Monsoon Cup – AY Race Report 4 – Weather plays havoc with Monsoon Cup

2015/16 World Match Racing Tour – Monsoon Cup
Puteri Harbour, Iskandar, Johor

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AY Race Report 4

Weather plays havoc with Monsoon Cup
By AsianYachting MultiMedia
Puteri Harbour, Johor (Jan 29th): A short delay waiting for the wind, then at the slightest flutter of the flags, six teams ventured out to complete the remaining two flights of the qualifying Round Robin. After 22 flights, 66 races for 12 teams, 14 boat change over’s and numerous course adjustments latter, four teams bow out of the competition and eight teams carry on into the sudden death quarter finals. With 3rd to 8th places, still open for the taking, all eyes were on the live coverage and see how the rankings would pan out.

After an even split tack start, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing, edged ahead of Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing and stayed in the wind lanes, to climb into 6th place above Swinton in the rankings. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar ghosted around in front of Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox but Monnin got the wind shift first on the final downwind, to hand Williams a third defeat.

Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One wins the start but Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing rounded the top mark first, only for Canfield to retake them on the downwind. While Canfield offloaded the pre-start penalty, Robertson sneaks around the top mark again, but Canfield fired back on the downwind and enters into a spirited luffing duel on the overtake, but incurs a red flag penalty for not keeping clear, which allows Robinson through for the win and stay in the running for a quarter final spot.

Final Flight 22 determined the overall rankings and order of the quarter final berths. In a do or die effort, Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing faced elimination and by defeating Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox adds two wins to the tally and becomes the comeback kid, leaping into 7th place and a quarter final berth.

Picture perfect start for Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One Racing and extends around the course to eliminate Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing from the regatta. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar nails the start and keeps a close cover upwind on Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing. Hansen attacks on the downwind and the match is far from over. Eventually Williams prevails and ends up in second place.

Then there is only eight left.
As Taylor Canfield ended on top of the leader board, they have first pick of the team to race in the Quarter finals and another advantage is taking the starboard tack entry in their match up. As Johnie Berntsson has the worst win record, Canfield choose them as opponents in the Quarter Final.

Second pick for Ian Williams and the youthful Joachim Aschenbrenner steps into the firing line. That leaves Eric Monnin verses Phil Robertson on a roll and Nicolai Sehested verses Björn Hansen for the best of three races, sudden death quarter final.

Flight 1
Björn Hansen leads off the line but Nicolai Sehested comes back at them to claim the lead. Hansen reclaims the lead and comfortably takes the first race in their match up.

A very feisty pre-start for Phil Robertson and Nicolai Sehested, where both skippers received penalties. Robertson pops out in the lead at the start but quickly is overhauled by Sehested and despite Robertson’s hunger to win, could not come back on this occasion.

First blood goes to Ian Williams off the line and around the course but a big gust on the run into the finish, saw Joachim Aschenbrenner take advantage and come surfing past to win the first race by a nose.

Flight 2
Björn Hansen leads off the line again in race 2 and try as hard as they could, Nicolai Sehested couldn’t match the pace to give Hansen clear passage into the Semi Finals. Hansen feels his team is improving every day and just hitting their straps.

Phil Robertson gamely makes a big move on the last downwind to be level pegging with Nicolai Sehested and a split in gybes goes in his favour and lives on to fight another race.

Ian Williams was not to be denied in this race and led around the course, to even up the score at 1-1. Joachim Aschenbrenner jib tack parted company and took a while to fix but no excuses and on with the next match to settle the score.

Then down came the rain and stopped play, leaving the quarter final match ups delicately poised. Between heavy downpours, attempts were made to finish off the quarter finals but as time ticked by, it became evident this wasn’t possible.

Tough day for Tour Director Craig Michell to step in and cancel the quarter finals in their tracks. The policy for many years has been for the top four teams, to advance into the Semi Finals. To an outsider, this may seem to be a drastic move, as it deprives lower order teams an opportunity to progress up, based on their sailing abilities in the nearly completed quarter finals. Mixed emotions but at least the top three teams vying for the WMRT championship are still in the running.

So the Semi Final line up and opponents are, Taylor Canfield versus Eric Monnin and Ian Williams takes on Björn Hansen.

The schedule for the last day tomorrow, is to dive straight into the Semi Finals at 1000hrs and the winners move onto the Grand Final in the afternoon. The Sultan of Johor, DYMM Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Ibni al-Marhum Sultan Iskandar will be presenting the gold Tunku Laksamana Johor trophy to the Monsoon Cup winner and crowning the 2015 World Match Racing Tour champion at the closing ceremony.

Watch the final day of racing live online via tomorrow at 1000 hours Malaysian local time.

The latest news, event updates and results can be found at the Monsoon Cup and the full experience including live video can be viewed via the World Match Racing Tour.

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