Richard Winner of the Match Race France

Mathieu Richard has fought like a lion.
Nantes resident’s crew won Match Race France, event held in Marseilles during five days.
After having eliminated Italian Francesco Bruni this morning in semifinals, he won against British Ben Ainslie this afternoon, in two matches.
Last duels have been run in a W 3-10 knots wind, that turned from NW to SW. Suspense was shared with the audience on the shore.
Very close to Escale Borély, in a light weather, naval fights were fierce. Being the opening of the World Match Racing Tour, the competition organised by Yachting Club Pointe Rouge gets an importance that cannot be ignored. Mathieu Richard has already stood out in Marseilles in 2008.
«Go Marseilles!» shouts Mathieu Richard during the Prize giving ceremony, at Escale Borély. Yes he can relax now, as he won Marseilles crown, which was one more time highly-coveted.
Twelve skippers were in competition to start the match racing season « The level was very high. It gives value to the victory” simply comments Mathieu Richard. « It is important to make a good start of the season. But we know it is very long, and that we can have up and down».
In 2009, Adam Minoprio’s victory in Marseilles was a good sign for him, as he finished first ranked of the World Match Racing Tour. This year, Match Race France has been run in a light weather.
« We know that light winds are a good point for Mathieu Richard’s crew» says Marc Bouët, Match Racing French team coach. This victory is also an award for those sailors who have been sailing together for the last ten years (Thierry Briend, Greg Evrard, Olivier Herlédant, and Yannick Simon).
Ainslie trapped
Today Richard gave «a lesson» to British Ben Ainslie. He won thanks to his very great departures, twice. Then he maintained his leading position and the triple gold medal could not get back to him anymore. « We made a decisive choice in the last flight, going left. They wanted to so the same but they couldn’t » comments Mathieu Richard.
And he made the good choice… Mathieu Richard had sought the « pressure » in a little wind and trapped his opponent.
However, his first performances have not been so good at the beginning of the week, as he finished sixth of the Round Robin qualifications. But the French crew succeeded to increase its level. « To win the Round Robin is useless » likes to repeat Marc Bouët.
The rule was one more time confirmed, as Australian Torvar Mirsky has been eliminated in quarter finals after having won the Round Robin.
Match Race France ranking is not exactly following the world hierarchy. Both Italians Francesco Bruni and Paolo Cian got third and fourth position. Favourits Adam Minoprio and Torvar Mirsky have been eliminated in quarter finals.
And we also remember that “veterans” Peter Gilmour and Bertrand Pacé did not even succeed to be qualified. Eventually, local resident Sébastien Col (licensed in YCPR) adquired a fifth position.
Richard Winner of the Match Race France Richard Winner of the Match Race France Reviewed by Panos Douros on Sunday, April 11, 2010 Rating: 5

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