mama said knock you out
Phil Robertson is still young enough to sail in youth regattas, and is outside the top twenty on the World Match Racing Tour leader board, but that was no barrier to him eliminating the world number one, Frenchman Mathieu Richard in the quarter-finals of the Sunseeker Australia Cup.
The young Kiwi started this regatta in fighting form, going through the first day undefeated, but faltered on the second day, dropping down the rankings to end the round robin in seventh place.
He came out fighting again this morning, chalking up two quick wins against the Frenchman in the shifty easterly breeze, before dropping the next two races, then taking the decider, to progress to the semi-finals. “We didn’t make it easy for ourselves,” was his assessment of the quarter-final tussle, “we lost the two races that he won, we should have won the first three, but we gifted him two races.”
It was a game of patience between Robertson and Richard in Race 4. Richard, leading but not by enough to clear a penalty, finally outfoxed Robertson, who tried to make a desperate lunge to the line by re-hoisting the kite. In doing so, he lost enough speed to allow Richard to get the overlap, luff hard and square off the penalty. Richard was already closer to the line and only had to bear away to take the win.
Mathieu Richard is going into next week’s Monsoon Cup in Malaysia, the final event on the 2010 World Tour, with the world championship within his grasp, but today’s result must have dented his confidence.
However, for Robertson it is a great lift at a critical time, “this will give us a bit of a boost going into Malaysia, we’re feeling pretty good,” he commented, “we’re sailing really well, and we got all the first crosses, and got the starts right, so it was a great way to go into next week with a bit more confidence.”
In the other quarter-final this morning, Britain’s Ian Williams downed local skipper Keith Swinton in three straight races, to progress to the semi-finals that will be sailed on Saturday morning, before the final in the afternoon.
This afternoon golden boy Ben Ainslie of Britain faces South Africa’s Ian Ainslie, while Perth’s Torvar Mirsky sails against Kiwi Will Tiller in the other quarter-finals. Photos thanks to Bernie Kaaks, Text by John Robertson. Title by LL Cool J.