SOPOT MATCH RACE
from 31st July until the 3rd August. It is in Finland, on the other side of the Baltic Sea, that Mathieu Richard has been preparing for his Polish encounter, by managing the French Youth Match Racing team during the under-23 World Championships, which took place in Helsinki from 23rd to 27th July. Once again, he saw how the slightest mistake can cost you dearly: "They finished fourth. It's a good result but third place was within their reach. They didn't navigate well during the race for third. It's a bit frustrating." A statement which he does not want to have to repeat in Sopot, a town in the north of Poland with a population of 40,000, where only a win would be enough for LunaJets.
Currently 4th in the overall rankings of the World Match Racing Tour, with 33 points, only 6 points off the 2nd placed Swedish Hansen team, but 14 points away from the 1st placed British Williams team, Mathieu Richard and his crew know how important it is to score a lot of points in Poland to stop themselves from being left behind. "The race for the title is well underway and we are in the running, but now we need to move up a gear", the French skipper asserts, "we need to turn the confidence that we have gathered from the first two events into victory. We really want to win!"
Greg Evrard, who was missing in Sweden, makes his return as the mainsail trimmer. His relationship with Mathieu will be a valuable asset: "we know each other really well, as we have been sailing together for about 15 years, since my match-racing debut, which guarantees well-oiled tactical communication." Bowman François Verdier and Pitman Olivier Herledant make up the rest of the team, reduced to four members for this event, which will be raced on board Diamant 3000s, boats which are "a little different, with runners at the stern, a small jib at the bow, a large spinnaker and pretty good momentum", explains Mathieu.
Mathieu, Greg, Olivier and François will only have one day, Wednesday, to not only get to grips with this peculiar sailing boat, but also with the stretch of water, unknown to the team. "It's an event which has been around for many years, but until now we have never raced here, as it's only the first time that it has been a part of the World Match Racing Tour program", reveals Mathieu, who has carefully taken note of the tips given by his compatriot, Pierre-Antoine Morvan, who recently won the event.