Chicago Match Cup, triunfo para Ian Williams.


© WMRT

© WMRT

Fuente info WMRT

Williams Shuts Out Champion To Win Chicago Match Cup

Chicago (IL), USA (October 1, 2017) – In front of a cheering crowd at Navy Pier, Lake Michigan turned on all the drama for the final day of the Chicago Match Cup as Ian Williams, skipper of GAC Pindar, defeated current Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson in a tour de force shutout victory.

The win could be a preview of things to come in three weeks time in Shenzhen, China where the two skippers meet for the last time this season to decide who will win the overall 2017 Tour and the Match Racing World Championship.

“This is great for the team. Phil’s been dominating all year making us all look a bit silly so it’s nice to knock him off his perch”, said an enthusiastic Williams after just crossing the finish line.

Williams’ roll started early in the Semi Final stage started early with the British skipper knocking off Australian Sam Gilmour 3-0 in an enthralling battle which saw penalties galore, but the scoreline told of a dominating victory.

Elsewhere in the Semi Finals, easily the most contestable matchup of the day occurred between current Match Racing World Champion Robertson and former Match Racing World Champion Taylor Canfield in an epic showdown, fought all the way to a fifth race in the first-to-three series.

It was in this series that hometown Chicago favorite Canfield looked to have booked his ticket into the finals after going up 2-1. However, the fourth race seemingly foreshadowed Canfield’s fate when after handing a double blue penalty to Robertson at the start and jumping out to a four-boat length lead, he opted to gybe and take the less favored bottom mark allowing Robertson to cross on the next tack and extend for the win.

Moving to the Finals, Williams quickly got on the board early with a win in the first race only to narrowly avoid taking a loss in the second after winning the start.

Leading for the majority of the first three legs, Robertson managed to pull back at the first windward mark from where he mounted attack after attack on the downwind, finally forcing Williams into drawing a boundary penalty after he pinned the China One Ningbo skipper out of the race course resulting in contact between the two teams.

However, clearing the penalty at the bottom gate, Williams hooked into a shift on the right hand side of the course to challenge the Kiwi at the final top mark rounding, barely gaining mark protection and clearing ahead in time to limit Robertson from any chance to mount a luff on the final reach to the finish.

An OCS (on course side) penalty at the start of the third race for Robertson sealed his fate as Williams extended through the course handily, winning the 2017 Chicago Match Cup.

After the conclusion of racing, Robertson reflected on the level of competition. “I think we are seeing the fleet take a big jump forward which is good – everyone is very competitive – even Evan Walker pushed us to the limit”, said the China One Ningbo skipper. “Ian absolutely out sailed us today.”

On being the favorites going into the final event in China in three weeks, Robertson acknowledged he had a target on his back. “No doubt every single team out there wants us to lose. We are trying to ramp up towards then and learn what we can, and take it into the big one. We have a title to defend; and Ian’s just peaked too early so that’s good. So now we’re looking for redemption.”

The World Match Racing Tour now heads to Shenzhen, China running 24-29th October for the sixth and final stop on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour where the battle between Phil Robertson’s China One Ningbo team and Ian William’s Team GAC Pindar will be put to the test once and for all.

SEMI FINAL
PAIR 1
Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar 3-0 Sam Gilmour (AUS), Neptune Racing
PAIR 2
Phil Robertson (NZL), China One Ningbo 3-2 Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One

PETIT FINAL
Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One 2-0 Sam Gilmour (AUS), Neptune Racing

FINAL
Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar 3 – 0 Phil Robertson (NZL), China One Ningbo

WMRT Match Cup Russia. Triunfo para Phil Robertson y su CHINAone Ningbo team


© WMRT

Fuente info WMRT

ROBERTSON FINDS MORE GOLD AT THE END OF OF HIS ROLLERCOASTER

St. Petersburg, Russia (August 6, 2017) – After a week of ups and downs, a couple of bad hooks and a few close shaves, it was business as usual for the super smooth Phil Robertson and his CHINAone Ningbo team as they beat Sam Gilmour’s Neptune Racing team 3-0 in the final of WMRT Match Cup Russia in St. Petersburg on Sunday.

Robertson, the current Match Racing World Champion, is the undisputed master of cat match racing at the moment and showed his claws when it counted this week as he has bounced back off the ropes from all his opponents, and the weather, could muster.

“It’s been a rollercoaster week for us,” Robertson said. “We’ve been up against it from the start. That’s what is so great about match racing, it’s do or die. Today we went out and did it. We gelled and we were saying that it was the first time this week that we felt we were sailing well, we struggled in the early rounds. We’ve been pushed right to the edge.”

One big reason for the 30-year-old New Zealander’s success is that he has kept his slick teammates – Will Tiller, Stewart Dodson and James Wierzbowski – with him since winning the World Championship last year. They are unbeaten in the M32 since then, having won Match Cup Australia in March, GKSS Match Cup Sweden at the beginning of July and the M32 World Championships a week later.

It was his third consecutive 3-0 Match Cup final win, but victory this week was harder won than the others. Robertson was relegated to third in his group in the Qualifying Stage fleet races on Tuesday and Wednesday and had to come back from 2-0 to Steve Thomas in the SUPER 16, looking more vulnerable in the bigger conditions. He was pushed to the wire by Pieter-Jan Postma, uncharacteristically giving up a 2-0 lead to be pulled back to 2-2 before closing out.

In the Semi Finals on Sunday morning against Ian Williams (GAC Pindar), Britain’s six-time Match Racing World Champion, Robertson looked distinctly human. He lost the second race to make it 1-1 after being penalised at the start then, already well behind, lost a man overboard and hooked a buoy at the bottom mark for a couple of minutes.

And there was controversy over a penalty decision on the first downwind as they went bow-to-bow in the third race. But Robertson won a gusty fourth to make it 3-1. “We were disappointed because we felt we had the game to beat Phil today,” Williams said. There was some consolation in finishing third as the team had at GKSS Match Cup Sweden and that it was Matt Jerwood who he beat 2-1 in the Petit Final, after Jerwood had beaten him 3-0 in the SUPER 16 of Match Cup Australia.

“I think people have realised that it’s a one-boat tour and you’ve got to be a professional M32 sailor to compete,” Robertson said.

The 23-year-old Australia skipper, Gilmour, knows that and after not getting past the SUPER 16 this year, puts getting to his first final on the tour down to being away from home and in the M32 for the last two months. He may have been spent after winning a nail-biting semi-final in the morning, beating his Perth training mate, Matt Jerwood (Redline Racing), 3-2, after trailing 2-1. In the deciding race, Jerwood, going for a gap at the start that wasn’t quite there, hooked the pin end buoy between his hulls. “We’ve had a great week and it was good to get all the way to final, but we didn’t sail very well at all in the last race,” Gilmour said. “We were slower. I don’t know if we were a bit nervous, it might have got to us. But now we know what you’ve got to do to win this event.”

All four seasons graced Finals Day, including a 30-knot squall whipping in from the Baltic Sea across the Gulf of Finland and up the Neva River into the spectacular race area in front of the Peter and Paul Fortress. Robertson remained the master of all he surveyed, making the M32 talk in the pre-start river current and fly in gusts. His experience from three previous visits to the Neva River with his team really told.

By the time the sun was shining on the golden dome of the St. Isaacs Cathedral for the Final, Robertson was on song. The first race was close, Gilmour won the start, but was 18 seconds behind on the line. And even though he cut that to 8 seconds in the second race, the reality was that it was a relatively comfortable wire-to-wire win for Robertson.

Interviewed on the boat after that race, Robertson, who simultaneously looked focused and so relaxed he was almost horizontal, was asked about Gilmour’s comment that he had been “chopping into him” and closing all the way to the finish. “I taught him everything he knows, I think he’s even stolen some of our moves, so, I’m not surprised he’s sailing well.” Robertson said, half-jokingly. Robertson invited Gilmour to join his crew for the M32 World Championship win in July. There is genuine camaraderie and respect between the two and Robertson knows Gilmour and others are coming forces. “The boys have been reminding me that I’m actually one of the oldest on the tour now,” Robertson admitted.

After a third race that was even more conclusive, Gilmour noted with a wry smile that, “I don’t think Phil taught me all his moves,” and repeated the same to Robertson, in good humour, as they parked their cats on the beach.

“I think Sam’s got to do something nasty to him on the startline,” Jerwood said before the start of race 3, but it was Robertson who did the nasty as he deployed his gennaker early, hit the line almost perfectly and won by 69 seconds.

We will see if the fleet is really closing on Robertson at the next stopover of the World Match Racing Tour when top flight match racing heads for the USA.

SEMI FINAL

PAIR 1
Sam Gilmour (AUS), Neptune Racing 3 – 2 Matt Jerwood (AUS), Redline Racing

PAIR 2
Phil Robertson (NZL), CHINAone Ningbo 3 – 1 Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar

PETIT FINAL

Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar 2 – 1 Matt Jerwood (AUS), Redline Racing

FINAL

Phil Robertson (NZL), CHINAone Ningbo 3 – 0 Sam Gilmour (AUS), Neptune Racing

WMRT Match Cup Russia. Tercer día con rachas de 30 nudos, tumbadas y sorpresas.


© WMRT

Fuente info WMRT

OUTSIDER IN CRUISE CONTROL ON CHOPPY WATERS

St. Petersburg, Russia (August 3, 2017) – A champion on the ropes, an underdog on top and a pitchpole in winds gusting towards 30 knots in St Petersburg – Thursday might have been cut short by the extra large conditions, but it packed a lot in.

When a perfectly preserved Tom Cruise is rolled out to play Phil Robertson in his biopic, he will dwell on the tension of this day in Russia. The New Zealand skipper had all day waiting to go back out and has all of tonight ahead of him, to think about how to overcome the 2-1 deficit in the best of 5 SUPER 16 match against the outsider, Steve Thomas – somebody call Robert Redford’s agent.

All is not lost and it could have been worse for Robertson (CHINAone Ningbo), as he was 2-0 down quickly before a wait on the water for almost an hour allowed him recoup. But it is not a position that the Match Racing World Champion and clear leader this season, is used to.

Sigue leyendo

WMRT Match Cup Russia, día 1. Los favoritos lideran los grupos de clasificación.

Fuente info WMRT

FAVOURITES FLEX THEIR MUSCLES IN ST PETERSBURG

St. Petersburg, Russia (August 1, 2017) – A full first day of racing in glorious sunshine and solid westerlies at the WMRT Match Cup Russia in St Petersburg saw the big beasts making some early shows of strength as they sought the best seeding for the knockout battles to come. Phil Robertson (CHINAone Ningbo), Ian Williams (GAC Pindar) and Yann Guichard (Spindrift Racing) all topped their groups, but they did not have it all their own way.

If the draw produced a group of death, it was Group 1, where current Match Racing World Champion and this year’s clear leader, Robertson, discovered from the first race that it was not going to be all plain sailing. One of Perth’s many emerging talents, Matt Jerwood (Redline Racing), made an early impression by winning the first race after a three-horse race with Robertson and Pieter-Jan Postma (Sailing Team NL). “Our tactician kept putting us in the right place and we just snuck around Phil at the final mark,” Jerwood said. “As frustrating as it is drawing the number one seed in your group, it always toughens you up for the coming regatta. It’s always fun racing Phil because he and his boys are so good, you’re racing the best in the world when you race Phil.”

He is not wrong, Robertson remains the man to beat. The New Zealand skipper won stage one of the WMRT, Match Cup Australia, and was generally unbeatable in July. He followed a crushing victory in the GKSS Match Cup Sweden at the beginning of the month, by winning the inaugural M32 World Championship in Marstrand, Sweden, and then won the Extreme Sailing Series event in Barcelona in the third week.

Jerwood, currently fifth overall on the WMRT leaderboard thanks to finishing second at WMRT Match Cup Australia in March, where he lost 3-0 to Robertson, finished the day second in the pool after fluffing the start in race two and watching Robertson, score two bullets. But Jerwood roared off the start in the last race to make sure no one will fancy facing him when the knockout rounds start. He also did enough to perhaps elicit a small shot across the bows from Robertson.

“Matt had a pretty good day, I think he had a little wobble there, race two,” Robertson said, “but they’re a fast team and always going pretty nicely, and if they can get a clean start they’re definitely a bit of a threat.”

The fleet was more bunched in Group One, which probably reflected the depth of quality of the teams as much as the slightly shiftier breeze. In the early part of the day it averaged 12 knots, but dropped to 8 sometimes in the middle races and gusted to 14 at points. It was more stable, if slightly weaker later. The group stages are taking place at St Petersburg Yacht Club, in the slightly more offshore conditions of Neva Bay, before the knockout stages move into the city on the Neva River.

But for everyone it was a day when, as so often in fleet racing, the start was decisive. “It was very much a starting day, if you get ahead you get to stay ahead,” Robertson said. That was never clearer than in Group 3’s first race when Spindrift Racing were one of three boats that were OCS at the start and Steve Thomas (RPM Racing) won in his team’s first outing since Match Cup Australia in Perth. Guichard and Spindrift, with Sam Goodchild back on board after injury, did not give the others a sniff after that, reeling off three bullets in a row. “After that we made three really good starts in a row and when you’re not in the pack, it’s not tricky to control the other ones,” Guichard said.

In these early stages a good guide to form is how boats cope with bad starts, and on that score all the leaders showed their speed and consistency. Spindrift came from the back to finish second in the first race and GAC Pindar also gained ground to finish second twice, to go with their two bullets, won from the front.

In the first race in Group 2, GAC Pindar had a penalty re-start, went around the bottom mark in fourth but still managed to ease past in to second. “It’s a very short course, the races were not much more than 10 minutes, so there’s not much time to pull back if you have a bad start,” Ian Williams, the six-times Match Racing World Champion, said.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

GROUP 1
1. Phil Robertson (NZL), CHINAone Ningbo – 7 pts
2. Matt Jerwood (AUS), Redline Racing – 9 pts
3. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), Sailing Team NL – 11 pts
4. Viktor Serezhkin (RUS), Gazprom Team Russia – 17 pts
5. Nico Delle Karth (AUT) – Chilli Racing – 18 pts
6. Evgeny Elfimov (RUS) – M1 Cloud – 22 pts

GROUP 2
1. Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar – 6 pts
2. Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), ESSIQ Racing Team – 10 pts
3. Jonas Warrer, (DEN) Aarhus Innovator – 12 pts
4. Markus Edegran (USA), E11EVEN Racing – 14 pts
5. Sally Barkow (USA), Magenta 32 – 18 pts
6. Evgeny Neugodnikov (RUS), Team Tavatuy – 24 pts

GROUP 3
1. Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift Racing – 5 pts
2. Steve Thomas (AUS), RPM Racing – 11 pts
3. Sam Gilmour (AUS), Neptune Racing – 12 pts
4. Måns Holmberg (SWE), Gothenburg Racing – 13 pts
5. Kim Kling (SWE), Caprice Match Racing Team – 20 pts
6. Lukasz Wosinski (POL), Delphia Sailing Team – 23 pts

Resultados completos click acá

GKSS Match Cup Sweden. Triunfo para Phil Robertson y su equipo CHINAone NINGBO.


© Ian Roman

Fuente info WMRT

Robertson defends his title at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

Marstrand, Sweden (8th July, 2017) – After beating Pieter-Jan Postma’s Sailing Team NL in this morning’s semifinals, Phil Robertson and his CHINAone NINGBO crew went on win the final of GKSS Match Cup Sweden, dispatching Taylor Canfield’s US One Sailing Team. This repeated the Kiwi team’s victory on the Marstrand Arena in 2016, against the same opponent, but this time with a more emphatic 3-0 scoreline.

“Last year we had a slip up when we holed him after we were 2-0 and a lost a point and lost a race. We said after we were 2-0 up not to hole him this year. It was nicer this way!” said Robertson.

Racing took place with the wind building into the mid-teens, causing the nimble M32 catamarans to light up. More stable conditions compared to yesterday resulted in more boundary-to-boundary racing, while picking the right marks to round was vital to ensure sailing in the best pressure.

In the first race, Robertson impressively won the start and went on to lead for the entirety of the course. In the second Canfield struck back, starting to weather of his opponent and pulling the trigger faster. However at the top mark rounding Robertson was able to get the inside berth, luffed Canfield and then to head off unchallenged to take the win.

In the decider, Robertson won the start, but Canfield had managed to draw level, crossing ahead up the beat. However on the run the overrider broke for the gennaker sheet winch on Canfield’s boat, preventing his crew from sheeting in the gennaker. This handed Robertson the eventual win and the overall GKSS Match Race Sweden title for a second year.

Robertson sailed this year with his same winning crew from 2016, comprising Kiwis Will Tiller, Stewart Dodson and Aussie James Wierzbowski. “We aren’t the most ideal set-up weight-wise – we were one of the lightest teams here, but we seemed to make it work,” Robertson said.

In today’s final, Robertson’s starting seemed in a different league. “We have trained in tight starting and it probably played into our hands a little bit. We were getting off the line pretty well and managed to keep our lead. But was close and tough – Taylor did a good job.”

Canfield and his US One Sailing Team had overcome Ian Williams and GAC Pindar team 3-1 in the semifinals to gain their berth in the final (while Williams went on to win the Petit Final against Postma). This he had achieved in such surgical fashion that many had him as favourite for winning overall. He conceded: “I am a little disappointed. It was a really close battle and those guys sailed better than us today.

“Obviously I take a lot of the blame. We can call three or four mistakes which cost us the regatta. There were a few boat handling errors, but nothing major. It is more about getting all of the moves perfect.”

As to GKSS Match Cup Sweden, both finalists paid tribute: “This is no doubt the best event we do. It has been that way for the 23 years it’s been running. This is a fantastic location and a great crowd,” said Robertson. Canfield concurred: “I have been coming here six or seven years and finished on the podium four or five times. It would be nice to win it one day! Obviously it is an incredible event. Marstrand turns it on. It is one of our favourite events and everyone in Sweden seems to care about the sailing.”

Håkan Svensson, CEO and Owner of Aston Harald, builder of the M32 catamarans and owner of the World Match Racing Tour, concluded: “It has been an interesting week: We had a rough start with a lot of wind and then we had a postponement when we started the next day, then a couple of really good days and yesterday, a bit slow. It shows what a wide range the M32 has – from three knots to thirty – and that the boat is the right one for what we’re doing.”

As to the winner, Svensson added: “Phil has done an extremely good regatta, bringing on some manoeuvres that most of us are just envious about.”

The M32s are now staying in Marstrand ready for next week’s World Championship fleet racing when 17 of the one design catamarans will be competing on Marstrand Fjord.

GKSS Match Cup Sweden. Williams, Canfield, Robertson y Jan Postma a semifinales.


© Ian Roman

Fuente info WMRT

Canfield and Gilmour keep the drama going at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

Marstrand, Sweden (7th July, 2017) – Light winds on Sweden’s Marstrand Arena demonstrated how versatile the one design M32 catamaran can be, providing good close racing in the lightest winds. As GKSS Match Cup Sweden’s defending champion Phil Robertson put it: “To be honest they are the nicest boat to sail in these conditions because they are super light, have curved foils and you aren’t dragging anything around under the boat.” Thanks to this, the Quarter Finals were all decided and the giant spectator turn-out was not disappointed.

The top fight was between two hardcore match racers – two time Match Racing World Champion Taylor Canfield and David Gilmour, who shares all his America’s Cup skipper father Peter’s race course aggression. This was the only Quarter Final match to go to five races.

With the courses shortened to four legs, Canfield got off to the better start claiming the first two matches, even winning from behind in the first. But the young Australian fought back impressively, levelling the score 2-2.

After a long wait for the breeze to settle the decider saw Gilmour win the start. Canfield forced a dial-down on the upwind and then, after tacking beneath Gilmour coming into the top mark, forced a dial-up. Gilmour tacked away and found some extra pressure to power away, only to throw it away with a course boundary infringement.

Canfield was then able to ‘engage’ just metres from the finish. “It was always going to be a close cross coming back together,” he said. Canfield dialled Gilmour up, causing them to be penalised for a minor collision. From there Canfield peeled away and sailed on to the finish unchallenged, turning the tables.

There were minor palpitations when British six time World Match Racing Tour champion Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar team were beaten in their first race by France’s Yann Guichard and his Spindrift Racing team who had read the upwind leg better. However from there Williams was not to be beaten and converted winning all three starts (despite being OCS in the final one) into victories, winning his series 3-1. “It is great to qualify through against Yann Guichard. He is always a tough competition,” said Williams.

Of today’s conditions, Williams said it played to the guile and experience of the ‘older’ teams. “At times it was a bit like the old days going around in 5-6 knots! But you deal with what you’ve got. A lot is down to how you sail the boat – tacking with a gennaker is hard, knowing what angles to sail upwind, and the pressure and current differences – it is easy to make mistakes.”

The remaining two matches both went 2-0. The Kiwi derby saw defending champion Phil Robertson and his CHINAone NINGBO crew out manoeuvred Chris Steele’s 36 Below Racing. Having won the first race in the start, in the second Steele turned the tables and was looking strong until the upwind. As Robertson explained: “We identified before the race that we wanted the right turn at the bottom (looking upwind) and Chris chose the right turn. Then we managed to find pressure and take the lead back off him.”

An incident at the top mark then sealed the deal for Robertson. “We were a little under layline so the boat stopped dead and we had to tack again. Fortunately the rules worked in our favour and we rolled over him and got around the mark.”

Sadly the last Swede in the competition, Nicklas Dackhammar and ESSIQ Racing, was eliminated by Dutch former Olympic Finn sailor Pieter-Jan Postma and his Sailing Team NL. Postma left his opponent tied up in both starts going on to win 2-0, in a series that was shortened due to the lightening breeze.

Postma observed: “It was very light today and our team is at the heavier end. Dackhammar’s team have good boat handling, good speed, good sailors and are local favourites.”

The Dutchman was also pleased to be the sole new boy among the four semifinallists – all old match racing hands. “I am super stoked. It is amazing to be here.”

Tomorrow’s semifinals and finals of GKSS Match Cup Sweden are forecast to be held in more wind than today and can be viewed live at 14:00.

Quarter-finals results

Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 3-1 Yann Guichard (FRA) Spindrift racing

Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One Sailing Team 3-2 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour

Phil Robertson (NZL) CHINAone NINGBO 2-0 Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing

Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) Sailing Team NL 2-0 Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) ESSIQ Racing Team

Semi-final matches

Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar v Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One Sailing Team

Phil Robertson (NZL) CHINAone NINGBO v Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) Sailing Team NL

GKSS Match Cup Sweden. Primer día del “Super 16 Knockout”.


© Ian Roman

Fuente info WMRT

Swedish David topples Aussie Goliath in five race marathon

Marstrand, Sweden (5th July, 2017) – GKSS Match Cup Sweden is renowned for drawing out exceptional performances from local sailors, fired up by crowds cheering them on from the perimeter of Marstrand Arena and with assistance from the Nordic wind gods. This occurred today when Nicklas Dackhammar’s ESSIQ Racing Team, 15th on the World Match Racing Tour leaderboard, overcame Australian Matt Jerwood’s Redline Racing 5th placed team in a five race marathon.

The southerly wind veered west mid-afternoon and there were large holes across the course, with wind speeds of 4- 14 knots. Aboard their high performance M32 catamarans, Dackhammar won race one, then in the second Jerwood prevailed after three lead changes. Jerwood planted a pre-start penalty on his opponent taking it to match point but then the young Swede bounced back the level the score. The final race seemed to all be over when Dackhammar copped another pre-start penalty. Advantage Australia.

However “there were puffy conditions. It was getting quite light and we thought that would favour us, sailing upwind with the gennaker,” explained Dackhammar. “We tried to avoid the light patches and make good manoeuvres sailing fast all the time.”

Sigue leyendo

GKSS Match Cup Sweden. Team GAC Pindar de Ian Williams, el mejor de la fase clasificatoria.


© Ian Roman

Fuente info WMRT

Williams firing on all cylinders at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

Marstrand, Sweden (4th July, 2017) – Qualifying at GKSS Match Cup Sweden concluded in magnificent conditions on Marstrand Arena today with northwesterly winds gradually building to 15 knots by mid-afternoon. With the teams divided into three groups of six teams, all sailed five races and the stand-out performer was Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar. The British six time World Match Racing Tour champion scored consecutive bullets in the first three races with no result off the podium.

“It was a pleasing start for Team GAC Pindar,” said Williams. “With the racing out there, when you are at the front you have to take advantage and when you’re at the back you have to battle your way through and find the passing lanes. We managed to do that.”

In their group Australian Matt Jerwood came out on top, but tied on points with two time Tour champion Taylor Canfield from the US Virgin Islands. Jerwood enjoyed three race wins, but consistency failed them: “The middle race was a shocker but we managed to sort it out and got two bullets after that. We didn’t think we’d topped the group, but then found out we had.”

While Perth-based teams like Jerwood’s and those of the Gilmours and Torvar Mirsky were able to practice last year on the local fleet of high performance M32 catamarans, this year Jerwood said they have been racing smaller boats to stay sharp. He is very much enjoying being back on Marstrand Arena after finishing third on his first visit here last year. “There is nowhere better to match race than the fjord. It is absolutely perfect, world class.”

The tightest group was the last to race and ended up topped by three antipodean teams – Phil Robertson, Chris Steele and Torvar Mirsky – all tied on points.

Like Steele, Pieter-Jan Postma scored two bullets in this group, but inconsistency caused him to finish fourth. “Overall it was good, we had good speed and tactics and good starts, but there is lot more we can do to improve – we stopped for a red flag which wasn’t ours, for example,” said the Dutch former Olympic Finn sailor. “But the guys worked hard – we had good starts and good strategy. Boat to boat quick manoeuvring is something we need to work on.”

Phil Robertson and his CHINAone NINGBO crew got off to a slow start but ended on a 2-2-1, results more befitting the winning team from here last year. “We struggled a bit to start off, to get the mode-ing right on these boats and we weren’t nailing our starts,” the New Zealand skipper and present World Match Racing Tour leader explained.

The day’s drama also occurred in this group, when Måns Holmberg capsized soon after the beginning of race three. As the young Swede explained: “We had a pretty good start in the first row with three other boats and Chris Steele just to windward of us. We thought we had room with an overlap to leeward but he put his bow down and we had to avoid. We hit the mark and put it on the daggerboard and we had to gybe and fly the hull to get it off. We were a bit too eager to get it flying and to get the buoy off and the gennaker didn’t come off for some reason. And then we flipped…”

Fortunately their M32 catamaran was rapidly righted and Holmberg and his crew were back in the saddle in time for the next race.

Tomorrow and Thursday will be the first-to-three Super 16 elimination round, while the three bottom-ranked teams from Qualifying will race to decide the 16th team to go through: Harry Price will face Eric Monnin, the victor then lining up against Evan Walker.

Resultados parciales click acá