Peter Holmberg through

First quarterfinallist decided at the Swedish Match Cup

Thursday July 7th 2005, Author: Sean McNeill, Location: Scandinavia
Peter Holmberg (ISV) is the first qualifier for the quarterfinal round of the Open Regatta at the Swedish Match Cup.

Holmberg, a helmsman Alinghi, won Group A with a 6-1 record. He finished 1 point ahead of second-placed Magnus Holmberg (SWE), skipper of the Victory Challenge. Jesper Radich (DEN), of Desafío Español, placed third with a 4-3 mark.

By winning the group Peter Holmberg advances straight to the quarterfinal round of the event, which is scheduled for Saturday morning. In between now and then Group B will contest its round robin, and the knock-out round for the eight teams finishing second through seventh in each group will be held.

In the past that layoff has been counterproductive for those winning their group. That’s not something Peter Holmberg wanted to hear. “Marstrand’s a beautiful place to hang out,” said Holmberg. “We can watch from the rocks and do mental practice.”

Philippe Presti (FRA), of Luna Rossa Challenge, placed fourth with 3 points on a 4-3 record. He was penalised 1 point yesterday for causing damage to another boat. Bertrand Pacé (FRA), of BMW Oracle Racing, finished fifth at 3-4, and Peter Gilmour (AUS), of Pizza-La Sailing Team, was sixth with 2.5 points on a 3-4 record. Gilmour was penalized a half point for causing damage.

Lars Nordbjerg (DEN) placed seventh with a 2-5 record. Staffan Lindberg (FIN), placed sixth on the Swedish Match Tour leaderboard, finished eighth with a 1-6 record and was eliminated from further competition.

Radich is competing in his first Swedish Match Tour event since last July’s Portugal Match Cup, Stage 1 of the current 2004-’05 season. Despite the layoff, he seems as smooth as ever in the Swedish Match 40.

“It was necessary to sit out,” said Radich, who married long-time girlfriend Sara last weekend in Denmark. “I was spending my last dime sailing. Now I have a job and I’m making a living.” Radich has joined Spain’s Desafío Español syndicate for the America’s Cup as a helmsman.

Gilmour, who finished sixth, is tied with Ed Baird (USA) for the lead of the Swedish Match Tour. Each skipper has 102 points. Gilmour advanced to the knock-out round, but he wasn’t wholly satisfied with his performance.

“It looks easier from the shore than it is,” said Gilmour (AUS). “It’s very puffy and shifty. There’s lots of randomness and little clinical match-racing.”

In the knock-out round Gilmour will meet the third-place finisher from Group B. Baird is in Group B and will sail his round robin tomorrow. If he finishes third, Gilmour and Baird would meet in the knockout round with the season championship on the line in a first to 2 points showdown. “That would stir our interest,” said Gilmour.

The Western Approach to Marstrand Harbor continued to keep the crews on their toes. The wind blew from the west/northwest around 12 knots, but was very spotty. The right side of the racecourse along the rocks seemed to be favored.

Magnus Holmberg got dusted in two pre-starts, against Peter Holmberg (yesterday) and Radich (today), but won the matches by playing the right side of the racecourse.

“The right side always pays here in Marstrand,” said Mattias Rahm, Magnus Holmberg’s tactician. Rahm said that the Victory Challenge crew needs to work on their pre-starts and mark roundings, but they were happy that they didn’t win the round.

“It’s good to sail in the knockout round,” said Rahm. “I remember two years ago I won the round. It felt good at the time, but I got eliminated in the quarterfinals. You have to continue raising your level through the week. If you don’t do the knockout round you can’t improve.”

Swedish Match Cup Standings
Group A (after 7 of 7 scheduled flights)
1. Peter Holmberg (ISV) Alinghi, 6-1
(Cew: Rodney Ardern, Murray Jones, Matt Mitchell, Lorenzo Mazza)
2. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge, 5-2
(Crew: Anders Dahlsjo, Lars Linger, Oskar Ljung, Mattias Rahm)
3. Jesper Radich (DEN) Desafío Español, 4-3
(Crew: Juan Pablo Cadario, Marcos Iglesias Garcia, Víctor Mariño, Miguel Jauregui)
4. Philippe Presti (FRA) Luna Rossa Challenge, 4-3, 3 points*
(Crew: Thierry Fouchier, Andre Gilles, Fred Guilmin, Pascal Rambeau
5. Bertrand Pacé (FRA) BMW Oracle Racing, 3-4
(Crew: Eric Doyle, Zach Hurst, Dirk de Ridder, Brad Webb)
6. Peter Gilmour (AUS) Pizza-La Sailing Team, 3-4, 2.5 points**
(Crew: Rod Dawson, Mike Mottl, Kazuhiko Sofuku, Yasuhiro Yaji)
7. Lars Nordbjerg (DEN), 2-5
(Crew: Jens Dolmer, Henrik Jansen, Pete Paulsen, Chresten Plinius)
8. Staffan Lindberg (FIN), 1-6
(Crew: Nils Bjerkas, Niclas Carlzon, Carl-Johan Uckelstam, Daniel Wallberg)

Swedish Match Tour partners include Swedish Match, BMW and the Match Race Association. Swedish Match Tour Official Sponsors include Musto, Sebago, Travel Places, Trident Studio and Wedgwood.

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