[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo and Phil Robertson (NZ) WAKA Racing were both on the brink of reaching the final, each skipper holding early 2-0 leads against Laurie Jury (NZ) Kiwi Match and Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing respectively. However, spirited fight backs by their opponents set up for a nervous finish with the scores locked on 2-2. Everything rested on the fifth and final flight. It was an intense finish to a day in which the tactical skills of all the teams were tested in light and fickle winds.
With Morvan picking Jury, Robertson was left to take on four-time ISAF Match Racing World Champion Peter Gilmour, who made the final of the event in 2011 and was improving as the regatta progressed. Gilmour, said: “These conditions make sailors very nervous as you have less control over things. Phil should probably have put us away in the third flight but opened the door and that’s a dangerous thing to do with us. We then led in the last and it’s not like us to give up the lead but he managed to get a puff and get inside us at the mark and that was the race.
“The three young Tour Card Holders [Morvan, Robertson and Jury] have all gone very strongly here and I think that’s a sign of what’s to come this season. It’s a pretty amazing outcome.”
Phil Robertson advances to the Match Race Germany final. Lagenhagen, 27 May 2012. Photo copyright Andrew Carter / Alpari World Match Racing Tour
After battling through the final deciding flight, Robertson, said: “That final flight was intense – a few doubts set in after Peter pulled two back to level and he kept coming back at us, but we held our nerve. It’s a great start to the Tour for us and we’ll be very determined to beat Laurie in the final.”
Morvan continued his domination of the early rounds by taking a 2-0 lead against Jury after having received a bye through to the semi-finals. He was unable to capitalise on that lead though, saying: “There was a lot of pressure on us to win that, especially if you’re two up. We can take some positives from this – we learnt a lot about this type of boat as we weren’t as confident on the heavier boats with wheels. We’ll talk through what happened later but at the moment we’re just disappointed.”
Jury came into his semi-final having notched up a commanding 3-0 victory in his quarter-final with Eric Monnin (SWI) Team Okalys-Corum in the morning. He struggled after a midday wind shift with conditions seeming to catch him off guard before regrouping successfully for the final three flights. Jury, said: “There was a fair bit of pressure on board out there in that final match. We made a good start and the right calls having learnt a bit in the previous race. Tomorrow’s Kiwi final will be interesting – we haven’t raced Phil for a while so it’ll be good to see how we stack up.”
Phil Robertson (NZ) – WAKA Racing v Peter Gilmour (AUS) – YANMAR Racing 3-2
Laurie Jury (NZ) – Kiwi Match v Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) – Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 3-2
Phil Robertson (NZ) – WAKA Racing v Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) – Team Trifork 3-2
Laurie Jury (NZ) – Kiwi Match v Eric Monnin (SUI) – Team Okalys-Corum 3-0
Peter Gilmour (AUS) – YANMAR Racing v Keith Swinton (AUS) – Black Swan Racing 3-1
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) – Vannes Agglo Sailing – Qualified directly to semi-finals