Pace and Gilmour to meet in final of ACI HTmobile Cup

Saturday May 29th 2004, Author: Sean McNeill, Location: Mediterranean
Bertrand Pacé and Team France will meet Peter Gilmour and the Pizza-La Sailing Team tomorrow in the finals of the ACI HTmobile Cup, the sixth event on the Swedish Match Tour 2003-’04.

Pacé defeated Team Denmark’s Jes Gram-Hansen 3-0 in one semifinal match, while Gilmour beat Sweden’s Magnus Holmberg and the SeaLife Rangers crew, 3-1, in the other semifinal contest.

“Tomorrow is sure to be exciting,” said Pacé in preview of the final. “Gilmour is very tough. I think there’ll be a lot of Y flags flying.”

Gilmour, the overall leader of the Swedish Match Tour Championship Leaderboard, is a four-time champion of the ACI Cup, having won in 1993, ’94, ’95 and ’97. Pacé, winner of the inaugural Swedish Match Tour in 2000, has never won the event. “Bertrand hasn’t been doing a lot of match racing this year,” Gilmour said. “He’s the up and coming new boy while we’re the old sages.”

Today’s events at the 18th annual ACI Cup were slow to start. A third consecutive windless morning meant the race committee issued another shoreside postponement. Today, however, the lack of wind meant the cancellation of the final seven flights of the round robin, and the scores for Flights 1-4 and 12-15 had to be recalculated. But that had little consequence on the four teams that advanced to the semifinals.

“I think it was a good move on the part of the race committee to cancel the remaining flights rather than try to get them in,” said Gilmour. “I worked it out where we would’ve needed to sail four flights to potentially change the top four.”

Pacé won three straight against Gram-Hansen in the semifinals, but they were hardly walkover wins. Team Denmark did a great job in the pre-starts, but Pacé was too fast on the racecourse.

“I’m a little disappointed,” said Gram-Hansen, “but we lost to a better team today. I still feel we sailed well all week. We were getting the starts we wanted today, but they just didn’t work out on the racecourse.”

A key moment in the match came in the second flight. Approaching the windward mark on port tack, both crews were shy of the layline, and Pacé, to windward, rode Gram-Hansen past the mark. Gram-Hansen tried luffing, but he was too far away from the mark to make it work.

He wound up getting a penalty for contact with Pacé after passing through head-to-wind, and it was a red-flag penalty which meant he had to perform his 270-degree turn after rounding the windward mark. “I wasn’t obliged to give him room in that situation,” Pacé said. “He was outside of me.”

“We were about 3 or 4 meters shy of the windward mark,” Gram-Hansen said.

A penalty also seemed to hold the key in the Gilmour-Holmberg semifinal.

With the score tied 1-1, Holmberg got a penalty on Gilmour in the pre-start of their third match, when Gilmour’s boat touched Holmberg’s while the two were drifting backwards after luffing head-to-wind. Gilmour, however, was able to gain the lead on the beat and led Holmberg by less than two boatlengths at the first windward mark. Holmberg closed on the first run and rounded the leeward mark on Gilmour’s transom.

Holmberg was first to tack to port, and Gilmour covered tightly. Then Holmberg tried luffing Gilmour, who was still carrying a penalty. Holmberg luffed Gilmour head-to-wind, trying to get the Aussie to tack away.

When the umps green-flagged the incident, Holmberg luffed a little harder but went past head-to-wind and there was contact. The umpires penalized Holmberg, which canceled out Gilmour’s penalty. It was an odd move on Holmberg’s part, since he had a penalty against Gilmour and seemingly just had to stay close and hope he could pass when Gilmour did his 270-degree turn.

Holmberg explained it differently. “I thought he might ride me out past the starboard layline, tack and then extend away to the windward mark,” Holmberg said. “I thought I had an opportunity to force him to tack away. Then I could continue on port and gain the starboard advantage. “I disagree with the penalty,” he continued. “I thought he should tack away.”

Tomorrow’s final is scheduled as a best-of-five series (first to 3 points).

Semifinal Results

Bertrand Pace/FRA, Team France d. Jes Gram-Hansen/DEN, Team Denmark 3-0
Peter Gilmour/AUS, Pizza-La Sailing Team d. Magnus Holmberg/SWE, SeaLife Rangers 3-1

Final ACI HTmobile Cup Round Robin Standings
1. Bertrand Pacé/FRA, Team France, 8.5 points (11-2)
Crew Benoit Briand, Tanguy Caidou, Fabrice Levet, Romain Troublé
2. Jes Gram-Hansen/DEN, Team Denmark, 8 points (10-3)
Crew Michael Arnhild, Christian Kamp, Rasmus Kostner, Chresten Plinius
3. Magnus Holmberg/SWE, SeaLife Rangers, 7 points (10-4)
Crew Peter Anderson, Martin Krite, Lars Linger, Stefan Rahm
4. Peter Gilmour/AUS, Pizza-La Sailing Team, 7 points (10-4)
Crew Rod Dawson, Mike Mottl, Kazuhiko Sofuku, Yasuhiro Yaji
5. Gavin Brady/NZL, BMW Oracle Racing, 6.5 points (9-5)
Crew John Kostecki, Craig Monk, Robbie Naismith, Brad Webb
6. Mathieu Richard/FRA, 5 points (7-6)
Crew Greg Evrard, Olivier Herledant, Alexis Ponsot Pierre, Yannick Simon
7. Mattias Rahm/SWE, Team Stena Bulk, 4.5 points (5-8)
Crew Johan Barne, Claes Dahlberg, Pontus Meijer, Henrik Valderyd
8. Kelvin Harrap/NZL, Team New Zealand, 4 points (5-9)
Crew Andy Hemmings, Jeremy Lomas, Grant Lorentz, Chris Ward
9. Staffan Lindberg/SWE, 2 points (3-11)
Crew Johan Karlsson, Daniel Mattsson, Johan Mossberg, Daniel Wallberg
10. Mate Arapov/CRO, 1.5 points (3-11)
Crew Ivan Bulaja, Luka Radelić Ognjen Uljević, Stjepan Vitaljić
11. Frano Brate/CRO, 1 point (2-12)
Crew Boris Bakotić, Zvonko Jelačić, Denis Stanojević, Mirko Ukas

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