By Talbot Wilson and Laurie Fullerton
Hamilton BERMUDA, Oct 9, 2013 –Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar, Alpari World Match Racing Tour champion and current leader on the Tour, had another perfect day in Group 2 racing. He stands undefeated at 8-0.
This morning in the first match of the day, Alpari World Match racing defending Champion and current Tour leader Williams defeated Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) BART sponsored by Argo Group to hand the America’s Cup hero his first loss since he became the winning tactician aboard Oracle 72 this summer. Ainslie stands 6-1 with two more races scheduled for him. Williams has only one race tomorrow. That’s against Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team.
With Williams and Ainslie ahead in the march to the Quarter Finals, three other teams still have their sights on the prize. Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team has a 5-2 record. Björn Hansen is also 5-2. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing is next at 4-3.
In Group 1, the fight for the top four slots is even tighter. Americas Cup skipper Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa is a perfect 6-0, but he has three races left tomorrow. He defeated Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX in their dustoff today and put the Kiwi back to 6-1. Minoprio has two races tomorrow. One of them is against defending Argo Group Gold Cup Champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone. Canfield stands at 6-2. Canfield only has the one race left… that one against Minoprio.
Past Gold cup winner Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team has a hard road to the quarters standing at 4-2. He meets Bruni in his final race. Three other skippers are grouped at 3 wins each, Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team, Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing, and local skipper Lance Fraser (BER) Digicel Business Match Racing.
Thursday action on Hamilton Harbour promises to be hot. It will be another perfect day for match race sailing.
Quotes of the Day:
Ian Williams: “8-0 is just about right. With these gusty, puffing conditions getting the boat going fast changes in pressure and shifts. It is obviously nice to be 8-0. When we looked at the list we were worried that we might not make it to the quarter finals. It is good to be through to the quarter finals. We are happy to get in.
Ben Ainslie: “We had some good racing today with our guys. The last race against Mathieu Richard was very close. He came in and blocked us and that made it very close. But in the end we had some wonderful races.”
Francesco Bruni: “We just have to sail well. We are at the early stages of the regatta. We are sailing well as a team and the boys are doing a very good job at keeping the boat fast.”
Adam Minoprio : “Today was OK – 3 out of 4 races were good. Ideally it will get us through, but our score does make it a lot harder to qualify for the quarter finals. It is a tough fight to squeeze through.”
Taylor Canfield: “We sailed really well today. We finally got back into the groove. We are confident that we will do well in our last race against Minoprio. I can say this has been one of the toughest regattas we have had do date. It is one of the hardest events we have sailed recently as most of the events now only have 12 competitors to meet before the quarter finals – here we have 20.
Phil Robertson: “We did almost everything right so we are doing pretty well. There are some great young teams and they are really good and coming up fast. Our day was almost perfect but it could have been more perfect. We are closing in now on the quarter finals but we are not there yet. The left was important today and staying to leeward.”
Johnnie Berntsson: We are still in this and we have three races to go. We are sailing better today and we feel that today we have sorted out some of our issues and we are improving. We have confidence in our performance tomorrow.”
Lance Fraser: “We feel good with our progress and all things considered it worked out well. I feel like fellow Bermudian Josh Greenslade is where I was a year or so ago and it is not easy but he should be pleased with his outcome. We also owe a lot to Blythe Walker who does a lot for the class, a lot for us, and we have learned a lot from him. I really admire his decision to let one of the younger skippers sail and this is the kind of field where these competitors simply seize on any mistake you make. There is no room for mistakes.”
Josh Greenslade: “We were able to take Richard in a lead change at the end so that was great. I am glad we did this and I actually thought we could have had more wins on the board. I think I need to be more aggressive at this stuff… we have been doing a lot of boat handling and time and distance and we have done all we can to have a shot in the racing as we go up against only ourselves.”
Chris Steele: “We are sailing really well and we are trying to take as much out of this as we can get and wish we could get a bit more out of it then we are getting. We feel like we did pretty well.”
Eric Monnin: “Not where we want to be for sure but we are doing the best we can do is 5-4 at this point. I made some mistakes today against Taylor Canfield and did not sail where I wanted to go.” Updated results are at http://www.wmrt.com/component/wmrt/event_results/90.html
Racing begins again at 10:00 ADT Thursday with racing in Group 1. Group 2 races follow. The Round-Robin concludes Thursday morning, if racing goes as planned.
Thursday - Winds south-southeasterly 8 to 12 knots, becoming southwesterly by mid morning, increasing 10 to 15 knots at times...
Friday - Winds southwesterly 8 to 12 knots...
Saturday - Winds southwesterly 8 to 12 knots, becoming variable 5 knots overnight...
Sunday - Winds northerly 5 to 10 knots, veering east-northeasterly 10 to 15 knots overnight...