Winds of 10-15 knots off Fort Adams enabled the race organizers to pile in a full day of competition at the World Match Racing Tour Newport, to conclude the Super 16 Knockout round. The gusty conditions on Newport Harbor once again made for nail-biting racing with much hull flying and lead changes.
The busy Super 16s comprised eight first-to-three-points matches, the seeding determined by the first two days of Qualifying with the result that a further eight skippers are today heading home.
A few of these series went 3-0: Dackhammar and his ESSIQ Racing Teamwinning the Swedish derby against Johnie Berntson’s FLUX Team; Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar taking out Matt Jerwood; Nicolai Sehested’s Trefor Match Racing beating Eric Monnin; Yann Guichard’s Spindrift Racing coming out on top against Swedish Olympic silver medallist Hans Wallén; and Swede Stefan Rahm conquering Sally Barlow’s Team Magenta 32. But these definitive scorelines mostly didn’t reflect the closeness of the racing and the numerous spectacular moments that stirred the crowds gathered along the shoreline of Newport’s historic Fort Adams.
Johnie Berntsson looked to be in a commanding position to claw back a point in his third match against Nicklas Dackhammer, having won the start and then led around the course. Coming into the last mark Berntsson appeared to have his young rival put away…until disaster struck.
“We’d pushed him out to the boundary and were inside and had room at the mark when the traveller got stuck,” admitted Berntsson. With FLUX Teamunable to come down, Dackhammer sneaked inside, claimed his third win and so a berth in tomorrow’s Quarter Finals. Berntsson said that a lot of races hadn’t gone their way, which he attributed to a lack of practice in the M32 catamaran. “We were trying to watch what Nicolai’s team was doing to copy them. We fell down on our own skills, which we need to improve.”
Dane Nicolai Sehested and his Trefor Match Racing crew was dominating their series against Eric Monnin; however, a superb final hull-flying run by the Swiss team made it seem certain they would recover a point. As Monnin recounted: “We did a very nice gybe set at the top mark and got the puff and we were very fast and strong. I knew we were coming back into the mark with the right of way, so we rounded ahead of him, but we got a penalty for going outside the boundary – which I don’t remember.”
Otherwise Monnin said he was pleased with how they had sailed in Newport. “It was our best Super 16 in terms of the quality of what we did, but there were too many problems.”
Spindrift Racing skipper Yann Guichard was pleased to have turned the Quarter Final result from Fremantle around on his Super 16 adversary today, Hans Wallén. “Our team work and team spirit today were really good because Hans Wallén is a really aggressive competitor.” Guichard said that since Copenhagen they have been working on their starting in the M32, which paid off today, along with excellent crew work. “I am very happy today to get three in a row.”
Team Magenta 32’s U.S. helmswoman, Sally Barkow, seemed personally deflated after her matches against Sweden’s Stefan Rahm: “I think the boat was going well and we were sailing okay in the boat, but I was making some bad decisions. You could tell we were doing well, because we were gaining, but around the course, we were being too risky.
“The first race we were behind and we gained, but not enough to pass. In the second race we were ahead and there was an OCS which didn’t get reconciled, but then I gave it away on the dial-down, just by not being clear on what we are trying to achieve. The third one we gave away on the pre-start, when we didn’t get our heads out of the boat and see the big shift.”
A seasoned match racer, Barkow is enjoying match racing the M32, although Team Magenta 32 remains on a steep learning curve: “There is a heck of a lot to learn. It has been interesting to watch the different techniques and timings which are working. No one is really regimented about it yet. I think we are right in the game, but we just need to put it together a bit cleaner.”
Some matches went to the wire including the U.S. derby where Taylor Canfield and his US One team eventually overcame Californian sailor Michael Menninger and his 13 FIFTY crew. The ‘Aussie-Kiwi’ dust-up that concluded the day between David Gilmour and Phil Robertson saw some of the most aggressive and high speed racing. But after Gilmour won the opening match, Robertson claimed the next three.
Tomorrow the World Match Racing Tour Newport progresses to Quarter Finals with a live broadcast once again starting at 2pm local time (1800 UTC), viewable on www.wmrt.com
Newport Results Day 4 – Super 16 Knockout
The winner of each pair moves on to the Quarter Finals tomorrow.
1. Chris Steele (NZL), 36 Below Racing – 3 points
2. Steve Thomas (AUS), RPM Racing – 1 points
1. Phil Robertson (NZL), WAKA Racing – 3 points
2. David Gilmour (AUS), Team Gilmour – 1 points
1. Nicolai Sehested (DEN), TRE_FOR Match Racing – 3 points
2. Eric Monnin (SUI), Albert Riele Swiss Team – 0 points
1. Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar, – 3 points
2. Matt Jerwood (AUS), Redline Racing – 0 points
1. Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), ESSIQ Racing Team – 3 points
2. Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Flux Team – 0 points
1. Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift Racing – 3 points
2. Hans Wallen (SWE), Wallen Racing – 0 points
1. Mattias Rahm (SWE), Rahm Racing – 3 points
2. Sally Barkow (USA), Team Magenta 32 – 0 points
1. Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One – 3 points
2. Michael Menninger (USA), 13FIFTY Racing – -1.5 points