The twelve teams racing in the St. Moritz Match Race – part of the World Match
Racing Tour - have been training in perfect conditions today, getting to know the
course and their opponents.
St. Moritz, September 1, 2009 - The local Maloja wind was on schedule this morning;
it started blowing at 10:30 AM and rapidly rose to 15-20 knots. The conditions were
just perfect for the twelve teams racing in the event, allowing them to practice
their manoeuvres and get to know the (small) lake inside out.
Christian Scherrer, President of the Organising Committee, was particularly pleased
to see the boats head off: “It’s a real challenge to organise a contest at this
level on a lake that doesn’t have any infrastructure for keelboats”, he said. The
six blu26 as well as all the support boats have travelled across Switzerland over
the past week especially for the event.
The hospitality stage and pavillion also had to be built up, which wasn’t an easy
task in a mountain resort such as the “Engadin”.
All the teams weighed in this morning at the Race Office (the maximum weight allowed
is 350 kilos for the entire crew). At the same time, the event’s technical Committee
were equalizing the boats and making sure that they comply with the necessary
one-design requirements of the regatta. Everything was finished at 11.00 AM,
allowing the six first teams to set sail for a three hour practice session. The
change over occurred precisely at 2:00 PM, allowing the second group to discover the
boats and the lake.
The organisers have decided to run a full round robin, which means that every team
will sail against all the other teams. 66 matches split in 22 flights will have to
be completed before Friday night in order to fulfil this program. Not an easy task!
The weather forecast is not as good for the coming days as it was today, and the St.
Moritz Match Race participants may well have to get their fleeces out of their
sailbags before the sun hopefully comes back over the week-end.
For the first time this year, the boats will have GPS trackers which will allow a
live Internet coverage of the races. The teams will also be able to use this system
to debrief their races. The system should be operational tomorrow at 11:00 AM for
the first matches of the event. It will then be fine tuned throughout the event.
Johnie Berntsson, no 9 in the ISAF Ranking and his first time at St. Moritz Match
Race: “It is the first time that we sail a match race on a lake, and it is really
pleasant. We were not expecting such a context; it’s really quite exceptional. This
place is amazing. And eight out of the ten world’s best match racers are here; it’s
unbelievable. The matches will be tough and it is impossible to say who the
favourite is. The level is very high.”
Yaji Yasuhiro (Crew member on board Peter Gilmour's YANMAR Racing and first time at
St. Moritz Match Race): “This is a very unusual spot to compete in a match race
event. The courses are very short, the lake is small and the scenery is exceptional.
The boat is also very competitive. Our average age is approximately 40; we are
probably the oldest team. It’s a very special challenge for us.”