Photos: SubZero Images/ WMRT

Mirsky unbeaten

Young Australian on fire on day two of the Argo Group Gold Cup

Wednesday October 6th 2010, Author: Rupert Holmes, Location: Bermuda

Australian Torvar Mirsky showed just why he is earmarked for future glory in world match racing by storming to an unbeaten run of five match races after Qualifying Session 2 at the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda. If reigning World Champion Adam Minoprio and Mathieu Richard stole the lion’s share of the early headlines, it’s the calm and collected young Australian who is now stamping his authority all over the penultimate event of the 2010 World Match Racing Tour.

American Dave Perry, Portugal's Alvaro Mininho and Swede Johnie Berntsson all succumbed to Mirsky’s tactical nous today. However, it was far from plain sailing for the Australian team with their match against Perry notably tight, forcing the umpires to work overtime to deal with a deluge of protests.This was toe-to-toe action with Perry collecting the first penalty in the pre-start and then Mirsky taking one back during a series of rapid gybes on the first run. A further penalty for Mirsky seemed to shake the Australian team into focus as they then stuck three penalties on Perry in quick succession as they approached the leeward mark. It was textbook match racing which Perry simply had no answer to.

Looking ahead, Mirsky is far from complacent: “We haven’t won the competition yet, so our results so far don’t count for anything. Like everyone else we’re still getting used to these –boats, our starts aren’t great and our decisions are too rushed. That said, we’re confident that we will continue to sail well.”

The World Match Racing Tour is famed for bringing through emerging talent and today in Bermuda one of those prodigies came to the fore. American Taylor Canfield defied his age to peg back the current leader in the Tour standings, Mathieu Richard in emphatic fashion. The French skipper trailed the 21 year-old around the course however with a penalty holding him back, the young skipper’s only option was to slow down in an attempt to pin one on Richard. This marked the start of three incredible minutes of tactical jostling. Richard took a risk to take control of the race, but misjudged it and collected a red flag penalty, leaving both boats with a penalty to take after crossing the finish line. Canfield got back onto the course side and completed his first, but Richard fouled his young opponent a second time while taking his turn, a move for which he eventually paid the ultimate price in a black flag disqualification.

Both skippers went on to win their next races however Richard has lost his chance of proceeding straight to the Quarter-Finals and now faces a must-win match against Jesper Radich of Gaastra Racing Team if he is to make the Qualifying play-off. It will be a tough ask though as Radich holds a cast-iron record at the Argo Group Gold Cup, including a victory in 2002, and continued that form today, winning all his matches.

In the tightly-fought battles today, two skippers – Ian Williams and Richard – collected half-point penalties for boat damage. Both requested a jury hearing, but only Williams was successful, in convincing the judges that he hadn’t broken the boat contact rules in his match against against Marinho resulting in him getting the half point back again.

Tomorrow will see more intense action on the waters of Hamilton Harbour in the final fights for the Quarter-Final places.

Results:

Group 1
Jesper Radich (DEN) - 5-1
Taylor Canfield (USVI) - 5-1
Phil Robertson (NZL) - 3-3
Mathieu Richard (FRA) - 2.5-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) - 2-4
Lucy Macgregor (GBR) - 2-4
Mike Buckley (USA) - 2-4
Terry McLaughlin (CAN) - 2-4

Group 2
Adam Minoprio (NZL) - 4-1
Eric Monnin (SUI) - 4-1
Reuben Corbett (NZL) - 4-1
Ben Ainslie (GBR) - 3-2
Damien Iehl (FRA) - 2-3
Lance Fraser (BER) - 1-5
Jakub Pawluk (POL) - 0-5

Group 3
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) - 5-0
Ian Williams (GBR) - 4-1
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) - 4-1
Alvaro Marinho (POR) - 3-2
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) - 1-4
Blythe Walker (BER) - 1-5
Dave Perry (USA) - 0-5

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