two lengths ahead and headed right. But Richard gained rapidly in the left hand current; Minoprio was just a length ahead.

With Richard failing to keep clear in a luffing match, the Frenchman attracted one penalty then another. All Minoprio had to do was to stay clear to win.

A visibly happier Adam Minoprio said: "We are happy to have squeezed through and wipe the slate clean." Grinning broadly he commented about his quarter final win: "We were able to watch the first two sides and see how they went and that did not help us at all ..... just pleased to win. Even after Richard had the second penalty, there was still risk with the two river flows."

Although Phil Robertson lost his quarter final match against Sebastien Col this afternoon, he was still irrepressible: "Five - five yesterday, a wicked day. In our first quarter final match we won the start we wanted left and the right was better, but lots made that mistake, It will be a big day tomorrow, we will come out pumped."

The last quarter final match was the two Perth, Australian skippers, the old bull Peter Gilmour and the young bull Torvar Mirsky.

Peter Gilmour commented: "We knew we had to come out and win this morning, - for everyone it was tough, to see Ian Williams in eleventh place, any one of us could have been there. We were pleased with our first quarter finals match, (tongue in cheek – he grinned as a Terengganu local, I had it all worked out.)"

Mirsky added: "We were just ahead at the top, but Peter is correct, we actually think he has the keys to the (Kenyir) dam spillway and probably flicked it to get more current. and found more current and won."

With days of monsoon rain, 50 kilometres upstream the Kenyir Dam spillway is roaring and the Terengganu ‘tale of two rivers’ will continue through the balance of racing and into the finals.

Quarter Final Results
(After 1 Flight)
Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin vs Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 1-0
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/ALL4ONE vs Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 1-0
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing vs Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 1-0
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing vs Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 1-0

Day 3 Round Robin Results
1st Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin 8-3
2nd Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/ALL4ONE 7-4
3rd Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 7-4
4th Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 7-4
5th Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 7-4
6th Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 6-5
7th Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 6-5
8th Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 5-6
9th Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge 5-6
10th Francesco Bruni (ITA) Team Azzura 4-7
11th Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar 4-7
12th Hazwan Hazim Dermawan (MAS) Taring Pelangi Team 0-11

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