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Pieter-Jan Postma, possibly the most laidback speed demon in the world, proved two things at the WMRT Match Cup Russia at St. Petersburg Yacht Club today; firstly, that even in his debut year on the World Match Racing Tour he is a greater force to be reckoned with each event, and secondly that Phil Robertson’s conveyor belt of victories should not be taken for granted.
Robertson (CHINAone Ningbo), the current Match Racing World Champion, has been punching top spots like a machine and is this year’s clear leader. He was ahead in Group 1 after the first qualifying session but found today’s second session more complicated, as he finished third in the group.
“It was a very strong group, and to beat Phil (Robertson) and (Matt) Jerwood in this fleet - super stoked with that,” said Postma (Sailing Team NL) who has taken a unique route to the WMRT from being a Dutch Olympic Finn sailor. “I’m really happy with how it’s going and we didn’t expect this yet. We’re ahead of where we thought we’d be.”
At the press conference, Robertson looked like a man itching for Thursday to come. “We had a bit of a difficult day, but it’s good,” the New Zealander said. “It’s coming to the business side of the regatta, so it’s nice to have a big kick and make sure we’re switched on for tomorrow.”
But Robertson, has often been beatable in the qualifying fleet races, only to show his strength once the match racing starts in the SUPER 16 stage. His thoughts were echoed by Postma. “After these two days it’s easy to feel good, but tomorrow is back to basics,” he said. “In match racing it’s so easy to lose.”
Postma finished Group 1 level on points with Perth’s Matt Jerwood (Redline Racing), but went top by virtue of count back winning the last race. Jerwood went into the last race leading the group after winning the second and third races, but could only finish fourth in the last. The strength of this group of death was underlined by the role that Russian Victor Serezhkin (Gazprom Team Russia) played on day two, picking up two second places, the second of which came crucially in the second race.
Serezhkin led off the start and for half the race before Postma reeled him in, swept past him and flew away. “We needed to choose whether to fight for the pin end, which everybody wanted, or you give yourself some space,” Postma said. “In the last race, I thought it was too crowded at the pin end, so we went for some separation and then we charged over the top of that group.”
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