Minoprio the new champion

24 year old Kiwi claims 2009 World Match Racing Tour

Saturday December 5th 2009, Author: World Match Racing Tour, Location: United Kingdom
The 2009 World Match Racing Championship was at stake on the final morning of the Monsoon Cup, the last round of the 2009 World Match Racing Tour in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.

When this regatta started Australian Torvar Mirsky and his MRT crew were number two ranked on the World Match Racing Tour leaderboard and 12 points behind New Zealander Adam Minoprio and his Emirates Team New Zealand BlackMatch Racing Team.

Mirsky was down 0-2 against the defending Monsoon Cup champion, the America's Cup and World Match Racing Tour veteran, Peter Gilmour. The maths showed that if Mirsky was eliminated in the Monsoon Cup quarter finals and Adam Minoprio was to win his battle with Mathieu Richard, Minoprio would become the World Match Racing Champion.

Entering the starting box Minoprio had his game face on... he nailed the start and was two lengths ahead on the left of the course. Richard was on the right. The two boats came back fast with Richard having gained on the right. After contact at the top mark Minoprio was given a penalty; Richard a red flag, meaning he had to take an immediate penalty.

Minoprio extinguished his penalty and went on to win the match. Dockside the BlackMatch skipper was calm as he said: "We were feeling the pressure a little before that last match. The current is very hard to read, its varying with the tide and there are swirls and eddies. You have watch the match ahead of you to see who does best, left or right and then it might not mean much anyway."

Mirsky beat Gilmour in the third race; the scoreline was now 1-2.

Mirsky had to win the next match in order to earn a fifth and final match that he would also need to win. Peter Gilmour needed to win the match and then the Monsoon Cup in order to come second on the World Tour. Mirsky had to finish sixth or worse in order to lose his current second place ranking. Ben Ainslie has a sniff at second place if he wins the Monsoon Cup, so all was at stake.

The tension on Mirsky's boat was palpable. They had to win the next two races to keep their World Championship hopes alive.

Coming towards the top mark Gilmour was ahead by half a boat length. Gilmour was inside boat entitled to room; he took Mirsky head to wind but did not keep clear and was given a penalty.

Mirsky decided to follow Gilmour, hoping to stay close enough to pounce when Gilmour did his penalty turn. On the third beat Gilmour was 45 metres ahead, looking to do his penalty turn in the best tide. Mirsky closed to 40 metres giving Gilmour no option but do a finishing line spin.

Mirksy finished first, but was penalised and Gilmour won the match. As the penalty flag went up, there were loud cheers on the balcony overlooking the Pulau Duyong course.

Adam Minoprio is the new World Match Racing Champion.

It was all black and silver, as Minoprio high fived his crew. There was chaos for a few minutes, with crew, family and supporters all yelling. Minoprio settled and said "Wow, this is sensational. Talk about lows and highs. Its very tricky out there. Yesterday morning we were down, struggling to make the quarters, we just scraped in, now we've make the semis and we are the new World Champions.

"Right now we are going to cheer for Phil Robertson. We really want to meet him in the final. That would be perfect."

Alas it was not to be as Robertson was penalised in a vigorous pre-start stoush and Sebastien Col won the deciding match of their flight. Col now heads for the semifinals along with triple gold medallist Ben Ainslie, defending Monsoon Cup Champion Gilmour and the new World Champion.

Torvar Mirsky dockside congratulated Minoprio. "We are obviously disappointed. The match with Gillie (Peter Gimour) was so close, coming towards the finish line, we though he might complete his turn, so we had to engage. We were sure the penalty would have gone the other way. Tomorrow we will be fighting for fifth and we will be back harder than ever in 2010."

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