After a long first-to-three point Quarter-Final series, four teams have emerged on top to compete in tomorrow’s Semi-Final stage of the Troia Portugal Match Cup, the fourth stage in this year’s World Match Racing Tour. Out of the four pairings of Quarter-Finalists, only one went to five matches before being decided, whilst the others were all completed after four.

The four Semi-Finalists are Adam Minoprio (NZL) and his Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch team, Ian Williams (GBR) and his Bahrain Team Pindar, Mathieu Richard (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team, and Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and his Mirsky Racing Team. All four are currently lying in the top eight of the World Championship standings, holding, respectively, the first, third, fourth, and eight positions on the leaderboard.

There may be some metaphorical value in the fact that the one pair that went to five had the oldest and youngest skippers doing battle against each other, with both also being from the Southern hemisphere. In his matches against Tour veteran Peter Gilmour (AUS) and the YANMAR Racing Team, Minoprio had some highly spirited encounters to keep Chief Umpire Shane Borrell and his International umpire team busy with numerous whistles and penalty flags in nearly all their matches.

One of the reasons for this high level of aggressiveness was not just the usual incentive to win Tour points and a piece of the 50,000 Euro prize money purse, but that the 8-10 knot wind conditions were perfect for tight manoeuvring in the Swedish Match 40’s used in this event. Also, in the Rio Sado course area just north of the Troia Resort venue a strong flood current early followed by a strong ebb later in the day made the pre-start fight for the favoured end all the more intense in each match.

Another particularly aggressive pair was the match-up between Ian Williams and Sebastian Col (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge. Col had a good start to the series, winning their first match, but this ignited Williams determination, taking three straight by showing an aggressive style and smooth teamwork appropriate for the reigning two-time World Match Race Champion. Col won this event last year, and finished last year’s Tour overall as runner-up to Williams, but has been having problems finding his stride as yet this year.

Semi Final Pairings

Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing v Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing TeamIan Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar v Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch