Into the semis

At the Roberto Trombini Challenge Trophy match racing in Ravenna

Friday July 12th 2002, Author: Shawn McBride, Location: Mediterranean
Denmark's Jesper Radich, One World Challenge's James Spithill, Dane Jes Gram-Hansen and his Team Victory Lane and MK Café's Karol Jablonski of Poland have advanced to the semifinals of the Swedish Match Tour's Trofeo Challenge Roberto Trombini Match Race, the first event of Swedish Match Tour 2002/2003.

"This is only the second time we've sailed these boats and they are very unique, they handle quite a bit like dinghys, so I'm quite happy with our result," said Radich.

In explaining his 3-0, victory over American Ed Baird of Team Musto, Radich explained, "We are much more aggressive than he is in the starts and that may have been the difference. We were a bit protective in the first race, and stayed with him, but in the last two we sailed our own races and looked for the puffs."

On his semifinal opponent Spithill, Radich offered, "he and his team are sailing very well and are well organized around the race course. We're just going to go for it, hopefully avoid penalties and work out the course."

Spithill advanced to the semis by a similar 3-0 score, defeating Denmark's Jes Gram-Hansen and his Team Victory Lane.

Gram-Hansen, and Baird then had a second chance to advance through the quarterfinals repechage format which pits the top two seeded losers against the winners from the bottom half of the quarterfinal qualifiers.

In the repechage round Gram-Hansen faced Prada Challenge's Gavin Brady who dispatched of his quarterfinals opponent Lars Nordjberg of Denmark 3-0, while Baird went head-to-head with Jablonski who swept past local sailor Matteo Simoncelli.

Gram-Hansen took the first two matches with Brady taking the third before the Danes sealed the deal in the fourth match.

"We did it the hard way, but we did it," said Gram-Hansen. "Spithill and his team are excellent sailors and he had us on our heels in the morning. Against Gavin we just battled and our boat handling came around. We were able to put the boat where we wanted and get good starts off the line."

Jablonski advanced after beating Baird in the first match, with Baird answering in the second and the Polish skipper taking the last two.

The conditions of the day were the lightest of the week, with winds peaking at 6 knots under a cloudless sky.

Semifinals Results
Flight 1
Radich def. Baird
Spithill def. Gram-Hansen
Brady def. Nordjberg
Jablonski def. Somincelli

Flight 2
Radich def. Baird
Spithill def. Gram-Hansen
Brady def. Nordjberg
Jablonski def. Somincelli

Flight 3
Radich def. Baird
Spithill def. Gram-Hansen
Brady def. Nordjberg
Jablonski def. Somincelli

Quarterfinals Repechage
Flight 1
Gram-Hansen def. Brady
Jablonski def. Baird

Flight 2
Gram-Hansen def. Brady
Baird def. Jablonski

Flight 3
Brady def. Gram-Hansen
Jablonski def. Baird

Flight 4
Gram-Hansen def. Brady
Jablonski def. Baird

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