Robertson on a roll as WMRT turns to Russia
Wednesday, July 26, 2017 4:07 PM
Current Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson and his CHINAone NINGBO team are in a dominant position and on supreme form as they head to the fourth round of the World Match Racing Tour Championship season – the WMRT Match Cup Russia hosted by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, supported by Gazprom, August 1-6.
Can the unique challenges of the Neva River in St Petersburg finally unsettle the New Zealander? It may take more than that, because though this is the first Championship level WMRT event in Russia, it is not the first time for Robertson.
“I’ve sailed in Russia about four times now,” Robertson said. “It can be really beautiful - it’s quite a stunning location to sail - but it comes with its challenges, which is being a river it’s got probably a couple of knots of current, and is very shifty and puffy at the same time being in the middle of the city. So, it’s a challenging place, but nonetheless very beautiful and a cool place to sail. You’ve got some beautiful buildings right on the edge of the race course, when the sun shines, it’s a hard spot to beat.”
These are not words to encourage the chasing pack - who given Robertson’s record this year need all the encouragement they can get. Robertson won stage one, Match Cup Australia and has been generally unbeatable in July. He followed a crushing victory in the GKSS Match Cup Sweden at the beginning of the month, by winning the inaugural M32 World Championship in Marstrand, Sweden, and last weekend won the Extreme Sailing Series event in Barcelona. On the fourth week he rested.
“We’ve had a pretty good run, can’t really complain,” he said. “I’m just resting this week.”
What does he put his form over the past two seasons (after victory at the WMRT Match Racing World Championship in 2016) down to? “There’s nothing special to be honest, it’s just years of hard work starting to pay off and we’ve found a nice little balance in the team and it seems to be working well. I’m improving a lot and still have a lot to improve on, so it’s a nice spot to be in.”