Match Race Germany: Mathieu Richard, Damien Iehl, Ian Williams and Jes Gram Hansen semifinalists

Sunday, 11 May 2008

If match racing can’t hold your attention for the whole day, the entertainment on the shores of Lake Constance certainly could. The live band started in the big tent at lunchtime, and spectators will be enjoying them well into the night. With over 15,000 people soaking up the atmosphere and sun here in Langenargen, it’s hard to tell who’s actually here to watch the racing and who’s here just to enjoy the party happening on the shore. Young and old alike are able take part in sailing themed activities with kids painting sails and learning to sail optimists while the adults can trial massage tables, do a bit of shopping or just sit back and relax at one of the many food and beer stalls. Everyone seems to be having a good time, and with a Bank Holiday tomorrow the crowds are expected to return for more sailing and the Finals of Match Race Germany.

The quarterfinal round robin continued this morning with the two final flights. Matthieu Richard and his French Match Racing Team continued their good form and came out on top, only losing two races in the top eight round robin. Team Pindar skippered by Ian Williams held on to second position and Jes Gram Hansen and Damien Iehl rounded out the top four to make up the semi finals.

First up this morning was flight six of the quarterfinals, and in match 3 between Bjorn Hansen’s Alandia Sailing Team and Sebastien Col’s K Challenge/French Match Racing Team it seemed that for Hansen giving way was not an option as he ploughed in the side of Col’s boat in the prestart. Hansen was subsequently penalised, but gained a big enough lead to be able to complete his penalty on the finish line and win the race.

In the final flight this morning, match three would decide the last team to qualify for the semi finals. With K Challenge/French Match Racing Team having to beat Wibroe Sailing Team. After an even start both teams fought hard but Wibroe crossed the finish line ahead claiming his first victory of the quarterfinals and knocking Col's K Challenge/French Match Racing Team out of the regatta.

Semi-final 1 was a French affair with the French Match Racing team skippered by Mathieu Richard competing against Damien Iehl’s Team Sinbad. In their first semi-final match, Richard got a penalty in the prestart. Iehl later told the press “it was actually my tactician that protested. I thought it was a green flag.” Richard agreed; “for me it could have been a green flag, but I am ok with the decision.” After 2 matches they were tied at one win each. Also tied at one win each was the second semi final between Ian Williams’ Team Pindar and Jes Gram Hansen’s Trifork Racing. Team Pindar received a penalty in the first race, allowing Hansen to take the win. But the tables turned in the second match when Hansen received a penalty in the prestart after a collision. At the end of the race “we thought they had enough room to do their turn and still win” Williams said, but as Jes Gram Hansen explained “these boats are tricky to turn in light conditions, and Ian was able to pass us and win by half a boat length.”

As the four teams waited to start their deciding matches, a storm warning was issued for Lake Constance that saw everyone hurrying for cover. In a lake that can whip up a storm as easily as it could not see a puff of wind for days no one was taking any chances. “Because it was a full storm warning, if I had continued with the racing I would have lost my insurance, so if anything had happened to you or the boats, I would have had to pay out of my own pocket” Race Officer, Rudi Magg told the sailors at a press conference this evening. The fate of the four remaining teams would be decided tomorrow when racing recommences.

Quaterfinal Results
1. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 5-2
2. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar 5-2
3. Jes Gram Hansen (DEN) Trifork Racing 5-2
4. Damien Iehl (FRA) Team Sinbad 4-3
5. Markus Wieser (GER) Team Sea Dubai 3-4
6. Sebastien Col (FRA) K Challenge/French Match Racing Team 3-4
7. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team 2-5
8. Peter Wibroe (DEN) Wibroe Sailing Team 1-6

Semifinal Results (First to 2 points)
Semifinal 1
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 1pt
Damien Iehl (FRA) Team Sinbad 1pt

Semifinal 2
Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar 1pt
Jes Gram Hansen (DEN) Trifork Racing 1pt

Yvonne Reid
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Last Updated ( Sunday, 11 May 2008 )