Asian Qualifiers key to World Match Racing Tour door
05:11:09 In preparation for the Asian Match Racing Championship 2009 next week, the F36 racing yachts, were launched at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa in Pulau Duyong, amid strong winds in excess of 20 knots at times. The first yacht was successfully launched into the water at 10.50pm. Work to transfer the yachts from the storage area (hardstand) into the water continued throughout the night to take advantage of the high tide in Kuala Terengganu. 'It is a delicate operation for us at every Monsoon Cup. We want to ensure that the boats are lowered safely because the team has worked so hard over the past few months to prepare the boats for the Monsoon Cup,' said Yacht Manager David Mills. The Malaysian Meteorological Department predictions for Friday, 06/11/2009 is for scattered rain the whole day with NE wind speed in excess of 50-60km/h. As the wave height to seaward of the basin is expected to be in the 3.5 - 4.5m vicinity, we can safely say the NE Monsoon has arrived early and with a vengeance. More details on the Monsoon Cup Qualifiers can also be found on the MC 09 Facebook site.
The 2009 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) overall leader going into the final event of the nine regatta series, is 22 year old Kiwi Adam Minoprio's BlackMatch Racing Team, made their debut onto the International match racing scene after winning the inaugural Asian Qualifiers back in 2006 and again in 2007. In 2008 they went on to compete in their own right at more WMRT events and qualified second at the Monsoon Cup quarter-finals last year. Peter Gilmour, the ultimate event winner, choose Minoprio as his opponent because as Adam relates "We were the young guys. We managed to take him to two-all, which was rather cool, but he got us in the end so we ended up seventh." Minoprio, totally believes 'The Asian Qualifiers were our key to the door.'
One of the twelve crew positions in this year's Monsoon Cup, will be decided next week (Nov 9-12) at the Asian Match Racing Championships (Asian Qualifiers), on the Pulau Duyong basin in Terengganu.
The event favourite is 22 year old Auckland sailor Phil Robertson, who joined the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Youth Training Program at the age of 17. PhiI is no stranger to match racing as he crewed for Adam Minoprio when they won the Warren Jones Regatta (Perth, WA) in 2006 and again in 2008, which enabled them to join the northern hemisphere Match Racing circuit. We were ranked 55th in the world when we went over there and we entered as many regattas as we could. We came back ranked 25th. We won the Chicago Match Cup and competed in three World Tour events: Portugal, the Danish Open and the Gold Cup. We've had some really good wins beating Ian Williams in our first race as well as a couple of other guys, who are top sailors. We beat Peter Gilmour in the Gold Cup. We also won against Adam Minoprio, Mathieu Richard and Sebastian Col during the year. But its very, very tough racing and we had plenty of losses too. However our Waka Racing Team has achieved its goals this year and chopped our ranking in half; the goal is to do that again next year and get into the top ten. Right now we are focused on the Asian Match Racing Championships, and if we are successful there, then it will be the Monsoon Cup" concluded the determined Kiwi.
One of Robertson's biggest rivals will be Michael Dunstan, the 27 year old Australian, who won four Australian Match Racing Championships before taking a three year break from the Match Racing scene. Dunstan says, 'The Nationals this year in September was the first event I've done in three years. I re-ignited my passion for it. Mirsky and Minoprio are doing very well dominating the circuit, which is good to see. It's great to see other young guys get on the circuit - it's awesome. I've done a fair few regattas in the Foundation 36s at three Australian Match Racing Championships and at the Warren Jones Regattas. I've also been involved in setting up the Women's Match Racing squad with Yachting Australia and the Australian Sailing Team and I'm the Technical Coordinator of the Australian Sailing Team and the Slam Match Race Team,' concluded a busy Dunstan.
Hong Kong's Martin Kaye is another competitor hoping to win entry into the Monsoon Cup via the Asian Qualifiers. 'This is our fourth Asian Qualifiers. Each of the times we've done reasonably well against the other Asian competitors but we've been knocked out by young fellows like New Zealand's Adam Minoprio, who is now leading the World Tour. It would be fantastic to get a top spot, just to be sailing against some of the really big guns. That's the honour - It's the best match racing event in Asia, by a long way. It is a very challenging course; quite a twisted tide system on Pulau Duyong, with two rivers coming into a basin so there are times when the tides are rather confused. It's a little bit shifty with the wind, but I think that's what makes it quite exciting.' The 42 year old skipper continued, 'It's my favourite event of the year; also quite important as we are representing Hong Kong in the new Match Racing event in the Asian Sailing Championship in March 2010, which is a prelude to the Asian Games. The Monsoon Cup has really lifted the profile of sailing in Asia.'
Also contesting is 24-year-old Nurual Ain who was the only female skipper in the 2008 Monsoon Cup after wining the 2008 Malaysian Match Racing Championship and a wildcard entry into the Monsoon Cup last year. Heading out for two bites at the cheery is the Malaysian Armed Forces team MAF 1 skippered by Mohamad Razali Mansor which should give the team an extra boost before the MMRC in two weeks time. The Malaysian Match Racing Championships are scheduled for Pulau Duyong, Kuala Terengganu from November 23 - 26. The winner will also book a place in the Monsoon Cup.
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