Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Monsoon Cup Malaysia

'Adam Minoprio trails Ben Ainslie into the top mark on day 1 of the Monsoon Cup 2009. Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. 2 December 2009. Photo: Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images' Monsoon Cup ©
The Monsoon Cup 2009 - The Toughest Day at the Office


The Monsoon rain in Kuala Terengganu on the east coast of Malaysia, with more than 200mm (eight inches) falling in the last 24 hours, has provided a dramatic backdrop to the 2009 Monsoon Cup, the final event in the 2009 World Match Racing Tour.

Overnight there had been heavy thunderstorms and during the skippers briefing this morning there was driving rain with claps of thunder and flashes of lightning.

David Tallis, Principal Race Officer of the Monsoon Cup commented ‘Rain is not a problem for us unless it is so torrential that the loss of visibility makes racing unsafe, but we will come off the water if there is local lightning.’

Luckily neither case happened, rain eased just ahead of the scheduled start time but heavy thunderstorms lashed the sailors, as predicted, in the late afternoon.

Upstream the Terengganu River is heavily swollen, with many villages and towns flooded. The currents sweep fast across the Pulau Duyong (Mermaid Island) Basin course and downstream to the river mouth. The current flow across the Basin varies dramatically with the tide, most of the volume coming from the southern side of the Island from the rear of the starting box.

So the scene was set for an enthralling battle and as expected the current flow, of up to five knots at its peak, provided 'a winning elevator' out on the right hand side of the course.

The 2005 and 2008 Monsoon Cup champion Peter Gilmour summed up the day. ‘It was tough, give no quarter and take no quarter. The way it was today the start was super critical, for a short while the pin end worked. Then it was back to the boat end and head right, if you mucked it up boy you had a lot of work to do. But actually with plenty of wind it was a sensational day of racing.

‘The monsoon was certainly here with vengeance today, it was the most challenging combination of wind, rain and tide I remember in all of the five Monsoon Cups - the toughest day at the office.’

With 150 World Match Racing Tour competition points and more than US$450,000 of prize money at stake the pre-start battles were adrenalin pumping.

Whilst most of the results were as expected, there were some surprises.

After a shock loss to World number seventh ranked Damien Iehl in his first match this morning, the 2009 Tour leader Emirates Team New Zealand BlackMatch skipper Adam Minoprio commented ‘we won the start, made a silly little mistake and were penalized. That was it, we lost our first race, but we won't do that again.’

The pressure was on. For Minoprio it was straight back to business for the perfect start; he won on the left, then he was first to tack to the right, after suckering Magnus Holmberg into a penalty. Read more @

Monsoon Cup Results Day One WINS LOSS

Adam Minoprio (NZL) - ENTZ/Black Match Racing 3
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) - Mirsky Racing 3 1
Ian Williams (GBR) - Team Pindar 1 3
Mathieu Richard (FRA) - French Match Racing Team 3 1
Peter Gilmour (AUS) - YANMAR Racing 3 1
Ben Ainslie (GBR) - TeamOrigin 3 1
Damien Iehl (FRA) - French Match Racing Team 3 2
Sebastien Col (FRA) - French Match Racing Team/ALL4ONE 2 1
Magnus Holmberg (SWE) - Victory Challenge 2 2
Francesco Bruni (ITA) - Team Azzura 1 3
Phil Robertson (NZL) - Team New Zealand WAKA Racing 1 3
Hazwan Hazim Dermanwan (MAS) - Tarian Pelangi TESA 0 4

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by Rob Kothe & Al Constable