Sopot, Poland’s jewel of the Baltic, came good for day two of Energa Sopot Match Race, the first event in the new World Match Racing Tour season, with the organisers able to get through 11 out of 15 matches in the Match Racing Round Robin.
Racing got underway at 10:20 local time in light conditions that slowly built to 15 knots enabling the nimble high performance M32 catamarans to get fully powered up before the boats were sent back to the marina as some severe-looking cumulonimbus clouds descended on the Baltic resort town bringing rain, thunder and lightning.
Once again the class act of the day was young Swede Nicklas Dackhammar and his Essiq Racing team, showing their experience in the M32 catamaran to end the day unbeaten on 4-0. However close behind was Australian Sam Gilmour and his Neptune Racing team on 3-1, losing their only match today to Dackhammar.
Gilmour observed: “It was a good start, but Dackhammer has had a lot of time in the boat, so he is pretty quick around the course, which showed today. We had 12-15 knots when we raced against him. We had a pretty shocking start and let him lead off the line, but as the week goes on we are starting to get better at that and get our head back into the M32 mindset.”
Gilmour’s team sailed three events in the M32 catamaran last season and has had three or four days in the boat in addition to that. Gilmour, of the Perth-based match racing dynasty that has well-known America’s Cup helmsman Peter at its head, says that every time they sail the boat they use as an opportunity to learn more about it.
“We are still trying to work out the moding of the boat and all the time we spend racing we are testing things and we talk about new things and ideas about what we do in the boat. It is a disadvantage at present, but the more time we spend in the boat over the next months, the less of an impact it’ll be. We have a very strong crew and they are taking it well and we are taking it seriously…”
Gilmour’s closest race of the day was against Switzerland’s Chris Rast and his EFG Bank team in which they started on the back foot. “It was a very close race where we managed to grunt it out and overtake through better boat handling and shift calling, which is really positive. I was really happy with that race.”
Gilmour says he is enjoying Sopot, renowned for having the longest wooden pier in Europe, this being his second time competing at Energa Sopot Match Race. “It is well-suited to multihulls, because it is in close to the pier and a lot of people are spectating. We had some rain today, but in general it has been mid to high 20°C temperature-wise and good sailing conditions for multihulls.”
The Round Robin at Energa Sopot Match Race will continue tomorrow, before the last four go through to the Semi-Finals to determine the Finalists.