Mirsky and Williams through
Torvar Mirsky and Ian Williams have booked their places in the Quarter-Finals of the Portimão Portugal Match Cup after commanding displays on the second day of Qualifying. Mirsky and his The Wave, Muscat team were the standout act of the day winning all of their matches to progress to the next round as the man to beat. Williams of Team GAC Pindar added another three wins to his tally to secure his place in the Quarter-Finals.
The day also saw the departure of New Zealand's Reuben Corbett f AON Racing and Finland's Olli-Pekka Lumijarvi who cannot advance to the Quarter-Finals after finishing Qualifying Session two with respective scores of 3-7 and 2-7. The fates of the remaining eight teams are this evening hanging in the balance, with each team needing to claim points in the final Qualifying Session to ensure their continuation in the event.
Current World Match Racing Tour leader Italian Francesco Bruni is another needing to put in a big display tomorrow to stay in the competition with only three wins to his name so far. With three matches left to sail tomorrow, the pressure is on the Tour leader to prove his skill as qualifying reaches its climax.
The most dramatic moment of the day came in Bruni’s match with Portuguese skipper Alvaro Marinho as the two boats approached the first mark. Marinho luffed Bruni forcing the Italian to keep clear. Unfortunately for Bruni his path was blocked by a media RIB and the two collided, Bruni’s yacht mounting the back of the RIB and forcing it under water. Bruni was unable to continue racing and race officials ordered the match be resailed tomorrow.
“We’re not super happy with the way we’re sailing here in Portugal,” Bruni said. “We have to turn it round and be strong tomorrow. We made a few mistakes here and there. The crash with the press boat was a bit scary, it’s the first time I have hit a press boat. We’re a bit on the back foot now so we have to react tomorrow and sail better.”
After leading the standings going into today’s second Qualifying Session, France's Mathieu Richard ran into trouble early on losing his three matches back to back and picking up a 0.5-point penalty for a collision with Bruni. Richard then mounted a comeback, winning the next three matches to put him back in contention for a Quarter-Final place.
Richard said: “It was a really strange day for us. After three matches we had -0.5 points – it was a nightmare. Luckily we stayed concentrated and sailed very well in the next three matches winning them all against very strong opponents. We knew we had to win our matches against Williams and Berntsson and we did that so we’re very happy but we need another win tomorrow to make it to the Quarter-Finals.”
Also hanging dangerously around the drop zone are 2011 Korea Match Cup winner Bjorn Hansen and his fellow Swede Johnie Berntsson who end the day on 4-4 and 5-5 respectively. Along with Peter Gilmour of Yanmar Racing and France's Damien Iehl, Hansen has three matches yet to sail in which to pick up much-needed points – but for Berntsson his fate rests on the result of his one remaining match with Lumijarvi.
Standings after the second Qualifying Session:
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat 6-1
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 6-4
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 5.5-4
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 5-5
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 5-3
Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners 5-3
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 4-4
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 4-4
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing 3-4
Alvaro Marinho (POR) Seth Sailing Team 3-6
Reuben Corbett (NZL) Aon Racing Team 3-7
Olli-Pekka Lumijarvi (FIN) Siragusawa Sailing Team 2-7
2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings (After Stage 3):
1 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing – 59pts
2 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing – 48pts
3 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 41pts
4 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat – 31pts
5 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners – 28pts
6 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team – 27pts
7 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 27pts
8 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 24pts
9 Bertrand Pace (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team – 22pts
10 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar – 21pts