Hönö, Sweden (22nd September 2016) – With over half the line-up sailing the two World Tour level events in Hönö back to back this week, most teams have just started to warm up. For the second event this week the racing steps up a level with strong contenders joining the fleet. Most teams are using the day in between the events for recuperation and debriefing, ready to enter the race area with all guns blazing on day one.

Winner of the first event this week, the West Coast Cup, Måns Holmberg (SWE) and his Typhoon X Racing returns to try and repeat his success. He will be entering the event with his regular crew of Axel Munkby (SWE) and Jacob Wilson (SWE), but is still missing Holger Tideman (SWE). Johan Bäckström (SWE), who was on loan for the last event, has been recalled to Essiq Racing Team. Instead Holmberg has enrolled experienced M32 sailor Johan Olsson (SWE) who sailed the West Coast Cup on Team Accure with Patrik Sturesson (SWE).

David Gilmour’s (AUS) chance to fight for the title last week was curtailed by the clock and deteriorating conditions as the semifinals and final were cancelled. Suffering with jet lag following their travels from Australia they are now back in top form and ready to put up a real fight. Hans Wallén (SWE) is also looking to redeem himself from last week’s result. A completely new crew onboard Wallen Racing didn’t gel quite quick enough in order to find their form, falling short of their goal to top the scoreboard.

Also from the West Coast Cup line-up are Kim Kling (SWE) with his Caprice Match Racing Team and Irishman Philip Bendon of Bendon Race Team. Bendon is also substituting some of his crew for his more familiar match racing line up.

New entries to this event are the top two finishers from WMRT Energa Sopot Match Race in Poland, Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) and Torvar Mirsky (AUS). Dackhammar is one of the worlds most experienced M32 skippers and has established himself as a competent match racer with Essiq Racing Team. “We are seeing the skill level go up for every event and it’s going to be important to start winning from the beginning,” said Dackhammar “I see over half of the fleet as serious contenders. Holmberg is coming to the event with great confidence, Wallén is always dangerous when he is out for revenge and both Gilmour and Mirsky are looking strong.”

Essiq Racing Team is entering with Johan Bäckström and Nicklas Düring (SWE) but they are also with a crew change where original member Arvid Bild (SWE) has left the team to pursue a different career path. They’re taking in Nicklas’ younger brother Pontus Dackhammar (SWE) who is part of the Artemis Youth Racing program for the Red Bull Youth Americas Cup.

Torvar Mirsky, whose return to the premier match racing scene is becoming more and more obvious (especially after his second place in Sopot), is on a mission aiming for the top of the world. “I’m trying to get as much time in the M32 as possible and with the change in the World Match Racing Tour I am very excited to be back at the helm. The long-term goal is to build a strong team to challenge for the title so right now we’re testing with different people and diverse skills,” Mirsky explained “Our aim is for sure to take one of the qualifying spots from this event.”

The final team on the starting line is Danish match racer Joachim Aschenbrenner. At the age of 22 he is already a veteran of match racing having spent the last 5 years on the World Match Racing Tour. Last year saw him qualify into two WC events and was only two places short on the leaderboard from qualifying for the WMRT Finals in Marstrand. Coming into the Cape Crow Cup he has done his homework and is setting up a new crew. First on board is some new talent in the form of Christian Peter Lübeck (DEN), yet another Danish Olympian. He just finished the Rio Olympics with a fourth place in the 49er. Joachim also brings his trusted crewmember of many years Jeppe Ditlev (DEN) but the choice of the fourth member puts a spin on things. By taking in Swedish adversary Patrik Sturesson from Team Accure he not only gets valuable experience from last week and a great source of match racing tactics, they are planning to use what is now referred to as the ‘Robertson manoeuvre’. The total weight of the team will be less than 300kgs allowing them to sail with the full crew on the rack (the rules permit a maximum of 300kgs on a rack at any one time) giving them the same leverage but with less overall weight than a crew at the maximum allowable weight of 350kgs. This was one of the ingredients in the recipe for Phil Robertson’s amazing win of the World Championship title in Marstrand.

The games are starting to get interesting on the World Match Racing Tour.

Close to the rocks

5th March 2016. Fremantle, WA. World Match Racing Tour.