Law victorious

Cracking victory at Swedish Match Cup for 51 year old Brit

Sunday July 6th 2003, Author: Shawn McBride, Location: United Kingdom
Chris Law and his Outlaws team used a brilliant pre-start in the fifth and decisive match of the Swedish Match Cup finals to claim the championship of the last event on Swedish Match Tour 2002/2003 over Polish Match Racing World champion Karol Jablonski.

"This is a finely tuned Formula 1 engine that I’ve had the privilege to drive this week," said Law of his crew of Victory Challenge sailors. "It’s a result of the guys I’ve had with me. Match racing is a team sport and while at times this year I’ve been average, these guys have made the difference this week."

Sailing with Law at the Swedish Match Cup were Daniel Bjorndahl, Anders Dahlsjo, Oscar Angervall and Henrik Valderyd, who impressively won 12 of their last 14 matches sailed. In recent match race event Law has chosen to sail with local crews.

After winning the first two matches of the first-to-three points final, Law lost the third match after a penalty in the pre-start and then allowed that miscue to get him off-track in the fourth as well.

“You gotta keep cool when a final stretches to five matches," Law commented. "This is a very tricky place to sail and we’ve sailed our own game this week, but in the last match we went back to basic match racing tactics."

"We have really only worked as usual," added main trimmer Henrik Walderyd, "but with the successes during the week we have performed better and better.

“I was actually surprised how well Chris manoeuvred in the pre-start of the fifth match, staying behind us the whole time," said Jablonski. "Chris was the better sailor in the fifth race and the better sailor won."

Jablonski was philsophical about his second place. "We have won three events recently and I know how small the margins are in match racing. Today we were close but didn’t quite make it. We didn’t know the boats so well to begin with but got better with each day."

This is Law’s second win on Swedish Match Tour 2002/2003 following his victory in the 2002 UBS Challenge in Newport, RI.

Jablonski’s runner-up finish here catapulted him up the Swedish Match Tour Final Rankings from eighth place overall pre-event to fifth place, paying out an $US18,000 share of the US$200,000 prize purse, while Law moved up from fifth to fourth overall to get $20,000.

In the petit finals, US Virgin Islander Peter Holmberg of Team Pelle Petterson Yachting defeated Denmark’s Jesper Bank, a double Olympic gold medallist and former helmsman for the Victory Challenge 2-1 to finish third in his first appearance on the Swedish Match Tour since completing his obligations as helmsman for the Oracle BMW Racing Team in America’s Cup 2003.

"We’re very happy with third place," said Holmberg. "We didn’t sail together for six months after the Cup ended. It was fun to get back together and see that we could still ride the bike."

In the sail-offs, Australia’s Peter Gilmour of Team Pizza La swept past Sweden’s Mattias Rahm of Team Stena Bulk 2-0, while Australia’s James Spithill dispatched newly crowned Swedish Match Tour champion Jesper Radich of Denmark, 2-1.

"When it was decided that we won the Swedish Match Tour, we lost some concentration," confessed Radich. "The key to our success this year has been the crew. They have been very dedicated. Some of the events we have done poorly, but we’ve also won three events this year."

Swedish Match Tour 2003/2004 begins next month with the Danish Open 2003, August 12-16.

1.Chris Law, Great Britain/”The Outlaws”
2.Karol Jablonski, POL/Jablonski Sailing Team
3.Peter Holmberg, USVI/Team Pelle Petterson Yachting
4.Jesper Bank, Denmark
5.James Spithill, AUS/Team Spithill
6.Jesper Radich, Denmark
7.Peter Gilmour, AUS/Team Pizza-La
8.Mattias Rahm, SWE/Team Stena Bulk
9.Staffan Lindberg, Finland
10.Andy Beadsworth, GBR/Team Henri Lloyd
11.Magnus Holmberg, SWE/Team StoraEnso
12.Paolo Cian, ITA/Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team
13.Johnnie Berntsson, Sweden
14.Mikael Lindqvist, Sweden
15.Ed Baird, USA/Team Musto
16.Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Victory Lane

Skipper Points Prize Money
1.Jesper Radich, Denmark 109 US$60,000
2.James Spithill, AUS/Team Spithill 96 US$40,000
3.Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Victory Lane 84 US$25,000
4.Chris Law, GBR/”The Outlaws” 76 US$20,000
5.Karol Jablonski, POL/Jablonski Sailing Team 66 US$18,000
6.Ed Baird, USA/Team Musto 57 US$15,000
7.Magnus Holmberg, SWE/Team StoraEnso 50 US$12,000
8.Paolo Cian, ITA/Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team 47 US$10,000

SWEDISH MATCH CUP FINALS (First-to-score-three points)
Flight 1
Law def. Jablonski

Flight 2
Law def. Jablonski

Flight 3
Jablonski def. Law

Flight 4
Jablonski def. Law

Flight 5
Law def. Jablonski

PETIT FINALS (First-to-score-two points)
Flight 1
P. Holmberg def. Bank

Flight 2
Bank def. P. Holmberg

Flight 3
P. Holmberg def. Bank

SEMIFINALS (First-to-score-three points)
Flight 3
Law def. P. Holmberg
Jablonski def. Bank

Sail-Offis (First-to-score-two points)
Flight 1
Gilmour def. Rahm
Radich def. Spithill

Flight 2
Gilmour def. Rahm
Spithill def. Radich

Flight 3
Spithill def. Radich

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