Youth and aggression fights age and experience

Nothing could stop the best international match racers in the world, in their quest to win enough Monsoon Cup quarter final matches to secure one of the four semi-final berths.

The Monsoon Cup is the final event in the World Match Racing Tour and the deciding event in the 2008 ISAF World Match Racing Championship.

The eight teams contesting the quarter final stage had to battle heavy monsoonal downpours, strong river current and gusty 15 to 20 knots winds.

Through to the semi finals are Torvar Mirsky and his Mirsky Racing Team, current World Champion Ian Williams and his Bahrain Team Pindar, Adam Minoprio and his Black Match Racing/ETNZ team, and Peter Gilmour and his Yanmar Racing team.

Round Robin stage champion Italian Paolo Cian (Team Shosholoza) was up against 23-year-old New Zealand Adam Minoprio. It took four matches for Minoprio to shake off the event leader.

'Fantastic result. To get picked again after the round robin; last year we missed out on the semi-finals finishing 2-3 to Gilmour and this year we beat Cian 3-1, we are stoked. We had our time on distance really sorted and we were feeling very comfortable in the boat. We managed to win every start.

'In the first race (lost to Cian) we mucked up the tactics on the beat and then in the rest of the races we sorted it out,' Minoprio said.

Veteran match racing circuit skipper, Sweden's Magnus Holmberg (Victory Challenge) went up against Australian Torvar Mirsky. Mirsky dominated each of their three matches, the last one showing just why Mirsky is up the top of the international rankings, as he drove home his advantage to beat Holmberg by over four boat lengths.

'We convincingly beat Magnus. He is such a big name in the sport. It feels like all of our hard work and all of our experience, and all the practice we have had this year is finally paying off at the best and biggest event. We are really happy with how we are going,' Mirsky said.

Mathieu Richard (French Sailing Team/French Spirit), who held third place on the world match racing championship score board going into the Monsoon Cup, was up against defending Monsoon Cup champion Ian Williams. Williams came out of the start line in the each of their matches with incredible aggression and was on fire winning three straight matches and qualifying for the semi-final stage.

'I don't think we have ever beaten Richard 3-0 in a best of five before. We have had so many close races over the years. To come out 3-0; we are really pleased with how we performed,' Williams said.

Dato' Peter Gilmour faced Sebastien Col (French Sailing Team/K-Challenge) in his quarter final bout. Col going into the Monsoon Cup was second on the World Match Racing Tour scoreboard. In the first match Gilmour made the fatal mistake, for the second time in this event, of drifting into the line of the race committee boat and collecting their anchor line. This closed him out of the first match.

He rebounded in the second, lost out in the third, fought back again in the fourth, and then again in the fifth sailing a tactically clever final race, hunting Col down to the last seconds of the final leg and winning the flight 3-2. This result takes Gilmour and his team through to the semi finals.

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