Gram-Hansen grabs the lead

After day one of Match Race Germany

Thursday June 10th 2004, Author: Sean McNeill, Location: none selected
Light winds on Lake Constance made for a slow day of racing at the 8th annual Match Race Germany, an event of the Swedish Match Tour.

In light conditions, Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN) got off to a fast start, posting a 3-0 record in winds that hardly topped 7 knots. He’s now one-third of the way to winning the Mercedes Benz SLK 200 roadster offered to the skipper who can win 10 straight races.

“I’ve been here many times and know you can’t think too far ahead,” said Gram-Hansen with caution. “To win it you’d have to win all your races in the round robin, all in the quarterfinal, all in the semifinal and your first race in the final. It’s hard to do.”

In Group A, Gavin Brady (NZL), Peter Gilmour (AUS) and Lars Nordbjearg (DEN) each won their only race for 1-0 records.

Four flights were completed as the wind came and went, and mostly went on this beautiful lake that borders Germany, Switzerland and Austria. But the flights weren’t evenly distributed. Three were completed for Group B and one for Group A.

Group B was first on the water today, after a shoreside postponement of more than two hours. When the wind didn’t materialize off of Langenargen, the race committee moved the racecourse south to the Bay of Kressbronn.

“That was a good move by the race committee,” said Christian Kamp, trimmer for Gram-Hansen. “The first couple of races were fair. There was a steady breeze down there.”

Group A sailed one flight in the afternoon, which started around 3:00 p.m. With the wind in the Bay of Kressbronn gone, the race committee moved back to Langenargen and conducted the race in a light southwesterly that barely reached 5 knots. By the time they finished, the wind had evaporated and racing for the day was cancelled.

The competitors largely praised the new Bavaria 35 Match yachts being used at the event. They replaced the Diamant 2000, a 24-footer. “The new boats are great. You wouldn’t have been able to get the old fleet down to Kressbronn and back again and get this much racing completed,” said Gilmour, who wrapped up the Swedish Match Tour Championship for 2003-’04 by placing second in Croatia 10 days ago.

The 12 skippers competing at Match Race Germany have been split into two groups of six. Each group is scheduled to sail a five-flight round robin, after which the top four in each group advance to the quarterfinals.

The quarters are scheduled as a knockout round, meaning first to two points wins. The four winners advance to the semifinals, also a scheduled knockout round. The winners move on to the final.

Round Robin Standings

Group A (After 1 of 5 flights)
1. Gavin Brady/NZL, BMW Oracle Racing, 1-0
Crew: Dirk de Ridder, Sean Clarkson, Brad Webb, Andreas John
= Peter Gilmour/AUS, Pizza-La Sailing Team, 1-0
Crew: Yasuhiro Yaji, Mike Mottl, Kazuhiko Sofuku, Carsten Kemmling
= Lars Nordbjaerg/DEN, 1-0
<B>Crew</B> Thomas Hartvig, Niels Gramkov, Henning Lambertsen, Martin Metzing
4. Tino Ellegast/GER, 0-1
Crew: Arne Gülzow, Rudi Monteu, Philipp Hofstetter, Holger Lehning
= Karol Jablonski/POL, Toscana Challenge, 0-1
Crew: Markus Wieser, Tom Baranowski, Piotr Przybylski, Wolfgang Käfer
= Bertrand Pacé/FRA, Team France, 0-1
Crew: Benoit Briand, Thierry Fouchier, Fabrice Levet, Claas de Jong

Group B (After 3 of 5 flights)
1. Jes Gram-Hansen/DEN, Team Denmark, 3-0
Crew: Rasmus Kostner, Christian Kamp, Michael Arnhild, Henning Sohm
2. Luc Pillot/FRA, 2-1
Crew: Tanguy Cariou, Christian Scherrer, Teva Plichart, Florian Weser
= Michael Dunstan/AUS, OzBoyz Challenge, 2-1
Crew: Nick Partridge, Ben Morrison-Sack, Seve Jarvin, Tobi Aulich
4. Eric Monin/SUI, 1-2
Crew: Jean-Claude Monin, Marc Monin, Alain Marchand, Caspar Büttner
5. Mathieu Richard (FRA), 1-2
Crew: Yannick Simon, Olivier Herledand, Pierre-Alexis Ponset, Christoph Fuchs
6. Ray Davies/NZL, Team New Zealand, 0-3
Crew: Kelvin Harrap, Carl Williams, Matti Paschen, Jan Reblin

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