In the 2009 Asian Match Racing Championship, 22 year old Auckland sailor Phil Robertson finished the first round robin with a perfect 6-0 score on the Pulau Duyong basin course in Kuala Terengganu this morning and then went out and repeated the dose in the afternoon, with another four wins and no losses.
It was postcard sailing conditions for the championship fleet, with a gradient north easterly blowing at six-eight knots when Principal Race Officer John Taylor sent flights 7-10 away.
The Terengganu local team Taring Pelangi, skippered by Hazwan Hazim Dermawan, had started this event with a bang taking two early wins yesterday, but they faded today losing to Dunstan, Robertson and the second Malaysian team, Team Malaysian Armed Forces, skippered by Mohd Razali Mansor.
These two teams will compete again at the Malaysian Match Racing titles on 23rd to 26th November along with another dozen teams and the winner of that event will sail into the Monsoon Cup line up.
The Japan Match Racing Champion Kan Yamada and his Team J.F.P. finished yesterday with a perfect 4-0 winning record. Today it was not so easy. Pre-event, Yamada had signalled that Michael Dunstan and his SLAM Racing team would be hard to beat and so it was, with Yamada going down to the three time Australian Match Racing champion.
However it was far from a perfect morning for Dunstan. In his match against Hong Kong sailor Martin Kaye, Dunstan had a good start but picked the wrong side of the course down the final run, to convert a ten boat-length lead into a five boat-length loss as he slowed on the island shore line, while Kaye had both pressure and current out wide.
The key match of the afternoon was between Robertson and Dunstan and it was all over before it began with Dunstan incurring a penalty in the starting box and losing the start badly and was six lengths behind at the top mark. Dunstan did his penalty on the finishing line, finishing 99 seconds behind his Kiwi rival.
Dockside Dunstan commented 'Phil outsailed us in that match, the rust is showing. We will certainly have to lift our game in the semis.'
Only a few words from Robertson. 'We are on track, we just have to keep the concentration up.'
After the first full round and part way through the second, the overall scores were as follows:
Team New Zealand WAKA Racing Phil Robertson 10-0
Team J.F.P – (JYMA) Kan Yamada 7-4
SLAM Match Race Team – (Royal Sydney Yacht Club) Michael Dunstan 7-3
Team Hong Kong – (Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club) Martin Kaye 7-4
Taring Pelangi – (TESA) Hazwan Hazim b. Dermawan 3-7
Team 'EM' – (Royal Varuna Yacht Club) Morten Jakobsen 1-9
MAF 1 Mohammad Razali Mansor 1-9