Early lead for Williams

Team Pindar ahead after day one of the Danish Open match racing

Friday August 29th 2008, Author: World Match Racing Tour, Location: United Kingdom
The first day of the Danish Open, Stage 5 of the World Match Racing Tour 2008 season saw 12 crews from 7 countries take to the waters off the Jutlandic peninsula. With a shifty gusty breeze that blew off the land up to 22 knots the teams were tested to the max.

The morning session saw six teams take to the water to compete against one another which included Ian Williams (GBR), Sebastien Col (FRA), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mads Ebler (DEN) and Andrew Arbuzov (RUS).

Ian Williams ended the day 4-1 with his match against Torvar Mirsky his only loss. The race started even with Torvar taking the right hand side and gaining a slight advantage. At the top of the first leg Torvar dialled Ian Williams down to try and keep him on the left hand side but Williams dipped around Mirsky’s transom. There was contact between Mirsky’s transom and William’s bow as Mirsky luffed but the incident drew a Twin penalty from the umpires (due to a disagreement over who was at fault) and gave William’s the advantage as he tacked back and blocked Mirsky. Mirsky followed William’s around the first mark, gybed and then attacked down the run. After a downwind tussle Mirsky just managed to roll William’s and rounded mark 2 ahead. For the rest of the race Mirsky matched William’s move for move and crossed the line ahead.

Mirsky finished the day with a disappointing 2-3. “We made 2 or 3 key mistakes which really hurt us. Being shown the penalty flag 5 times didn’t really help either but we felt we sailed well and are confident that we can bounce back tomorrow.”

Sebastien Col had a good day finishing on 3-2. One of Col’s losses was to Ian William’s after Col lead for most of the race but a wind shift and a lucky gust gave William’s the leap he needed to surf past Col only yards from the finish line. Ebler had a similar shift of luck to take the win from Col. As a previous winner of the Danish Open in 2006, Col will be looking for a repeat performance and after the way he sailed today will probably feel quietly confident.

The afternoon session saw the other 6 teams take to the water. Mathieu Richard (FRA), Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Peter Wibroe (DEN), Jesper Radich (DEN) and Johnnie Berntsson (SWE) who sailed 3 flights and they will start the day tomorrow and sail a further 2 before the two groups are mixed up to complete the full Round Robin.

After only three flights in the afternoon session it’s hard to see who is emerging but the 2007 Finalists, and local hero’s, Jesper Radich and Peter Wibroe are both looking to make a repeat appearance in the finals this year.

In the match between Radich and Wibroe the teams split tacks off the line with Wibroe heading off to the right hand side. As the boats cross tacked Radich just edged ahead with the help of a few lucky left shifts and at mark 1 Radich taunted Wibroe with a cheeky port tack cross that saw Wibroe waving his protest flag. The umpires were not convinced, displaying the green and white flag that means ‘no penalty’.

Both boats gybed and Wibroe seized the opportunity to blanket Radich’s wind and rolled over the top of him. Radich wasn’t about to give up and attacked back re-rolled Wibroe and drew clear ahead ¾ of the way down the run. Things then started to go wrong for Wibroe as he ran into the back of Radich and was awarded a penalty. Both boats gybed and once again Wibroe rolled over the top of Radich. Again Radich attacked and managed to get to windward of Wibroe but this time Wibroe wasn’t in the mood to be rolled and luffed Radich hard. As both spinnakers collapsed Wibroe bore away to give Radich room to lower his spinnaker which he promptly did and the resulting contact between Radich’s spinnaker and Wibroe’s boat handed a second penalty to Wibroe for not giving enough room for the manoeuvre. Wibroe rounded mark 2 ahead but once he had completed one of his penalties Radich had gained the upper hand which he held to the finish.

After racing Radich said “We had a reasonable day, I thought we sailed well as a team but felt we had a few decisions go against us. The race we won was the one we really wanted against Peter Wibroe so I think we can go into tomorrow feeling positive.”

With a further 14 flights left in the Round Robin the standings are pretty wide open but that will soon change as the team scramble for the 4 places in the semi-finals.

Standings After Day 1:
Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar 4-1
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K Challenge 3-2
Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge 3-2
Mads Ebler (DEN) Team AWL Grip 2-3
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 2-3
Andrew Arbuzov (RUS) 1-4
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit 2-1
Peter Wibroe(DEN) Wibroe Sailing Team 2-1
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 2-1
Jesper Radich (DEN) Radich Racing Team 1-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team 1-2Johnnie Berntsson (SWE) 1-2

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