The team is happy to have cracked our first world tour event just 20 months since our very first regatta at the Sydney National Championships in late 2013. This milestone event is credit to the team’s hard work since inception and gives us confidence to keep pursuing our goal to become World Match Racing Champions.
Match Race Germany is a unique event held on Lake Constance, 400 meters above sea level surrounded by mountains where we could see snow on a clear day. Historically known as a light wind venue, this proved to be accurate as we sailed in 3 – 15 knots for the week. Our first two days were tough for us learning the boats, our biggest issue was finding speed upwind, downwind we felt confident and usually gained. Upwind was a big issue as we didn’t lead around a mark for the first 6 races! Although we won 2 of the first 6 races on the final downwind with clean jibes and good calls to sail in the puffs. This statistic was looming over us as we kept methodically talking about all the factors that could be affecting out speed and very slowly got ourselves onto pace.
The 7th and final race for day 2 was the first time we had lead around a mark, we lead around the top with the smallest of margins, lost the lead and gained it back on the final run to win by less than a meter. This gave the team a new breath of energy for the final 3 days.
At this stage of the regatta we were in 10th place and had only one opportunity to make the cut for the quarter finals, we had to win all three of our final three round robin races. The boys were all buzzing with energy and felt like we just had solved our upwind speed issues, not only that we had confidence from the last win. We came out confident and won the next three races leading around every single mark! The team motored in stoked to learn the boats so quickly and were stoked with the team’s ability to adapt to the situation that presented.
The quarter final was with the German local who has previously been ranked 20th in the world and knew the boats well. His ranking is not too strong now since his focus is now on the professional German League sailing. The first 2 races were one a piece after we won the first race fairly convincingly leading around every mark. He then won the second start with a penalty, and used the light wind to really hurt us off the line. He sailed well and got away to win the race. The next 2 races were all ours as we won both convincingly, especially the last race were we engaged in a luff near the bottom mark gave a penalty and stopped him rounding the bottom mark to finish with a leg lead.
We came ashore as we prepared for the semi-final. This was against the winner of the round robin and the eventual regatta winner. This was a gruelling 5 race series in the most wind all regatta at 10-18 knots offshore. We raced in front of a crowd of several thousand people as the regatta village started to fill with people. We sailed extremely well in the first two races and beat him convincingly both times. We had one more race to win and we were through to the grand final. We started to suffer a little mental and physical fatigue and unfortunately lost the remaining 3 races from the start and the team work on board was not up to standard.
This left the petite final against current leader of the world match racing tour, who sailed well in the two race final to beat us with most of the race decided in the start with a heavy bias to the left hand side of the course due to the convergence on the shoreline. Both pre starts consisted of two spinnaker sets each boat and we lost both starts giving our opponent the left of the upwind. The races were short and we could not find a passing lane. This put us in fourth place for the event, once we settled on the initial disappointment of losing this semi and petite final we were happy to finish in 4th position and happy to collect the 3,600 euro prize money.
Matt, Alex, Patrick, Mark and Niall