Today's remaining matches will be crucial, with only Williams, Ainslie and Radich looking quarter finalists
A 12-15 knot northerly breeze greeted competitors on day three of the Monsoon Cup.
At the start of Flight 11, Phil Robertson (WAKA Racing) faced Jesper Radich (Gaastra Racing Team). Radich won the start and the race. Keith Swinton (Black Swan Racing) was up against the very experienced Francesco Bruni (Team Azzurra). It was a bad pre-start for Swinton, landing a double penalty. Match over.
In the next match Bjorn Hansen (Hansen Global Racing) and Peter Gilmour (YANMAR Racing) met. Hansen was fastest on the left of the course Gilmour had the right. In the end Hansen beat Gilmour by a heart breaking one second. Gilmour was on 2 wins and five losses and in danger of not making the quarter finals.
Day two leader Ben Ainslie (TEAMORIGIN) and Adam Minoprio (ETNZ/ BlackMatch Racing) met in the next match, a must win for the struggling Minoprio, the 2009 World Champion. Minoprio on 2-4 was fighting for survival as the quarter final cut off approached.
It was an even start with Ainslie on the right first to the current, gradually edging forward, he squeezed up and Minoprio had to tack away. However Minoprio pulled off a great manoeuvre having enough separation to gain on a shift and as they approached the top mark Minoprio managed to lee-bow Ainslie and luffed up hard. Minoprio accelerated away while behind him Ainslie was slow. Minoprio rounded ahead and at the bottom mark was five lengths ahead.
After a tacking duel up the beat Minoprio was well ahead by six lengths, Ainslie was not close enough to gas the race leader and Minoprio earned his much needed win.
In Flight 12, two Western Australians faced each other, Keith Swinton (Black Swan Racing) and Peter Gilmour (YANMAR Racing). Gilmour was in control in the prestart, luffed Swinton up and was able to accelerate away for a good start. However in the down wind, Swinton found a private puff and sailed through Gilmour but the ‘Old Fox’ regained the lead on the second lap and held on for a narrow win.
Next it was Francesco Bruni (Team Azzurra) versus Adam Minoprio (ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing). Minoprio forced Bruni over the start line very early, Bruni had to go back leaving Minoprio to sail away by three lengths, to the current elevator on the right. Bruni fought hard and at the finish just held out Minoprio, who looked pensive at the stern of the boat as he rubbed his trademark stubble.
Bjorn Hansen (Hansen Global Racing) faced Ian Williams (Team GAC Pindar), the day two Monsoon Cup leader. The pressure was on Hansen, at 4-3 he needed a win. By contrast Williams who was 7-0, just wanted to keep his score sheet clean. From the start Williams won the right, but the tenacious Swede turned the match, taking the win, vital to his quarter final chances.
Torvar Mirsky (Mirsky Racing Team) faced Ben Ainslie (TEAMORIGIN) in the Monsoon Cup leader board battle, with both skippers on two losses and five wins.
Mirsky, who seems more controlled than in recent times, was penalised in the pre-start, allowing Ainslie to win the right with speed – a dream start for the Brit.
Mirsky, forced away to the left, found a lift and crossed to the right and kept attacking as the boats approached the right hand lay line. Ainslie held a length lead in softening conditions and a less than perfect gybe by TEAMORIGIN allowed Mirsky to close up. Mirsky came down wind with less adverse current, but Ainslie took the right hand mark with more current and more pressure. Down the last run conditions turned to glass and while Mirsky closed up, it was victory for Ainslie.
In Flight 15 Mathieu Richard, the current ISAF World Match Racing Tour leader will face Adam Minoprio, the defending Tour Champion in a knock out match for both. Both skippers have three wins and five losses at this event.
The remaining matches this afternoon will be crucial, with only Williams, Ainslie and Radich looking quarter finalists.
Current leader board on Day 3:
Ian Williams (Team GAC Pindar) 7-1
Ben Ainslie (TEAMORIGIN) 6-2
Jesper Radich (Gaastra Racing Team) 6-2
Bjorn Hansen (Hansen Global Team) 5-3
Torvar Mirsky (Mirsky Racing Team) 5-3
Peter Gilmour (YANMAR Racing) 3-5
Mathieu Richard (French Match Racing Team) 3-5
Adam Minoprio (ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing) 3-5
Phil Robertson (WAKA Racing) 2-6
Keith Swinton (Black Swan Racing) 2-6
Jeremy Koo (Koo Racing Team – Evernew) 0-8