Pressure for Emirates Team NZ going into the last event, while Team Origin lead and are progressing well
Adam Minoprio and his Emirates Team New Zealand BlackMatch crew faced a sudden death match, going into the last event in the World Match Racing Tour, fighting for his season at 4-6, against Sebastien Col, 6-4.
Minoprio and his crew were almost ready to slash their wrists after losing against Ian Williams, with their World Match Racing Tour Championship 12 point lead set to evaporate if they failed to make the quarter-finals.
So the pressure was on. In the first dial up Sebastien Col attracted a penalty and Minoprio was looking for a clean start. Minoprio was chasing Col, but Col had the favoured left hand side. Col hit the left hand river, flowing fast towards the China Sea. He accelerated towards the mark, but Minoprio took more time to get to the stronger current and closed up quickly on the French team.
Minoprio went round the right hand bottom mark, took the right hand side of the course and grabbed the lead. The New Zealander extended to three lengths on the run; all of a sudden Minoprio and his crew were back in the battle for the world title.
Sebastien Col, with a penalty yet to execute, may have sailed to the wrong bottom mark.
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 all Australian battle in the last flight of the Round Robin between Monsoon Cup defending champion Peter Gilmour and current Tour number 2 Torvar Mirsky, Mirsky was flagged in the pre-start, but the young gun Mirsky hit the tidal flow first and was able to extend, do his penalty turn and hold the lead. Both these crews will make the quarter finals where their battle will continue.
Mathieu Richard (French Team) beat Ben Ainslie and his TeamOrigin crew. 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 40’s, TP52’s, LV and more. But we have no regrets, its a fascinating venue.”
The skippers who did not make the quarter finals are 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. Current Tour Champion Ian Williams has not had the happiest of times at the Monsoon Cup and appears to be out of contention for the World Match Racing Tour title this year.
Ben Ainslie, on the other hand, leads in Malaysia and he and his TeamOrigin crew are getting stronger as the event progresses.
To see the Quarter Final Pairings, visit www.monsooncup.com.my