suffers first defeat as Malaysian crew come to the fore...
PULAU DUYONG (OCT 26, 2010): David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour is one win away from reaching the Asian Match Racing Championship (AMRC) semi-finals, but his perfect record was crushed in stunning fashion by Reuben Corbett (NZL) Black Sheep Racing and his all-Malaysian crew at the five-star Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa today.
The AMRC is the second qualifying event for the season-ending Monsoon Cup and the Champion will join Jeremy Koo (Mas) Koo Racing Team-Evernew, winner of the Malaysian Match Racing Championship (MMRC), the top eight skippers in the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) standing, the winner of the Sunseeker Australia Cup and one wildcard entry for the season-ending race of the 2010 season.
Gilmour, who swept the Qualifying Session 1 with a perfect 8-0 record, started the Qualifying Session 2 on a winning note when he defeated Mark Lees (GBR) Team Echo. However, Corbett and his Malaysian crew – Mohammad Razali Mansor, Azhar Saadon Zubir, Rafiz Ibrahim and Hairolnizam Hat – stopped his winning run when they won their match by 49 seconds.
Gilmour now has a 10-2 record after also losing to Peter Nicholas (AUS) Freshie Racing Team, but completed a double when he once again defeated defending AMRC Champion Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing.
With the top four skippers going into the semi-finals, Gilmour only needs one more win to book his place in the final four. Robertson is second with a 9-2 record while Corbett also has nine wins but from 12 matches. Wataru Sakamoto (JPN) Team Siesta is fourth after winning seven of his 11 matches. Graeme Sutherland (HKG) Team Hermes is fifth with 6-6 record.
Corbett has been pleasantly surprised with his Malaysia crew’s performance and happy to be in the hunt for a berth in the semi-finals. “I was last in Malaysia in 2006 and I don’t think I exaggerate if I say the Malaysian sailors’ skill level have increased 10-fold,” said Corbett.
I’m taking it one match at a time and not thinking about the semi-finals just yet. We did a good job today to win all our matches in the second qualifying session.”
“The Malaysian crew may need a bit more international exposure but what is being done in Malaysia will certainly help.” Corbett was referring to the annual Monsoon Sailing School (MSS), a programme initiated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to nurture new talent and professionalism among Malaysian sailors.
It is at the MSS that these sailors are able to develop and fine tune their match racing skills and to ultimately realise their ambitions to compete in Match Racing.
One of the matches of the day came when defending champion Phil Robertson (NZL) and his WAKA Racing team, were beaten by Gilmour. Robertson attracted a penalty in the pre-start; they had a massive lead at the top of the first beat and should have wiped their penalty off then. Robertson said shaking his head 'a big mistake, but we decided to do it later and Gilly came back at us. He halved our lead on the run, and then we ran out of time. We threw that one away.
Robertson, admitted the competition is definitely tougher than last year and it is going to be much harder to win this week. “To be honest, last year the teams were not as strong as the one's I’m facing now. The quality has increased tremendously and it will tough to retain the title,” said Robertson, who credited winning last year’s AMRC as the catalyst for his rapid improvement.
“I got tremendous coverage and media exposure after I won and getting the chance to sail in the Monsoon Cup was a big incentive. It helped me improve as a sailor as it is a competition for the world’s elite sailors. “I believe the AMRC will continue to grow into a major event in this region.”
I think it is fantastic that there are so many young and pretty keen guys like David and Reuben aiming for the Tour. This regatta is starting to become one of the main events for anyone from down under.'
While David Gilmour (AUS) and Phil Robertson (NZL) look relatively safe, as does Rueben Corbett (NZL) on form, Wataru Sakamoto (JPN) 6-4, is fighting to hold out Mark Lees (GBR) 5-6 and Graeme Sutherland (HKG) 4-6.
As Britisher Mark Lees commented dockside 'Yesterday we were beaten by Graeme Sutherland from Hong Kong in flight 2, but we turned the tables today. The RYA used to be very active organising Match Racing events, now we have to go to Europe to get experience and the Asia Pacific opportunities are rapidly outstripping those of any other region.'
MATCH RACING CHAMPIONSHIP
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