Torvar Mirsky and his team are looking forward to the 2009 World Match Racing Tour. Ranked 6th at the end of the 2008 series, the team are hoping to use their new ‘tour card’ status to concentrate on winning the World Championship title.
But while they have the skill to do it, they lack the backing of some of the other teams. Well funded teams like America’s Cup defender Alinghi and sailing ‘super-team’ Bahrain Team Pindar provide their skippers (Ed Baird and Ian Williams) with logistical support enabling them to focus on sailing. Currently without a major sponsor, MRT share roles like organising travel, managing websites and press and training, amongst themselves.
We caught up with Mirsky Racing Team who are in Marseille training before the competition starts this week.
What are you looking forward to most in 09?
In the past two years, our focus has been solely on securing a spot on the World Match Racing Tour, and now that we have achieved our goal we are able to shift our focus onto the exciting prospect of winning the Tour and being crowned World Champions.
How does the new tour card system affect you?
We managed to secure a tour card for the 2009 season, which has given us guaranteed entry into all of the events on this year’s tour. Among other things, this will help in our search for sponsorship as we can guarantee exposure throughout the entire year. In the previous years we had to put a lot of effort into gaining entries into the Tour’s events, which often came at very short notice. We would very rarely be able to train prior to an event, which put us on the back foot throughout the season. However we now have the ability to train before all of the events, giving us the edge needed to win this year’s Tour.
Do you get enough support from Australia? What about support from outside Australia?
We get no financial backing from anywhere at this point in time; however Line7 and Harken have recently come on board to assist our team with clothing and accessories which has been a great help. Along with this alignment, we have been shown a lot of support of the Royal Perth Yacht Club and its members who have been very enthusiastic about our performance. We have also managed to build up a large following both within Australia and worldwide.
What have you done since the monsoon cup to prepare for 2009?
We have been fortunate over the Australian summer to have Greg Kerr from PhysioTherapy eXercise working very closely with our team in preparation for the 2009 season. He has given us a number of Eastern and Western training methods to help us excel both physically and psychologically which has had an encouraging effect on our fitness and attitude. As well as this, we have all individually made an effort to sail a variety of different boats, concentrating more on dinghy and skiff sailing. We feel that small boat sailing is very important in the development of keelboat sailing as mistakes, both tactically and mechanically have exaggerated effects.
What would financial backing mean to MRT? How would it help you?
The teams that are in the forefront of sailing have the resources and backing to let them achieve their full potential when it comes to each event. Financial support would essentially allow us to achieve our goal of winning the World Match Racing Tour as training and preparation between events is a necessity if we are to reach our peak.
Are some rivalries bigger than others or do you treat every competitor the same way?
We always prepare for each race and each event with the same approach. No matter who we are racing, the course still has its favoured side and there are always powerful positions to be in. However despite being good friends, it is hard to put feelings aside when we come up against Adam Minoprio and his BlackMatch Racing team because both our teams have grown up racing one another on the Australasian youth circuit. When we come up against each other at such a high level we always want to get the edge over them and you can guarantee some close racing.
Mirsky Racing Team Official website: http://www.mirskyracingteam.com
You can follow the team on twitter at : http://www.twitter.com/mirskyracing