YANMAR Racing Team looks ahead to Match Race Germany

Racing for the first time ever at Match Race France in Marseille, Australian Peter Gilmour and his YANMAR Racing team crew have struggled in the qualifying rounds in this first event of the ISAF 2010 World Match Racing Tour.

After the first two days of racing they had taken just two wins in eight matches, not what Match Racing fans would have expected from the four times Match Racing World Champion.

Also at risk were Gian Luca Perris (MON) 2-5 and Bertrand Pace (FRA). Aleph Sailing Team were 1-5. as just eight of the 12 crews would make the quarter finals.

Flight 12; Gilmour and his YANMAR Racing team were first up against Monaco's Perris who had started his campaign in blistering fashion, beating the reigning world champion Adam Minoprio and the British superstar, Ben Ainslie and his TeamOrigin on the first day of this Marseille event.

It was a tight start but Gilmour led Perris around the windward mark and from then on was unchallenged and won comfortably. So, YANMAR Racing now had a 3-6 record. An absolute minimum of four wins would be needed to force a tie break.

Overall, Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) and Perris were having a bad day and were now definitely going home; the two to join them would come from Bertrand Pace, Francesco Bruni (ITA) and Gilmour.

So for YANMAR Racing, a win was needed urgently against the 2009 World Champion Adam Minoprio. Gilmour had the edge at the windward mark; He gybed first and Minoprio followed him onto starboard.

Gilmour was ahead at the leeward mark, but Minoprio was overlapped. Gilmour was forced to tack away, and Minoprio managed to go left, the favoured side, he rounded the top mark for the second time comfortably in front and went on to win. Ouch!

Only three wins, with one more race to sail, however there was still hope for YANMAR Racing, another win could see them in the tie break.

The do or die match was Gilmour versus Philippe Presti (FRA). Gilmour led Presti at the top mark, but only just. Simultaneous gybes for Gilmour and Presti, then a huge luff from Gilmour. Presti almost rolled him... but not quite.

From the bottom mark Gilmour went left, which had paid off so far all day, but not this time. Presti gained out on the right and rounded the final mark a long way ahead of Gilmour. The Frenchman cruised to victory.

So Gilmour and his YANMAR Racing team are sent home early, a crushing start to the Tour for the four-time world champion.

Peter Gilmour commented ashore, "Coming into this event, we knew it would be tough for us, we have a much better record in bigger boats. However, to miss out on the Quarter finals in Marseille is disappointing; we are however, able to take some real positives away from the result."

"All the teams, except for Ben Ainslie have sailed extensively in these boats. This is our first time in the J80. They are really specific to small boat techniques and style. It is particularly impressive to see Mirsky and Minoprio sailing and it reminds me back to my days as a 24 year old in the Soling!

'We were improving in both speed and technique as the days went on. However, in my view we need another two or three weeks of work to be up to pace with the best."

'In 2010 YANMAR Racing will be sailing more events on the Tour than ever before and we will be back in full force at Match Race Germany, during May."

There is no doubt that this early exit will mean the YANMAR Racing team will be working extra hard to ensure that their great record is maintained at Match Race Germany, as crew man Yasuhiro Yaji explained, "Many of our races in this series were very close, we just needed to be better in some technical areas."

"However, there is always a way back. We had a couple of bad regattas last year in Bermuda and St Moritz, but we recovered. Missing the cut here will make us work harder."

"We are looking forward to sailing in the Bavaria 36 Match in Germany, it will suit our style. We have won there three times and have made the podium regularly."

Quarter Finalists
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Ben Ainslie (GBR) TeamOrigin
Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch Racing
Philippe Presti (FRA)
Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Italia
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra
Sebastien Col (FRA) ALL4ONE