Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Q&A with Eric Monnin

Eric Monnin, currently the number 28th in the ISAF match race rankings, is the best ranked Swiss sailor in the rankings. I catched up with him on a recent ski-weekend with Swiss 470 sailors. Here are his answers to few selected questions on match racing and sailing:
When did you start sailing? I don't remember...I helmed at 6.

Which boat did you sail? Surprise, which is a good boat to learn sailing, despite the fact that it is a keelboat. Occasionally I also sailed 470, Mumm 30, Laser, and now Decision 35.
When did you start match racing? In 2001 with Alinghi Swiss Tour and 2003 with International grade 3 Match races.
Your best result so far (in match racing)? Beating Jochen Schumann and Philippe Presti at the Geneva Match Race 2003, Winning the JP Morgan Winter challenge a year ago.
Any special training for special events? Training is always a problem, as you need your team, a good infrastructure and a good opponent at the same time and venue. I do some training at the CER in Geneva and we try to practice on Streamline Boats for the St. Moritz Match Race.
Your best move so far in a match? Being in front leading by a few meters but with an outstanding penalty, we moved the game close to the committee boat. Followed a hard fight and we tried to do our penaly while he passed between us and the committee. The match was normally lost for us but then he hooked with his shrouds the "bowsprit" of the commity vessel. He was stopped abruptly 1 metre from the finishing line and we could win the race.
Your worst move so far in a match? There are definitely too many of them. Maybe being inside at the zone of Ed Baird at the leeward mark, passing the mark as inside boat and nevertheless getting a penalty was not my best move.
How much money do you spend in a year on the circuit? I never calculated that in detail, it must be a couple of kSFr for the whole team. As we actually only have sponsors for some specific events the whole team need to make personal contributions.
What do you thing the "best of best" do better? I think it's a matter of precision and teamwork.
What wind conditions do you like? I like when it's a little shifty, this opens the game.
Do you do any mental training? No, but we should...?
What's your goal for the upcoming season? Short/middle term: win a grade 2 event. Long term: steadily increase our level.
What do you think is the most important component in match racing? I think it's team work, compared to fleet race you rapidely see the qualitiy of a team in match racing.
Any tips for newcomers in match racing? Don't forget to sail fast.

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Eric is damn right: Speed is king. Don t forget. Everything else comes second. Good luck.

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