London - Current ISAF Match Racing World Champion, Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing believes Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar and Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team pose no threat to his quest to win this year’s Championship.
Speaking with less than 4 weeks to go until the Monsoon Cup curtain rises at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa in Kuala Terengganu, Minoprio commented:
Minoprio: “I don’t know who my biggest competitor is for the title - it’s extremely tight, but I think that it’ll be between Mathieu [Richard], Ben [Ainslie] and I. I really can’t see all three of us having a bad regatta and allowing Ian [Williams] or Torvar [Mirsky] into the running. I think it could all come down to the Qualifying Sessions.”
Minoprio writes off Williams and Mirsky
Minoprio: “I don’t know who my biggest competitor is for the title - it’s extremely tight, but I think that it’ll be between Mathieu [Richard], Ben [Ainslie] and I. I really can’t see all three of us having a bad regatta and allowing Ian [Williams] or Torvar [Mirsky] into the running. I think it could all come down to the Qualifying Sessions.
For the Monsoon Cup though, it’s basically Peter Gilmour’s home regatta so he’ll be tough to beat whilst Francesco Bruni is always a strong competitor. Phil Robertson will be there too who I’m hoping along with Rueben Corbett will make the most of the situation next year when I’m sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race.”
Are you feeling additional pressure to win the Monsoon Cup and the Match Racing World Championship having won both last year?
Minoprio: “Going into the Monsoon Cup having won both the event and the Match Racing World Championship last year is a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand we know what to expect and we know that we’re capable of doing it, but on the other hand we have to cope with the expectations because of last year. We’ll just have to get out there and sail well… there are no weak links at this regatta or at this level of competition.”
The best teams in the Tour seem to find another gear when it really matters. Have you managed that this season and what have been the highs and lows in your eyes?
Minoprio: “In terms of finding that extra gear this season, well, yes and no. There are times, like in the Danish Open final where I feel that we’ve been able to find it. The biggest high of the season for us was the final in Denmark, where we managed to beat Torvar Mirsky. The boats they use there have always been a bit of an Achilles heel for us so it was great to get a win in them at last. The biggest low must have been getting knocked out of the quarter-finals at Match Race France after having been 2-0 up against Paolo Cian. That was hugely disappointing.
What does the future hold for Minoprio?
Minoprio’s decision to sail in Team Emirates New Zealand’s 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race campaign has been highly publicised, not least because it leaves a question mark over both his ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing team and his future participation in the World Match Racing Tour. However, Minoprio is under no illusion as to the global platform the Tour has given him and is already eyeing a return:
Minoprio: “The Tour has helped me to build a reputation which basically got me into the team for the Volvo [Ocean Race], but for sure I’d definitely be interested in seeing what’s going on in the Tour and coming back to it once the VOR is over. I’m sure my team mates will be busy next year though I’m not sure one of them will step up and become skipper of the team on the Tour!”
Teams competing at the Monsoon Cup:
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team - 105 points
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ENTZ/BlackMatch Racing - 90 points
Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN - 88 points
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team - 76 points
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar - 72 points
Jesper Radich (DEN) Gaastra Racing Team - 60 points
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing Team - 53 points
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing - 51 points
Jeremy Koo (MLY) Koo Racing Team/ Evernew (Malaysian Match Racing Championship winner)
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing (Asian Match Racing Championship winner)
Sunseeker Australia Cup winner – to be confirmed