In the other Repechage Stage matches, Nicklas Dackhammar took the all-Scandinavian affair 3-0 over Jonas Warrer to advance to the next round, while Price beat the only other Dane in the competition, Joachim Aschenbrenner, in three straight bullets.
Dackhammar’s Essiq Racing Team feel on fire at this event with Nicklas commenting, “The start is always an important part in match racing. But when you sail the rest of the course good it becomes really hard to catch up and thats what we did today.” The all-Gothenburg team is a big favourite with the crowds on the island and they certainly feed on the appreciation they receive. “The spectators here in front of us feel great. We definitely hear them cheer for us and it definitely helps us.”
Price was certainly the favourite going into his match, having spent the off-season training in his own M32. However the team pointed out that one-boat training is no comparison for getting out to race with others. “The first pre-starts of the year, but we just built on what we learnt last year. A few hiccups off the line and Joachim pounced on that to overtake us, but we were fighting and managed to get back back pretty quickly.”
At the boat pick this evening, top seed Torvar Mirsky chose Harry Price for the Quarter Final Stage. Yann Guichard and Sam Gilmour decided that they wanted to take on the crowds as well as a match racing opponent as they picked the only remaining locals in the competition, selecting Johnie Berntsson and Nicklas Dackhammar respectively.
All that picking leaves a tantalising WMRT classic in the final Quarter Final Stage as Taylor Canfield was left to match Ian Williams. The two have battled many times over the history of the Tour and enjoy a friendly, sometimes fierce, rivalry. It will be a match not to miss tomorrow.
In the women’s fleet, as the Qualifying Stage concluded it was Sailing Team NZL skippered by Olivia Mackay who flew to the top spot, giving them the pick going forward to Saturday’s Semi Final Stage.
The overnight leader, Renee Groeneveld dropped a couple of scores in the two morning races, putting her into the Sail-Off spot to face Portugal’s Mariana Lobato in the first knockout stage. The Dutch skipper, former Olympic match racer and Nacra sailor, showed her match racing prowess as she took a 2-0 lead.
Lobato, also a former Olympic match racer from the London 2012 games, struck hard in the third to take a convincing lead. In the fourth and final match Groeneveld, who except for dropping two races this morning has looked dangerous in the boat, won the start and led Lobato around the course. Pre-starts were the key to this pairing, with all four races being dictated by the four-minute pre-start sequence. Strong match racing manoeuvres, often not seen in the multihull era of WMRT, left the opposition high and dry in multiple cases.
The men’s Quarter Final Stage will run tomorrow, with the women sitting out until Friday’s Semi Final Stage. Racing commences at 10:00 local time as more wall-to-wall sunshine is forecast with a slightly lower breeze of 6-8 knots.
Open Class Repechage Results
Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), Essiq Racing Team 3-0 Jonas Warrer (DEN), Warrer Racing
Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar 3-1 Markus Edegran (USA), Team Torrent
Taylor Canfield (USA), US One 3-2 Måns Holmberg (SWE), Holmberg Racing Team
Harry Price (AUS), Down Under Racing 3-0 Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN), ART Sailing
Women's Class Sail-Off
Renee Groeneveld (NED), Dutch Match Racing Team 3-1 Mariana Lobato (POR), Mirpuri Foundation Team