French Match Cup - A Big Challenge - A Great Field
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The first event of the 2010 World Match Racing Tour; Match Race France, will start in Marseille in a few hours and the only multi-season winner on the circuit, Australian Peter Gilmour, has labeled this event as 'challenging' for his YANMAR Racing team.

In 2009, Peter Gilmour and his YANMAR Racing team, finished fourth overall behind Adam Minoprio and his BlackMatch Emirates Team New Zealand crew, Ben Ainslie's Team Origin and Torvar Mirsky's Mirsky Racing Team crew. This year he is looking for even better results, but there are lots of hurdles ahead.

Ahead of the event he commented, ''Match Race France is certainly going to be challenging. For us to make the semi finals against the younger guys competing would certainly be an achievement as the 7.5 meter J80 will suit their style.'

America's Cup sailor, Yasuhiro Yaji, who has been a core member of Peter Gilmour's match racing team for the last fifteen years agreed, 'Everyone is going to be dangerous. Adam and Torvar are in great form and the French crews know the J80 and have local knowledge. Ben Ainslie and ourselves have not raced this event before, but Ben loves small boats and of course he has a superb record.'

'It's been a busy few days. We chartered a J80 on Sunday, it was 25 knots, gusting to 30 knots, rough conditions and Peter, as always, pushes us hard.'

After three days of strong south easterly gusting into the thirties, today the winds eased for the official practice day. This afternoon's practice session, the northerly was blowing at around 13 knots initially and then increased to15 -17 knots and eventually a solid 17-18 knots.

The 19 year old elder son of Peter Gilmour, David is on mainsheet.

Gilly Jnr certainly has the genes and is rapidly gaining experience. In the 2010 Warren Jones International Youth Regatta, David finished third, behind Bill Tiller and Phil Roberston. David has crewed twice before on the World Match Racing Tour for his father, in 2005 and 2006 in St.Moritz.

He commented today, 'The role isn't too physical, but its just getting used to sailing these boats, which aren't too dissimilar to the local match racing boats we have in Perth, but conditions will be significantly different here at Match Race France.'

37 year old America's Cup sailor, Thierry Douillard (FRA), will be on the bow for YANMAR Racing in this event. Douillard, an experienced YANMAR Racing crew member, has been sailing offshore for the last two months, onboard Oman Sail's Majan, the new A100 trimaran. He has just completed the 4600 mile Cape Town to Fremantle, Western Australia leg in less than 12 days.

Douillard laughed after today's practice, 'The winds of the last three days, 25 - 30 knots, still seem very light compared to the Southern ocean. (We had 70 knots there) but the contrast as bowman on a J80, is quite something.'

Yaji reported, 'There were five boats in our two hour practice session and we were the odd boat, so we did not have any boat-on-boat practice but at this stage we feel that the key issue will be boat handling. So we have been hard at work on our mark roundings and running.'

'On this course at 20 knots, an upwind leg may take ten minutes, while down wind is just four and boats will be surfing past each other if the wind stays up, so catching puffs and waves will be crucial. It's going to be a very interesting regatta.'

Match Race France 2010 Crew List

Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch Racing
Crew: Dave Swete, Tom Powrie, Nick Blackman

Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Crew: Graeme Spence, Tudor Owen, Kyle Langford

Crew: Iain Percy, Christian Kamp, Matt Cornwell

Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
Crew: Thierry Douillard, Yasuhiro Yaji, David Gilmour

Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Crew: Greg Evrard, Thierry Briend, Olivier Herledant

Sebastien Col (FRA) ALL 4 ONE
Crew: Gilles Favennec, Christophe Andre, Cedric Chateau

Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Italia
Crew: Pier Luigi Fornelli, Zennaro, Gaetano Figlia Di Granara

Philippe Presti (FRA)
Crew: Christian Ponthieu, Julien Falxa, Olivier Cardin Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra
Crew: Gabriele Bruni, Pierluigi de Felice, Matteo Auguadro

Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA)
Crew: Nicholas Pauchet, Mathieu Renault, Nicolas Heintz

Betrand Pace (FRA) Aleph
Crew: Benoit Briand, Herve Cunningham, Francois Verdier

Gian Luca Perris (MON)
Crew: Francois Brenac, Philippe Buchart, Mikael Mergui