It was another “full on” sailing day for the top 6 teams who made it through to the final stages of the 4th Stavros Match Race Championship here in sunny Cascais. With a North Westerly wind of around 15 kts, gusting up to 22 kts at times, it made for some spectacular racing and superb team skills as the “one on one” Match Race competition reach it’s final stages.
The 4 teams to make it through to the semi-finals were Alvaro Marinho (who has previously been ranked in the World Top 10 of Match Racing), Pedro Andrade (freshly back from winning the “Team Racing” in Antigua), Peter Heerema and Gustavo Lima (both past winners of this event). As Alvaro scored the highest during the final “Round Robin” he elected to face Gustavo. Whilst Pedro Andrade would take on 2012 winner Pieter Heerema, crewed by Theis Palm and Kasper Harsberg.
Although Heerema beat Andrade in race one, it was Andrade crewed by Bernado Freitas and Ricardo Pinto who fought back to win 2-1 and progress to the finals.
In the other semi-final, the 2 local “favourites” fought hard to see who would meet Andrande in the final. With some top quality pre-starting tactics shown by both teams, it was Gustavo Lima, crewed by Vicente’ Melo and Phillip Blinn who took the upper hand in the first two races to win 2-0.
This set up the perfect final with both teams having the privilege of sailing top quality “Petticrow Dragons”, with a similar set of North Sails. In race one of the final, despite some fierce “circling” it was Andrade who just held the advantage off the start. The photo below shows the small advantage Pedro and his team had half-way up the first short beat….
After losing race one by just 10 seconds, last years winner Gustavo Lima fought hard in the pre-start of race two, giving Andrade a “penalty” before the start. So although Andrade held a small lead throughout the race he had to do complete a penalty turn before crossing the finish line. However, on the final down-wind leg, a huge gust caught Gustavo and his team by surprise, rolling the dragon right over dipping the spinnaker into the water… This slight error gave the lead boat just enough distance to complete the penalty turn and win by just 2 seconds!!! What a final. 2-0 to Pedro Andrade, Bernado & Ricardo.
Higher, Faster, Longer ………………….. Stavros.
For the record, top 6 Teams at the 4th Stavros Match Race Championship were:
Pedro Andrade, Gustavo Lima, Alvaro Marinho, Pieter Heerema, Fillipe Silva, Martin Payne.