PUBLISHED 6 SEPTEMBER 2012 12:30
On his first World Match Racing Tour, Keith Swinton has taken first place in St. Moritz.
Images Andy Carter/AWMRT
Australian Keith Swinton has won an epic battle against two-time event winner Mathieu Richard at the World Match Racing Tour in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The race is the fifth event in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour series, and the win puts Swinton into fifth position overall.
On the day of the event, light winds held out just long enough on Lake St. Moritz to complete what was a tense Final. The battle was between former Champion Mathieu Richard (FRA) of Loire Atlantique Sailing Team and Keith Swinton (AUS) of Black Swan Racing, who was participating in his first tour event final in his first year on the tour.
After the event, Swinton said: “It is an amazing feeling, I’m a bit speechless. After we lost the fourth one we thought that maybe it was over and we wouldn’t have time to race the final race, but we did and we just made sure that we learnt from the mistakes we’d made in the previous races.
"To take out the win is really, really special for us and really exciting. It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s been a long, hard day and I think this can kick start our season. Marseille is coming up and we’ll look forward to that one even more now.”
The first match in the final went to the Frenchman who pushed Swinton towards the committee boat at the end of pre-start, resulting in a touch between the boats whilst Swinton was tacking to avoid the committee boat, also crossing the start line early. In addition to having to restart, Swinton carried the resulting penalty for much of the match, leaving the Frenchman able to comfortably close out the match after extending his lead around the course.
Richard looked for a way to offset his penalty, slowing down to set up a tactical battle of wits and boat handling on the finish line. Swinton kept a cool head as Richard tried to push him wide of the finishing mark, rolling him and diving across the line to level the score.
Swinton failed to take match point at the first time of asking, losing a crew member into the water in the pre-start. As the boats split left and right off of the line, Richard made the better decisions throughout the match when looking for breeze on the course and took a very dominant lead with one lap still to sail. He crossed the line to level the scores once again.
The winner-takes-all final match was equally tight until Swinton found some good pressure on the left-hand side to carve out a two-boat-length lead ahead of the final leg.
His Black Swan Racing team finished with huge smiles on their faces.
The Alpari World Match Racing Tour will resume in Marseille from 24 – 29 September.www.wmrt.com