Radich comes from behind
On the water it was another difficult day for the race committee with the sea breeze failing to behave in the expected manner. Principal Race Officer Alen Kusic had set a deadline of 1500 (local time) to complete the semi-finals, but in this time only one flight had been run.
This proved disastrous for Poland competitor Karol Jablonski who going into today was clear leader of the rankings. Jablonski lined up against fourth placed skipper Jesper Radich and following an OCS at the start, lost to the young Dane. The wind died and with the 1500 deadline passed, Jablonski was unable to rectify this situation and found himself lining up in the petite-finals against Magnus Holmberg.
“Everything went wrong for us. Maybe we shouldn’t have got up this morning,” commented the Polish World Champion. “It is not the best kind of final day. We have sailed one and half round robins and in 15 races we won 12 of them. Then it comes to after one race in tricky conditions and that is not the best way to hold the semis.”
Insult was added to injury for Jablonski when during his second race of the Petit Finals against Magnus Holmberg there was a course change. Holmberg failed to recognise the course change and rounded the old weather mark locked in close combat with the Pole. Jablonski then headed for the new windward mark while Holmberg continued down the run. At a meeting of the jury to examine the incident afterwards Holmberg made a convincing argument that he had not been given the warning of the change of course long enough in advance. The race was resailed with Holmberg winning to take third place overall with Jablonski fourth.
Meanwhile in the finals three races were held between 24 year old James Spithill and Jesper Radich. Spithill won the first race while the Dane took the second and third races. With the wind once again failing, the race committee opted to call it a day, leaving the win to a delighted Radich.
“It’s tremendous,” commented Radich following the ritual post-race win dip in Split harbour. “It is so great to be back and sailing against James [Spithill], who is an excellent sailor with an excellent crew and that tells us we are definitely in the right spot.” In addition to his usual crew of Peter Poulsen, Rasmus Winston and Chresten Plinius, Radich was sailing with a new crew in the form of Danish giant and former Alinghi grinder Jann Neergaard on the bow. “He was superb at calling the shifts,” said Radich.
For James Spithall it has been the second time in consecutive events on the Swedish Match Tour that he has claimed the runners up spot. “I think Jesper and his guys sailed a little bit better than us. It came down to the decider race. We thought we were doing the right thing - we liked the right hand off the start and got the right off the start and it wasn’t enough. His guys sailed a great race to lead all the way round.”
The 20 points he has scored in each of the last two events is enough to make the former OneWorld helm the new leader in the Swedish Match Tour. He now leads Jes Gram-Hansen by two points and Jesper Radich by eight. Due to other commitments Spithall will not be at the next Swedish Match Tour event, Match Race Germany to held on Lake Constance starting on 5 June. This is likely to mean that the winner of Swedish Match Tour will not be decided until the final event of the season, the Swedish Match Cup in Marstrand on 30 June.
Radich def Jablonski
Spithill def Holmberg
Holmberg 2 – Jablonski 1
Radich 2 – Spithill 1
1. Jesper Radich
2. James Spithill
3. Magnus Holmberg
4. Karol Jablonski
5. Chris Law
6. Paolo Cian
7. Mattias Rahm
8. Jes Gram Hansen
9. Johnnie Berntsson
10. Allan Coutts
11. Frano Brate
Sw edish Match Tour standings
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