Frenchman Mathieu Richard arrived at the Monsoon Cup with a 15 point advantage over Adam Minoprio (and 17 points over Ben Ainslie)
Mathieu Richard has arrived at the Monsoon Cup confident that he can silence his critics and claim his maiden ISAF Match Racing World title. The Frenchman has led the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) from the opening regatta at Match Race France in April and heads into the season ending event in Malaysia with a 15 point advantage over Adam Minoprio.
The pressure has been mounting on Richard in recent weeks after failing to make it through the qualifying stages of the last event in Bermuda, while people have also questioned the Frenchman’s decision to race in Perth last week with Richard having a poor track record of racing back to back.
Richard remains unfazed and is confident he can stand up to the pressure and win the title: “We thought long and hard about going to Perth and chose to go there to purely prepare for the Monsoon Cup. Our goal was to build up to this week and get a good feeling. We wanted to practice our starts against high quality opponents and overall i’m delighted with how we sailed. It would have been nice to beat Robertson but we only lost 3-2 and it gave us some time off to relax and have a break.”
“We’ve come here with the lead on the Tour and its great to have the number one ranking. Adam and Ben are close and with so many points on offer anything can happen. We can’t afford to try and calculate where we need to finish, we need to aim to win. At the Monsoon Cup we have had so so results. We reached the final some years ago and lost to Peter Holmberg of Alinghi. We’ve also had some not so good races like last year when we came fifth. Our results have been so so but we know we can do well here.”
Focusing on tactics for the week Richard highlighted the unique nature of the currents as being key to gaining the advantage in the races: “The venue here in Malaysia is a special one. Its on a river and the club and whole complex is on an island with two rivers on either side of the island. That means there are two currents which can get very strong.”
“The current is the most important of all the conditions to deal with. What makes it difficult is that its not the same across the racing area. We find that the right is much better. The aim is to tack right off the committee boat and get the best position,” he added.
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Tour standings ahead of the Monsoon Cup:
1. Mathieu Richard / French Team* 105
2. Adam Minoprio / ETNZ/BlackMatch* 90
3. Ben Ainslie / TEAMORIGIN 88
4. Torvar Mirsky / Mirsky Racing Team* 76
5. Ian Williams / Team GAC Pindar 72
6. Jesper Radich / Gaastra Racing Team 60
7. Francesco Bruni / Azzura 53
8. Peter Gilmour / YANMAR Racing 51
* Best 5 results count plus the final event