Light Winds delay racing at Brasil Sailing Cup

Torvar Mirsky (front) and Ian Williams (background) - Brasil Sailing Cup
Group A leader Ian Williams and Team Pindar could only sit and watch as an unusually light and shifty northerly breeze prevented the intended completion of round robin action for both Groups A and B on Day Two of the Brasil Sailing Cup.

Only the six skippers and teams from Group B were able to race today, and a bailer problem with one of the SM40’s used in the competition kept two pairs from racing to conclude this round.

But the outcome one of these matches will determine the winner of the round robin, and therefore the placings of the top three teams who will advance to the Quarter Finals, along with the top two who will emerge from the Repechage in order to advance.

World Match Racing Tour veteran Paolo Cian (ITA) and his Team Shosholoza, who finished with four wins in this round, are hoping Peter Wibroe (DEN), the reigning European Match Race Champion, defeats another WMRT veteran Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and his Alandia Sailing Team, as Hansen today defeated Cian, and would therefore win a tie-break.

Of his only loss in the round, Cian said 'We felt we had full control of the pre-start, but Bjorn was just able to sneak in at the pin at the start, and the left side of the course was favored. But otherwise I think we sailed well.' Cian finished third here in Vitoria in last November’s 2007 edition of the Brasil Sailing Cup, so he’s looking for a strong finish in this year’s contest.

In only his second day of competition in the SM40’s, 20-year old local favorite Henrique Haddad and his team of 'cariocas' (the name given by Brazilians to anyone from Rio de Janeiro) of the Giant Sailing Team upset Victory Challenge strategist Mattias Rahm (SWE) and his Stenna Bulk Sailing Team in a move that even the best match racers find hard to master.

After being denied the favored left side off the start by the Swedes, the cariocas managed nonetheless to keep it close enough on the first beat to do a perfectly executed dial-down maneuver near the windward mark, forcing Rahm to tack twice to make the mark while Haddad rounded ahead. A perfect spinnaker set and effective covering tactics then kept the cariocas in the lead throughout the remainder of the match.

'We practice a lot on the Virtual Skipper software,' said Haddad, 'and it has helped us understand these moves.' Haddad was undefeated in the qualifying Rio de Janeiro State Match Race Championship, sailed in J/24’s, and the name of his team for this event, the Giants, is a playful reference to the slight stature of this 2002 South American Optimist Champion.

Round robin action continues tomorrow, along with the start of the Repechage.

Results after Day Two:

Group A (unchanged from Day One):

Ian Williams, Team Pindar 3-0
Magnus Holmberg, Victory Challenge 3-0
Torvar Mirsky, Mirsky Racing Team 2-1
Adam Minoprio, Emirates Team New Zealand, BlackMatch Racing 1-2
Daniel Glomb, Team Bravissimo 0-3
Juan Grimaldi, Tag Heuer Sailing Team 0-3

Group B

Paolo Cian, Team Shosholoza 4-1
Bjorn Hansen, Alandia Sailing Team 3-1
Mattias Rahm, Stenna Bulk Sailing Team 2-2
Henrique Haddad, Giant Sailing Team 2-3
Peter Wibroe, Wibroe Sailing Team 1-3
Pierre Antoine Morvan, Equipe de France espoir de match racing 1-3

For more information about the Brasil Sailing Cup, visit the event website at www.brasilsailingcup.com.

For more information about the World Match Racing Tour, visit the WMRT website at www.worldmatchracingtour.com.