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Match RacingWMRTWorld Match Racing Tour

Teams Primed for Battle in World Match Racing Tour Opener

YANMAR Racing Team put their J80 through its paces
© Photo by Chris Davies/WMRT
The long awaited start to the 2011 World Match Racing Tour is nearly over as the twelve teams competing in Match Race France took to the water at Yacht Club Pointe Rouge in Marseille on Practice Day where conditions look favourable for a week of enthralling match racing.
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar comes into the regatta in imperious form and confidence having won both the Congressional Cup in March followed by the VIII Open de Espana last week.
However the Englishman believes ‘form counts for nothing in match racing’ and that the difference between winning and losing here in Marseille will come down to the pre-start:

“Although it might vary, I expect there to be a favoured side throughout the week which makes the pre-start important. It won’t be easy as it looks like the sea breeze will filter in from the south-west and possibly the mistral from the north which will create challenging conditions.”
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team discovered just how tricky the conditions can be here when his early practice session yesterday was cut short after being dis-masted in nearly 30 knots of wind:
“We had a disaster with the mast coming down but the guys here did a really good job. J80s are quite small boats but really challenging. We’re expecting heavy winds at the end of the week but I think that suits the J80 really well.”
If Williams points to the pre-start tussle as a key area to dominate, Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners Racing Team agrees with Hansen that the fleet of J80 boats could play a defining role in the outcome here. While their design is suited for the tight manoeuvring in a dial up, they are also a challenging boat to sail as they favour neither big boat racers nor dinghy sailors:

“The J80s are a challenge for a team like mine – they are technical and demanding as you have to adapt the way you sail them depending on the conditions. The lighter winds will possibly give way to stronger winds later this week and the team will need to respond accordingly.”
2011 Match Race France Teams
  • Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino
  • Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
  • Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team
  • Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team
  • Alexis Littoz-Baritel (FRA) Team Savoie Mont Blanc
  • Alvaro Marinho (PGL) Seth Sailing Team
  • Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat
  • Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Extreme Team Morbihan
  • Bertrand Pace (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team
  • Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners Racing Team
  • Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
  • Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar

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