Monsoon semi finals leaders focused and on fire

Four focused and fired up international match racing teams are through to the Monsoon Cup semi final stage and already on the water vying for a place in the finals.

Torvar Mirsky (Mirsky Racing Team), Ian Williams (Bahrain Team Pindar), Adam Minoprio (ETNZ/Black Match Racing) and Peter Gilmour (Yanmar Racing) are battling it out on the waters of Terengganu, Malaysia. The Monsoon Cup is the final event in the World Match Racing Tour. Winning this event will be the highlight of the year for any one of these teams.

The first semi final match between Ian Williams and Adam Minoprio saw Williams pull ahead of Minoprio to win the match. In their second match both teams continued to chase the favoured right hand side of the course playing the strong current and shifty breezes. Williams took the upper hand crossing the finish line two boat lengths ahead of Minoprio.

"It felt very comfortable. It felt fast. We made a real improvement today in the way we sailed the boat, the way we communicated. I felt today was possibly the third or fourth time this year where we sailed like world
champions. We have never done two days of that; not since this regatta last year. Nobody was going to beat us today.

"We are on fire. Communication was spot on, good judgement calls and the timing right (on communication). We had some really tough matches, particularly against Mathieu. We had a start that could have gone really badly for us, but we made it go good. Adam, well he struggled against us and we were a lot more comfortable. But we have to do the same tomorrow," Williams said. 

Gilmour was back on the water for the first match of his semi final battle with Mirsky after winning the final and fifth race in his quarter final battle against Col in controversial circumstances.

Jury Chair Bill Edgerton explained the decision to award the final match to Gilmour. "The race committee evidence was that Peter Gilmour's spinnaker went across first and Sebastien Col's bow went over first. There is this thing about gear in its normal position. Both parties accepted that was the situation on the water. Then it was just a matter of whether the spinnaker was in its normal position or not. When they are reaching at 90 degrees, dropping the kite, that is where the kite would be in a normal manoeuvre.

"All the parties accepted that the spinnaker went over first and the bow went over afterwards. There wasn't any contention about the facts. It was legally whether the spinnakers would be counted as part of the boat or not, or if they deliberately eased the spinnaker to get a finish. They didn't. They were both in the process of dropping their spinnakers."

The Jury decision effectively handed Ian Williams the 2008 ISAF World Match Racing Championship trophy.

Gilmour took out his first match against Mirsky with a three boat lead at the finish.

Reflecting on the afternoon's controversy and its possible distractions, Gilmour said "you need to get your thinking focusing on the here and now and not on the outcome. This concept has a very profound effect on how you perform. The most powerful tool in the match racing game is your head and how you control it.'

The results of today's semi final racing are -
Adam Minoprio 0 - Ian Williams 2
Torvar Mirsky 0 - Peter Gilmour 1

Racing in the semi-final stage will continue tomorrow with Williams, Minoprio, Mirsky and Gilmour all to complete their matches.

The Final matches will be shown live on Asia's ESPN Star Sport from 2.30pm until the completion of racing.

Watch the racing on the internet,