Keith Swinton (AUS) and his Black Swan Racing Team finish the 2012 Tour season in 4th position PHOTO: Subzeroimages/Monsoon Cup
Hard-Fought Monsoon Cup
As the final event on the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, we knew going into the Monsoon Cup that our performance would be critical in securing a podium position on the Tour overall. Unfortunately we came up a little short, finishing 6th in Malaysia and 4th on the overall leaderboard.
We enjoyed our preparation for the event in Perth, and despite the strong winds during our training days, we managed to get in some valuable practice. Arriving in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia for the Monsoon Cup we realised it was going to be a light wind regatta with less current than in previous years’ Monsoon season. We completed another two training days on the Palau Duyong Basin race area in light winds getting up to speed with the venue.
We began the round robin with a long wait due to lack of wind and didn’t get our first race in until day 2. We began strongly, finishing the day with 4 wins and 1 loss. Our wins over Robertson, Canfield and David Gilmour were all well executed. Our race against Berntsson was a little more difficult.
After dominating the start and leading off the line, with a penalty over Berntsson we went to the wrong top mark. As Berntsson rounded the right mark we decided to round it also, as we sailed downwind. Bertsson completed his penalty on the final up wind leg and held his lead. Fortunately we managed to sail a great final downwind leg overtaking him as we sailed through the finish line.
After starting the regatta well we wanted to push on and get the best possible score in the round robin. However, the wind gods were intent on playing their part. Our races against Minoprio, Hansen and Williams were all abandoned half way through. Having the lead in all of these races before they were called off was a little frustrating especially when the re-races were done in similar conditions. We went on to beat Minoprio but lost to Williams and Hansen. Given different results this could have really shaken up the World Championship. Ultimately this is yacht racing, we still finished off with 7 wins and 4 losses ranking us in 3rd position.
Peter Gilmour topped the qualifying round robin, allowing him to choose his son David in the quarters. Bjorn Hansen chose Ian Williams in what became a World Championship showdown. We chose Taylor Canfield for our Quarter Final, leaving Morvan and Robertson to sail in the other Quarter.
We began the match well with a solid win in the first race over Canfield. We got more wind on the right hand side of the course and stayed in control from there. Unfortunately we didn’t make the most of that advantage and in the second race we started behind but sailed well to keep the race within reach. On the final run we made some good gybes and closed the race up but Canfield just hung on to take the win. We made a much better start in the third race but decided to tack off and take the right side of the course. At the time this seemed like a good decision but unfortunately a big left shift came in giving Canfield an unbeatable lead. From this point we were really on the back foot and Canfield completed another nice start to leave us fighting from behind. Despite coming from behind in many races both this year and at this regatta we couldn’t find a way this time.
Upon reflection it was only a few points, which would have improved our performance in the Quarter Final. Aside from these points we sailed quite well perhaps one more winning start would have been enough!
From here we had to watch from the sidelines and see if our points lead would be enough for a podium finish for the season. It was close but Phil Robertson managed to progress to the final, giving him a 2 point lead over us to take 3rd place on the season leaderboard. We just managed to hold on to 4th, finishing with 0.75 points more than Peter Gilmour. It was a disappointment to miss the podium but coming so close will be a great motivation for next year.
We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us this year, most of all our sponsors without whom none of this would have been possible. GCS, South of Perth Yacht Club, Lister Petter Generators, Abbots Chartered Accountants, Musto Australasia and Trendmark AB.
Preparations have already begun for next year and we look forward to keeping you informed!
Black Swan Racing, 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Tour Card Holders
Keith Swinton, Olof Lundgren, Jakob Gustafsson, Ted Hackney and Ricky McGarvie.