Friday, 3 October 2008

Emirates continues Team New Zealand support and Backs New TP52 Campaign

by Warren Douglas

Emirates, the Dubai-based global airline, on Wednesday confirmed its continued support for New Zealand and the sport of sailing by renewing its successful partnership with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Following on from last week’s announcement that Emirates has become the first Worldwide Partner to sign up for Rugby World Cup 2011, the airline has also committed to backing Emirates Team New Zealand on the Mediterranean TP52 regatta circuit next year.

TP52s are pure racing platforms, high performance monohulls capable of racing in both buoy regattas and offshore races. They are 52ft long and race with a crew of 15.

TP52s do not have water ballast, canting keels or running back stays; owners preferring to keep it simple, safe and reliable. They can easily exceed 25 knots off the wind and frequently break 30 knots, and have won the majority of bluewater regattas that they have entered, as well as a number of high-profile buoy races against the best boats in the world.

The team has started building a TP52 yacht in Auckland. It will be launched on February 17 and shipped to Europe in mid-March. It will compete under the Emirates banner, with the award-winning airline and Matteo de Nora, a strategic adviser to the team, funding the project.

In signing the sponsorship agreement in Auckland on behalf of Emirates, Gary Chapman, President Group Services, Emirates Group, said: “We saw a fabulous 33rd contest for the America’s Cup, with Emirates Team New Zealand winning the Louis Vuitton challenger series and then putting up a fantastic effort in the America’s Cup challenge itself. We were as inspired by this great challenge as much as the New Zealand public was and we are delighted to once more get behind Emirates Team New Zealand with this TP52 initiative, and beyond to 2011.

“Emirates Team New Zealand has proved its worth on the water as a real competitor, and, it is fair to say, it surpassed our international expectations promotionally on the global stage as a brand builder.

“Our participation has also underlined our commitment to the New Zealand market, in which we are now a key player with four wide-bodied services a day from New Zealand to Dubai and beyond via Australia.

“When we first backed the team in 2004 we saw in it many features that we could relate to, including its drive, focus and competitiveness. The team continues to also seek excellence in all aspects of its operation and in all these respects we feel there a strong compatibility with Emirates Airline as an award-winning international airline.”

Mr. Chapman said Emirates Team New Zealand now had the opportunity to take its performance to another level.

“With new inflight comfort, services and entertainment features in our fleet, and the Airbus A380 super-jumbos coming into New Zealand in 2009, we are also going up another notch.”

Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker said the Grand Prix TP52 circuit is one of the most competitive in the world. “A team entry on the circuit is the next logical step in our preparation for a next multi-challenge America’s Cup.

“The Med Cup circuit got going three years ago and each year has got better and better to the point where it is now the absolute top-end of keel boat racing outside the America’s Cup.

Many of the 2007 America’s Cup teams are involved, as teams or crewing on the boats.

The aim has been to use the expertise available within the team to compete on a circuit widely regarded as the most competitive in the world.

The ETNZ TP52 was designed by the team’s principal designer Marcelino Botin and structural and mechanical engineers. Sail and rig designers have also been involved. Members of the sailing team have designed the deck layout and internal systems.

Building started at Cookson Boats on the North Shore on 15th September. It will be launched on 17th February next year. Sea trials and testing will follow and the yacht will be shipped to Europe in mid-March 2009.

Dean Barker said: “The TP52 is still a development class and there’s scope to optimise every part of the boat’s equipment and operation, much as there has been in the America’s Cup Class.

“The TP52 will give us the opportunity to continue to develop and test the sailing team in preparation for the next multi-challenge America’s Cup.”

“With a crew of 15 we will be able to work on combinations and communications that we use on the Cup boats. These boats at 52ft long are like big, high-performance dinghies, something like the new AC 90 class and they definitely reward good crew work.

“If a team is to stay sharp and focused it needs to sail as a team. With a crew of 15, the TP52 will let us work combinations and communications in full-on racing conditions.”

ETNZ sailing team members have been represented on the Med Cup circuit previously, most notably on board Mean Machine the 2006 winner. This year Bribon, often helmed by the King of Spain, was sailed into second place overall by Dean Barker.

Grant Dalton said he appreciated the continued support from the team's naming sponsor, Emirates. "This project and continuing support gives us a team-wide focus while we wait for final resolution to the Oracle/Alinghi legal action.”

Emirates Team New Zealand

Thursday, 2 October 2008

World Match Racing Tour: Williams still on Top, but the French are Closing

Ian Williams of Team Pindar: current World Tour leader. Image copyright Mark Lloyd.

by Dobbs Davis

With two events left, and discards now available, the top three teams converge on points towards year-end World Championship title.

On the strength of yet another Tour event win at last weekend’s Troia Portugal Match Cup, Sébastien Col (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge have closed to within only 4 points of current leader and reigning World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) and his Team Pindar. The series counts the highest-scoring five events plus scores from the Monsoon Cup towards this year’s World Championship crown.

Racing in Troia presented a variety of challenges, both from the skills of the 12-team field laden with America’s Cup, Olympic, and World Championship talent, to the racing conditions, which varied from light to fresh breezes and strong tidal current. Despite this, the three French Match Racing Teams of Col, Mathieu Richard, and Damien Iehl sailed exceptionally well, with all three finishing among the top four finishers in the Round Robin to go on to the Semi-Finals.

Richard and Col finished the round robin first and second, respectively, and by winning by mere centimetres in the final match of the Round Robin, Iehl took fourth place from Paolo Cian (ITA) and Torvar Mirsky (AUS) on a 3-way tie-break.

In the Semi-Finals, Richard’s choice of the only non-French team, Magnus Holmberg (SWE) and his Victory Challenge crew, at first seemed to guarantee an all-French Final, as Richard won the first two matches in the first-to-three point series. However, against the ropes Holmberg and team battled back in the blustery conditions to win the next three and secure their place in the Finals. Col’s series against Iehl went a little easier, defeating his team mate 3-1 in their contest.

After a mid-afternoon delay to relocate the course area due to a large wind shift, the Finals and Petit-Finals were reduced to a first-to-two point series, sailed now in a roaring ebb tide on the Rio Sado.

Richard and Iehl got each flight started with exciting close-in combat, the pair rarely separating much more than a few metres all around the course. Richard won this series 2-1, but not without a spirited fight from Iehl and his team.

Except for some close action in the pre-starts, the Finals matches were comparatively calm, as Holmberg and Col usually went their separate ways off the start to find relief on opposite sides of the course area from the strong tide running against them. Col’s control of the left seemed to pay off, as he came out of that side on each beat ahead of the Swedes, and once around the top mark there were few available options for the trailing team as the tide swiftly swept them downwind.

Col felt the Semi-Finals were tougher for him, saying “We started the day with a lot of pressure on us, since we felt that any of us could win, so we didn’t sail very well. But after beating Damien, we relaxed and started to really focus, and I think we sailed much better against Magnus in the Finals.”

The 25 points Col earned in Portugal, along with another 25 for his win at the Korea Match Cup, 20 for being runner-up in Denmark, 10 for his fifth-placed finish in St Moritz and 8 points earned for being sixth in Germany has put him within only four points of the top of the World Tour leaderboard.

While the Troia event was not the worst for Ian Williams and his Team Pindar, their six points earned for 7th place did not advance them in points against the oncoming French when considering the available throw-out scores. Richard’s strong finishes in St Moritz (1st), Portugal (3rd), Germany (3rd) and Sweden (4th) have him lurking not far behind in third place and ready to make a play for the lead.

Richard is a significant threat: besides being ranked No. 1 in the world by ISAF, he has not finished worse than 5th in any Tour event yet this year, and tussled with Williams for the lead last year leading right up to the final event in Malaysia.

So the stage is set for high drama at next week’s penultimate Tour event at the King Edward VII Gold Cup in Bermuda, which was won by Richard last year. Out of a massive field of 24 entries, eight of the top ten teams on the World Tour leaderboard will be in attendance, with only Holmberg and Cian sitting this one out.

Current World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard (top ten teams):

1. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar, 92 points
2. Sébastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 88
3. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit, 77
4. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 53
5. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge, 51
6. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza, 43
7. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team, 40
8. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 37
9. Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 34
10. Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing, 33

World Match Racing Tour

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

L'Equipe de France de Match Racing: Part Two - The ISAF #1: Mathieu Richard

Left to right: Jean Marie Lauris, Olivier Herledant, Greg Evrad, and Mathieu Richard hold the St Moritz Match Race trophy high. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

Mathieu Richard, from La Baule, Brittany, is currently top of the ISAF Open Match Race Rankings. He has a glittering career in match racing, most recently being crowned King of the Mountain at the World Tour event in St Moritz, Switzerland. Last year he won both the Bermuda Gold Cup and the Brasil Sailing Cup.

Mathieu is currently challenging Britain's Ian Williams and compatriot Sébastien Col for the World Tour championship, for which the next event is the Bermuda Gold Cup, before the season finishes, and the winner is decided, in Malaysia in December.

Mathieu Richard celebrating his victory in Brasil in 2007. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

The patriotic Breton, Mathieu Richard, answers some questions, put to him by Anne Hinton, about his match racing, the secrets of the success of L'Equipe de France de Match Racing, and reveals his determination to win the America's Cup, as well as be World Tour Champion and ISAF #1 (in translation).

AH: Are you a professional sailor, or do you do something else too?

MR: I am not 100% professional. I am also a teacher of sport, in colleges and grammar schools (I am a substitute teacher). But I have a job that permits me to sail a lot.

AH: What sailing did you do before match racing? And at what age did you start sailing?

MR: I started in an Optimist at the age of 12... 20 years ago! as I am 32 now. after the Optimist, I sailed 420s and then did match racing.

AH: Why did you start match racing?

MR: After the 420, I had the choice between Olympic sailing and match racing. I chose match racing because my club had all the infrastructure for developing match racing: high level teams (Luc Pillot), trainers (Marc Bouët), umpires (Gérard Bossé) and the boats for training (the First Class 8), at La Baule. And the club wanted to help the youth teams.

AH: What is it that you like about match racing?

MR: I like the "intensive" side of the sport. It is very exciting and full of play from start to finish. I also like the fact that it is very complete: it is necessary to be good at tactics, at speed, at manoeuvering, physically and mentally,...

AH: Your team - where are they from? And how, and since when, have you known each member of the team?

Mathieu Richard (left) and team with the Bermuda Gold Cup 2007. Image copyright Charles Anderson/World Match Racing Tour

MR: They are all Bretons! They are between 28 and 35 years old.
I started sailing with Greg (Evrard) my tactician, in 1997, with two others. Then Yannick Simon (bowman) and Olivier Herledant (pit and trimmer) came in 2000. Lastly, Thierry Briend (jib trimmer) joined us in 2006.

AH: You want to do the America's Cup (with French Spirit)?

MR: Yes, I certainly want to take part in the America's Cup!

AH: When did you become a member of l'Equipe de France?

MR: L'Equipe de France de Match Racing was created in 2006. [I joined then.]

Team French Spirit at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez. Image copyright Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi.

AH: Do you find that it is a big advantage to have l'Equipe de France de Match Racing? Why?

MR: It is very good because it creates a true ambition in France. It is the reason why we have very good teams on the circuit, but also very good youth sailors who are coming along behind.

AH: What do you do with the other sailors of l'Equipe de France? What type of training? And do you do train together often?

MR: We do two types of training:
1. Preparation for an event.
2. Work on the basics.
1. Preparation for an event lasts only 2 days, just before leaving for an event, often with only 2 teams (we often change training partner). We try to sail on boats that resemble those that we will have at the event to come. We work 'globally' - i.e. without a particular theme.
2. For the work on the basics (2 or 3 times in a year only, due to lack of time...), we sail for longer (4 or 5 days) and we try to work on particular themes (starts, etc). We are often 4 or 5 teams. We train at Quiberon (ENV), or Marseille, or equally in Sweden this year (Gothenburg, on the DS37s, in June), or Valencia in SM40s last year.

MR: We often change the type of boat. We train in Quiberon, Marseille, La Baule and Pornic.

AH: With which teams do you train most often? Do you try to train with different people to obtain an assortment of styles of match racing to consider and sail against?

MR: Yes, we change training partner quite often, but for reasons of availability of other people! Morvan / Presti / Col / Iehl.

Mathieu Richard heads to victory in St Moritz 2008. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

AH: You have money from the Federation Français de la Voile and from Areva for training and travelling to many match racing championships? Do you need a sponsor too?

MR: We have sufficient budget to cover all our expenses, but not enough to be match race professionals.

AH: It seems that the French are beating each other at the end of the big match racing events at the moment... Is that good for l'Equipe de France? You can't all be World Champions at the same time!

MR: It is true that Iehl, Col and Richard have each won World Tour events this year! It is a sign that l'Equipe de France is strong, but I would prefer that it is Richard who had won all of the events!!!

AH: Do you discuss (in l'Equipe de France), with each other, and with the trainer, Marc Bouët, what has happened at each championship?

MR: Yes, certainly. Marc gives us detailed reports after each event.

AH: What are your match racing goals this year, apart from being ISAF #1 and World Champion (of the World Tour)?

MR: It would satisfy me to be ISAF #1 and World Champion in December!

AH: And what would you like to achieve after that, in future years?

MR: I would like to win the America's Cup, in the future.

AH: What do you think is the secret of the success of l'Equipe de France de Match Racing?

MR: I think that it is the hard work over the last 10 years of the 3 'young' teams (Richard/Col/Iehl) and the older ones (Presti/Pacé/Pillot). The 3 young teams are now reaching maturity. There is excellent ambition/competition between us and the creation of l'Equipe de France has reinforced that. It is also necessary to emphasise the work of Marc Bouët, and also the other quality trainers in France.

AH: What do you think of the match racing level and progress of the Kiwi BlackMatch Racing Team (Adam Minoprio)?

MR: I like this team a lot; its style and its spirit. They are good and are progressing well. They are perhaps a little beneath Mirsky, but I know that there is good ambition and competition between these new teams, and that will help both to progress quickly.

MR: Perhaps they will be worthy successors to Dean Barker and co?

AH: Thank you very much indeed for your time.

Federation Français de la Voile - l'Equipe de France de Match Racing

Monday, 29 September 2008

Col Wins Troia Portugal Match Cup in Tide-Strewn Blustery Finale

A jubilent French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge (with Seb Col furthest right of the team) celebrate their victory at the Troia Portugal Match Cup 2008. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

by Dobbs Davis

Col's second win on the 2008 World Tour was earned 2-0 against runner-up Magnus Holmberg.

After a long day, that started with having to defeat one of his own team mates from the French Match Racing Team, Sebastian Col (FRA) and his crew of Gilles Favennec, Christophe Andre, Philippe Mourniac, and Olivier Douliard have won the Troia Portugal Match Cup.

Getting past Magnus Holmberg (SWE) and his Victory Challenge team 2-0 in an exciting Final series, Col and crew have taken the top prize of US$30,000 of the $125,000 purse and earned 25 points on the 2008 World Tour leaderboard.

Seb Col and crew acknowledge their win off Troia. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

“We started the day with a lot of pressure on us,” said the mild-mannered Col, “since we felt that any of us could win, so we didn’t sail very well. But after beating Damien Iehl, we relaxed and started to really focus, and I think we sailed much better against Magnus in the Finals.”

Col and his French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge crew had to get better, as the conditions became increasingly challenging throughout the day for the remaining teams in the competition.

Second overall - Magnus Holmberg and crew. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

Besides the fresh 15-22 knot easterly blowing straight down the Rio Sada in front of the Troia Resort Marina, the other huge factor today was the strong tidal current, which reached a staggering 4 knots at its peak. This made pre-start and mark rounding tactics interesting and at times unconventional: for example, against the strong ebb current which lie nearly parallel to the wind, it was almost always better to tack than gybe in the pre-starts, and the mark roundings became tricky maneuvers at best. Windward legs were long, drawn out affairs, while runs were over in a flash.

However, the day didn’t start with this strong ebb – in fact, it started with a weak flood and a cloud of uncertainty, as three teams in the morning’s final flight of the Round Robin had a shot for the last remaining spot in the Semi-Finals.

With Paolo Cian (ITA) from Team Shosholoza defeating Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and the Mirsky Racing Team in the second match, all eyes were on the final run of the third match, where Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and his Alandia Sailing Team were fully entangled in a furious, spinnaker-flogging luffing match with Damien Iehl (FRA) and his quartet of crew from the French Match Racing Team on the final run to the finish. Just metres short of the line, Iehl’s one last luff managed to get his SM40 across by what PRO Miguel Allen said was “20 centimetres,” thus earning him the win and the tie-break to the Semis.

Since yet another member of the French Match Racing Team, Mathieu Richard, was on top from the Round Robin, he was free to choose Holmberg to play, the only non-French team in the stage.

It didn’t start well for the mostly-Swedish team (which includes US-based trimmer Charlie McKee): down 2-0 in the first-to-three point series, and with an all-French final looking imminent, Holmberg rallied in the third match to lead Richard around the track and even draw a penalty on his French rival at their bottom mark turn.

In a close fourth match, Richard got managed to get past Holmberg on the run towards the bottom mark, but the building ebb tide and an aggressive and clever defense of the inside position took the pair past the mark and had them both sailing back upwind to it in the face of wind and tide. A disastrous kite drop by the French allowed Holmberg to waltz through into a convincing win to bring the series even.

Mathieu Richard versus Magnus Holmberg in the semi-finals. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

In the last match, Holmberg chose the right side of the beat, Richard the left, and while right was initially favored, it soon caved in, so when Holmberg tacked to cover the closing French, he did so a little too close, earning him a penalty. He still kept the lead by tacking back left, getting to the top and bottom marks first, and extending enough on the beat to do his penalty turn before Richard closed to within only 2 lengths at the finish downwind.

While Col and Iehl tangled horns in all their matches, Col emerged from the series with his required three points in only four matches, with a collision to Iehl’s stern in a misjudged cross and resultant penalty being the only blemish to his record.

With a major wind shift requiring course re-alignment and a new boat to rig, the decision was made to shorten the Finals and Petit-Finals to first-to-two points. So, under increasing clouds, breeze, tide, and approaching rain, the stage seemed to have more fireworks among the two French teams in the Petit-Final, with Iehl and Richard taking one each under the watchful eyes of match umpires Manuel Santos Silva (POR) and Pedro Rodrigues (POR) before Richard finally prevailed in a relatively benign third match.

The Victory Challenge crew on the final day of the Troia Portugal Match Cup. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

In the Finals, Holmberg and Col initially split off to different sides of the first beat, with a shoal area on the left side providing a little more relief from the gushing tide than the beach side on the right. Since Col got there and controlled that side better, he led throughout the first match and even managed to extend enough to wipe off a pre-start penalty levied by match umpires Bill Edgerton (GBR) and Alfredo Ricci (ITA) in the second to take the overall win.

The Troia Portugal Match Cup was the seventh of nine stages on the World Match Racing Tour. “This was a great regatta for us,” said event Director Justino Machado, “and we look forward to having the construction completed here at Troia Resort for an even better event next year.”

Sebastien Col, winner of the Troia Portugal Match Cup. Image copyright Wander Roberto.


1. Sebastien Col (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge $30,000
2. Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Victory Challenge $20,000
3. Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit $18,750
4. Damien Iehl (FRA), French Match Racing Team $13,750
5. Paolo Cian (ITA), Team Shosholoza $10,000
6. Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team $8,750
7. Ian Williams (GBR), Team Pindar $7,500
8. Alvaro Marinho (POR), Seth Sailing Team $6,250
9. Adam Minoprio (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing $2,500
10. Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team $2,500
11. Manuel Weiller (ESP) $2,500
12. Nick Cherry (GBR), Cherry Racing Team $2,500

(winner in bold)

M1 Holmberg v Col
M2 Col v Holmberg

(winner in bold)

M1 Iehl v Richard
M2 Richard v Iehl
M3 Iehl v Richard

(winners in bold)

M1 Iehl v Col
M2 Holmberg v Richard

M1 Col v Iehl
M2 Richard v Holmberg

M1 Iehl v Col
M2 Holmberg v Richard

M1 Col v Iehl
M2 Richard v Holmberg

M1 Holmberg v Richard

(Winner in bold)

M1 Weiller v Marinho
M2 Iehl v Minoprio
M3 Mirsky v Richard

M1 Weiller v Minoprio
M2 Marinho v Richard
M3 Iehl v Mirsky

M1 Richard v Weiller
M2 Minoprio v Mirsky
M3 Marinho v Iehl

M1 Minoprio v Richard
M2 Mirsky v Marinho
M3 Iehl v Weiller

M1 Weiller v Mirsky
M2 Richard v Iehl
M3 Minoprio v Marinho

M1 Cian v Hansen
M2 Holmberg v Col
M3 Cherry v Williams

M1 Col v Cian
M2 Williams v Holmberg
M3 Cherry v Hansen

M1 Col v Williams
M2 Cherry v Cian
M3 Holmberg v Hansen

M1 Col v Cherry
M2 Cian v Holmberg
M3 Hansen v Williams

M1 Hansen v Col
M2 Williams v Cian
M3 Holmberg v Cherry

M1 Williams v Mirsky
M2 Cherry v Richard
M3 Iehl v Cian

M1 Mirsky v Hansen
M2 Col v Iehl
M3 Richard v Cian

M1 Williams v Iehl
M2 Cherry v Mirsky
M3 Holmberg v Richard

M1 Hansen v Minoprio
M2 Weiller v Col
M3 Marinho v Holmberg

M1 Weiller v Cherry
M2 Holmberg v Minoprio
M3 Williams v Marinho

M1 Col v Mirsky
M2 Richard v Hansen
M3 Iehl v Holmberg

M1 Col v Richard
M2 Mirsky v Holmberg
M3 Cherry v Iehl

M1 Cian v Minoprio
M2 Hansen v Weiller
M3 Marinho v Col

M1 Holmberg v Weiller
M2 Minoprio v Col
M3 Marinho v Cherry

M1 Weiller v Williams
M2 Minoprio v Cherry
M3 Cian v Marinho

M1 Minoprio v Williams
M2 Cian v Weiller
M3 Marinho v Hansen

M1 Richard v Williams
M2 Mirsky v Cian
M3 Hansen v Iehl

Winners of the Troia Portugal Match Cup: Seb Col and crew. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard (5 Event placings count)

1. Ian Williams (Team Pindar) 92 points
2. Sebastien Col (French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge) 88 points
3. Mathieu Richard (French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit) 77 points
4. Torvar Mirsky (Mirsky Racing Team) 53 points
5. Magnus Holmberg (Victory Challenge) 51 points
6. Paolo Cian (Team Shosholoza) 43 points
7. Bjorn Hansen (Alandia Sailing Team) 40 points
8. Damien Iehl (French Match Racing Team) 37 points
9. Mattias Rahm (Stena Bulk Sailing Team) 34 points
10. Adam Minoprio (Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing) 33 points
11. Jes Gram Hansen (Mascalzone Latino/Trifork Racing) 32 points
12. Peter Wibroe (Team Wibroe) 26 points
13= Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson Sailing Team) 15 points
13= Philippe Presti (French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit) 15 points
15. Jesper Radich (Rudy Project Sailing Team) 12 points
16= Markus Wieser (Team Sea Dubai) 10 points
16= Peter Gimour (Pizza-La Sailing Team) 10 points
18= Pierre-Antoine Morvan (French Match Racing Team) 4 points
18= Eric Monnin ( 4 points
18= Alvaro Marinho (Seth Sailing Team) 4 points

World Match Racing Tour

Sébastien Col is King of Tróia

Sébastien Col wins the Tróia Portugal Match Cup. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

by the Sun Sailing Team media (in translation)

The Frenchman Sébastien Col has won the Tróia Portugal Match Cup. In the final, the French team beat the Swedish one of Magnus Holmberg 2-0.

In the fight for the 3rd and 4th positions, Mathieu Richard defeated Damien Iehl, 2-1, in an all-French battle. The event was organized by the Sun Sailing Team, with sponsorship from Tourismo do Portugal and the Troiaresort.

It was a day of emotions at the Tróia Portugal Match Cup, that finished today off the Peninsula of Tróia. Flight 22 was decisive in the choice of the 4 quarter-finalists. The powerful French "armada" put their three crews in the quarterfinals, leaving to the Swedish team of Magnus Holmberg the responsibility of facing adversaries of so high a quality.

In the semi-finals, the Nordic veteran used to his experience against the nº 1 of ISAF, Mathieu Richard, after 5 intense matches, finishing with a score of 3-2 in favour of the Swede. In the fight between Sébastien Col and Damien Iehl, the advantage went to Col, with a score of 3-1.

The finals, held late in the day, were marked by the current of the Rio Sado, which complicated the task of the teams. In the first match, for 3rd and 4th places, Richard defeated Iehl. While, in the first race of the finals, Col supplanted Magnus Holmberg.

Finally, Richard beat Iehl by 2-1 and Col was "crowned king" in Tróia, after he defeated Magnus Holmberg 2-0.

The Portuguese, Álvaro Marinho, was classified 8th, having won 5 races against adversaries who were very strong.

The skippers at the Tróia Portugal Match Cup. From left to right: Nick Cherry, Mathieu Richard, Adam Minoprio, Damien Iehl, Bjorn Hansen, Álvaro Marinho, Magnus Holmberg, Sébastien Col, Ian Williams, Paolo Cian and Manuel Weiller. Image copyright Wander Roberto.


1. Sébastien Col (K-Challenge)
2. Magnus Holmberg (Victory Challenger)
3. Mathieu Richard (Team French Spirit)
4. Damien Iehl (French Match Racing Team)
5. Paolo Cian (Team Shosholoza)
6. Torvar Mirsky (Mirsky Racing Team)
7. Ian Williams (Team Pindar)
8. Álvaro Marinho (Seth Sailing Team)
9. Adam Minoprio (Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing)
10. Bjorn Hansen (Alandia Sailing Team)
11. Manuel Weiller (RCNP Illes Balears)
12. Nick Cherry (Cherry Racing)

Troia Portugal Match Cup

Sunday, 28 September 2008

BlackMatch Miss Out on Semis in Portugal

BlackMatch competing in Portugal. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

by David Swete

It was a case of deja-vu here in Portugal, close but yet so far when we were yet again left rueing our early losses and slow start to this regatta. Today we had wins over Paolo Cian and Nick Cherry but lost out in tough matches against the class of Sebastian Col and Ian Williams.

The weather conditions were far from perfect with a sea breeze fighting to establish itself while a storm was brewing over the mainland. The result was very shifty light winds all day, the storm eventually rolling in late in the day almost on cue, to prevent the last match of the round robin from being sailed.

So, with four days of sailing gone in Portugal and the round robin still not completed, the race organisers had no option but to remove the quarterfinals from the programme. This meant heartbreak for us and the many other teams who were stranded one win away from making the top 4.

Three teams confirmed their place in the semi finals, the two French skippers Mathieu Richard and Sebastian Col went through, while Swede Magnus Holmberg was also in after a magnificent comeback leaving the final spot wide open for four teams. Torvar Mirsky, Damien Iehl, Paolo Cian and Ian Williams are all still in with a shot and it all comes down to the final races of the round robin tomorrow.

We leave this event feeling confident in our sailing but remain disappointed with our second disappointing start to an event in consecutive regattas. Perhaps it is lack of experience but if the weather gods had come to the party and let us have a crack at the final 8 we feel we would have been extremely competitive here in Portugal. We would like to wish our competitors good luck for the remainder of the regatta and we are looking forward to our next World Tour Event in Bermuda in 8 days time.

We would again like to say a special thank you to our sponsors: FedEx Express and Ross Munro from Line 7. Their ongoing support is helping make this opportunity possible for the BlackMatch boys. To the RNZYS and everyone else, thank you for your support.

BlackMatch Racing

Mirsky Racing Team One Win Away From Semi-Finals at the Portugal Match Cup

Mirsky Racing Team waiting for the wind on Day Four of the Troia Portugal Match Cup. Image copyright Carol Siquiera.

by Kinley Fowler

Unfortunately for most involved, today’s wind was not cooperating. Only four matches were completed in very fickle winds and strong tide. Despite not racing today, our situation still remains the same, with tomorrow morning’s race, and the last race of the round robin against Paolo Cian, being a must win to qualify for the semi finals.

A special thanks to Line7, Harken and the Royal Perth Yacht Club for their support.

Mirsky Racing Team

Richard, Col and Holmberg Through to Semi-Finals at Troia Portugal Match Cup

BlackMatch chase hard at the Troia Portugal Match Cup. They beat recent ACI Match Cup winner Paolo Cian on day four in Portugal. Image copyright Wander Roberto.

by Dobbs Davis

In conditions which varied from calm to boisterous, all but last flight of the Round Robin concluded with 4th place position left undetermined until tomorrow’s final flight

On a 12-hour day which featured breeze conditions flip-flopping between land and sea, and varying from nearly nothing to a 40-knot rain squall, race managers here at the Troia Portugal Match Cup managed to conclude four of the remaining five flights of the Round Robin to yield three of the final four teams to advance to tomorrow’s Semi-Final and Final stages.

On the strength of 9 wins each, two members of the French Match Racing Team took the top two spots, with Mathieu Richard on Team French Spirit winning the tie-break with Sebastian Col of K-Challenge to get the top spot. And on a late streak of winning four of his last five matches, Magnus Holmberg (SWE) of the Victory Challenge slid into the third place on seven wins, one point clear of a possibly massive tie-break situation in the final flight between five teams vying for the fourth and final spot for the next stage.

And as if on cue to underscore this drama, in the last few minutes of the next-to-last flight the seabreeze died and shifted quickly and briskly to the southeast in response to a menacingly massive cloud approaching the venue packing lightning, thunder, rain and wind. Just as the teams dropped the sails on their SM40s and were put in tow, the squall blew through hard, packing gale-force winds and rain, sending the spectators and waiting teams on shore scrambling for cover. Luckily, a dozen young Optimist sailors out on their course competing for the Portugal Junior Cup were also hastily gathered and hustled to safety.

With sunset approaching once again and the storm taking its time to abate, PRO Miguel Allen decided to put off the final flight until the morning. Allen feels confident on completing the format tomorrow, as this storm heralded the start of an approaching cold front to provide good breeze from the east to funnel down the Rio Sado.

So, coming into this final flight there are no less than five teams eligible to move through, depending on who beats whom. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and his Mirsky Racing Team are in the strongest position, being on six wins versus five for the others, but if he loses to Paolo Cian (ITA) from Team Shosholoza in this final flight, and Ian Williams (GBR) and his Team Pindar make a late rally to defeat regatta leader Richard, this will initiate a massive tie-break to determine the final spot, with Damien Iehl (FRA) and Adam Minoprio (NZL) also possibly in the hunt.

In fact, there are only four positions in the field of twelve teams now determined, with all remaining places from 4th to 11th left to play for in the morning.

Current standings:

Mathieu Richard (FRA),French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit 9 – 1
Sebastian Col (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge 9 – 2
Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Victory Challenge 7 – 4
Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team 6 – 4
Ian Williams (GBR), Team Pindar 5 – 5
Alvaro Marinho (POR), Seth Sailing Team 5 – 6
Damien Iehl (FRA), French Match Racing Team 5 – 5
Adam Minoprio (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 5 – 6
Paolo Cian (ITA), Team Shosholoza 5 – 5
Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team Team 3 – 8
Manuel Weiller (ESP), 3 – 8
Nick Cherry (GBR), 1 – 10

World Match Racing Tour