Packed Race Course as the M32s & Volvo Ocean 65 boats Race Side by Side
Sailing fans were treated to a visual feast as the six M32s shared the race area today with the seven Volvo Ocean 65 boats getting in valuable practice time ahead of tomorrow’s in-port race.
As the mercury rose beyond 30 degrees, racing heated up too - and it was Lukasz Wosinski caused the biggest upset, dispatching of World Match Racing Tour regular and 2017 Tour Card holder Sam Gilmour in the most peculiar of circumstances.
Gilmour's Neptune Racing, one of the most experienced teams in the fleet, were forced onto the back foot early on after losing their first match to American skipper Markus Edegran in Alicante's light, fickle wind.
Their woes continued when the fading breeze forced race officials to make their sudden-death play-off against Wosinski, beaten soundly 3-0 earlier in the day by Sally Barkow's Team Magenta 32, a first-to-two match.
At one race apiece the bid for a spot in the Quarter Final stage turned into an all-out dogfight that was neck and neck until the final upwind leg when Neptune Racing trimmer Justin Wong fell in the water during a slow-motion tack. The mistake proved costly, handing victory and a place in the Quarter Finals to Wosinski while sealing Gilmour's fate.
“We're super happy to have beaten Sam,” said Wosinksi, from Poland. “This is only our third event in M32s and we're like the kids of the fleet but we can still cause a few upsets. We were so close on the final beat then we heard on the radio that one of their crew had fallen in the water. I said to the boys 'let's go' and we sailed away to cross the line. We needed a bit of luck but we all do from time to time. Now we can't wait until tomorrow.”
Kim Kling's Caprice Match Racing Team were the day's other casualties, sent home by defeats to Nico Delle Karth's Chilli Racing and then Quentin Delapierre's Team Lorina-Golfe du Morbihan.
Delapierre this evening was celebrating his survival in what is only his second day racing on M32s with his current crew set-up.
“After we lost to Warrer we told ourselves to relax,” he said. “It worked, and we beat Kling 3-0. We are still learning how to sail these boats but it was a great day for us.”
For his part, Edegran was happy to see his E11even Racing into the quarter finals without too much drama.
“We're stoked to have won against Gilmour,” he said. “We beat one of the better teams at the event so our confidence is high going into tomorrow.”
Yann Guichard's Spindrift and Pieter-Jan Postma's Sailing Team NL finished top of the fleet on the opening day, automatically qualifying them for the quarters.
The Alicante Match Cup is part of a collaboration with the Volvo Ocean Race complementing the action at the start of the 2017-18 event.
Racing will resume at 10am local time (GMT+2) tomorrow and will finish early as the Volvo Ocean Race's first in-port race takes place at 2pm.
SAIL OFF (A) RESULTS
Nico Delle Karth (AUT), Chilli Racing 3-0 Kim Kling (SWE), Caprice Match Racing Team
Jonas Warrer (DEN), Team Warrer 3-1 Quentin Delapierre (FRA), Team Lorina - Golfe du Morbihan
Markus Edegran (USA), E11even Racing 3 - 2 Sam Gilmour (AUS), Neptune Racing
Sally Barkow (USA), Team Magenta 32 3 - 0 Lukasz Wosinski (POL), Delphia Sailing Team
SAIL OFF (B) RESULTS
Quentin Delapierre (FRA), Team Lorina - Golfe du Morbihan 2-0 Kim Kling (SWE), Caprice Match Racing Team
Lukasz Wosinski (POL), Delphia Sailing Team 2-1 Sam Gilmour (AUS), Neptune Racing