Ben Ainslie was first through today with a clean score sheet against the current Tour leader Mathieu Richard
The mind games commenced on day three of the Stena Match Cup Sweden as the quarter finals started with a first to three points scenario – taking care of the semi-final selection of Stage 5 of the ISAF World Match Racing Tour. All eight teams had a tight rope to walk today balancing out joint commitments to both match racing boat positioning and on course strategy looking for the pressure in between shadowed pools near the two headlands.
The four remaining helms are: Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN, who was first to go through ahead of Mathieu Richard (FRA) on a clean score sheet of 3-0; Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team after defeating Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 3-1; Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Sigma Racing Team, who convincingly beat Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 3-1; and Jesper Radich (DEN) Radich Racing Team, who knocked out Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra 3-2.
There were a number of defining moments today. For Ainslie’s third and final match of the day – against the 2010 WMRT’s current overall leader, Mathieu Richard – the triple gold medalist went for a clean start, while Richard opted to try to pin a penalty on Ainslie. This was a mistake, as he disrupted his boat speed momentum for the first beat – so essential in lighter airs. Ainslie never looked back, motoring off into clean air and a comfortable lead.
Ainslie explained why he concentrated on boat speed for the start in match three: “The first two starts we had struggled pushing back to the line as it was a bit lighter and there was current against us coming back to the line and so the last start we led back. We were in a really strong position although we had a pretty close incident when Mathieu tacked and luffed us and we didn’t really have any room to keep clear but we managed to and it was a green flag which was really good for us as he was then late giving us a nice start.”
Holmberg shot from the hip today also, with a strong emphasis placed on time and distance. He commanded the left hand side of the race course, not even becoming flustered when a boat from a different match affected his wind on the track. “Before we started we said we felt the left was strong so that’s where we wanted to go and it seemed like the right call but then again it can change quick”. Holmberg has made the semis here 11 times out of 16, but he modestly credited his crew today with his victories and looked forward to more Marstrand racing.
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Jesper Radich (DEN) Rudy Project Sailing Team
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN
Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Sigma Racing Team