Australia Cup - Day 2

Andy Beadsworth updates Peter Bentley with progress in the tough match race event in Fremantle

Thursday March 22nd 2001, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: United Kingdom
Andy Beadsworth's GBR Challenge crew won three of their six matches on the opening day of the Sun Microsystems Australia Cup. The British crew lie equal-sixth at the end of the first round-robin and a spirited performance in the second round-robin could still see them making the semi-finals.

James Spithill proved a tough opponent in the opening race. Though penalised for taking too close on the first beat, Spithill held the lead on the water until the last run. Both boats sailed all the way down without spinnakers, repeatedly gybing. "Eventually we peeled him off on one of the spectator boats," said Beadsworth, "and went on to just edge ahead at the finish."

If anything the match against Jes-Gram Hansen proved even more exciting. Beadsworth's simple statement that: "He hit us port and starboard at the first cross," slightly understates the seriousness of the situation as it appeared there was little either boat could do to avoid the collision. Once again, the opposition stayed ahead and the British crew were forced to engage in another gybing duel to overtake as Jes-Gram Hansen took his penalty at the end.

In the match against Gilmour, Beadsworth was unlucky. With a pre-start call for water refused, the British crew found themselves on the mud. According to Beadsworth "Even Gilmour was a bit surprised when the umpire green-flagged it". From then on the undisputed master of this regatta pulled away, to record yet another win.

Despite the mixed performance, Beadsworth professed himself well pleased, especially with the progress the team is making in working themselves into a solid match-race crew. "Our overall game plan is going very well," he said. "The team is building up all the time but we are frustrated by losing races that we should have won".
With the Swedish match circuit now looking for all the world like a warm-up for the America's Cup, Beadsworth is very conscious
of the change in emphasis between the Swedish Match Circuit and his previous Olympic Soling campaign. "The biggest difference is that the execution and the boat handling are not second nature. In the Soling we were confident of the boat handling and the speed".

Beadsworth knows that the learning curve will be steep, but the margin between his newly formed crew and the other more practised players on the circuit is small. "We are very close to having seven or eight wind this week" he said. "The race we lost we were mostly winning".

As a result of his undefeated performance at the halfway stage of the double round-robin series, Peter Gilmour is at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the second day. There is of course a British connection here too, with Ben Ainslie sailing with Gilmour and his OneWorld America's Cup challenge. Gilmour heaped praise on his crew: "The boys were doing a fabulous job, we were sailing quite fast, and could really strategise each start to decide where we wanted to start from, and take the benefit from there." Ben Ainslie was given a lot of credit: "He's the shining star in the team right now, at his young age, he just has an enthusiastic sense of what is going on."

Sweden's Magnus Holmberg, and his Enso Stora Team, who had shared the top of the leaderboard with Gilmour overnight, started the day well, chalking up a string of wins. However his day went wrong, when the veteran Chris Dickson and the Oracle Sailing Team inflicted the first defeat of the regatta on the Swede. After that the Swedish America's Cup skipper came up against Peter Gilmour, and suffered his second defeat of the day, in a race that Gilmour controlled from start to finish.

Gilmour has now demonstrated his all round ability, winning races in yesterday's light winds, and today's 25 knots of breeze. Luc Pillot of France has climbed into third place after a consistent but unspectacular day on the water. American Ken Read, who had such a good first day, has struggled a bit in today's stronger breezes. Gavin Brady of Italy's Prada America's Cup team, climbed the scoreboard after a bad first day, and is now in fifth place.

It was a slow start to the day, with the teams waiting on the lawns of the Royal Perth Yacht Club until mid-morning, for the wind to ruffle a glassy Swan River. However when the legendary Fremantle Doctor seabreeze did arrive, it did so with some gusto, building rapidly to 20 knots at lunchtime, then 25 knots by the middle of the afternoon.

Scores after Day 2

Peter Gilmour USA 11 - 0
Magnus Holmberg SWE 9 - 2
Luc Pillot FRA 7 - 4
Gavin Brady ITA 7 - 4
Ken Read USA 6 - 4
Neville Wittey AUS 5 - 6
Andy Beadsworth GBR 5 - 6
Chris Dickson USA 4 - 7
Jes-Gram Hansen DEN 3 - 8
James Spithill USA 3 - 8
Nicola Celon ITA 3 - 8
Jesper Radich DEN 2 - 8

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