This new event in the Swedish Match Tour has attracted some top America's Cup talent including the likes of Peter Gilmour and James Spithill from One World, Andy Green from GBR Challenge, Luc Pillot from Le Defi Areva, Paolo Cian from Mascalzone Latino, Prada's Gavin Brady and Kenny Read from Team Dennis Conner. The craft used for this event aare the locally built J/105s. These are unique in the tour for having bowsprits and asymmetric spinnakers. In addition all the boats are privately owned from the Newport and the US north east area and as a unique incentive, the owners of each boat are allowed to have one representative on board.
Another unique feature of this event is that a championship was held around the States for amateur sailors to take part. The winners of six regional qualifying events sailed in the finals of the UBS Challenge US Championship in Newport last weekend and three - Mason Woodworth, Ben Cesare and Andy Lovell - have been pitched into the two groups of eight sailing in the round robins. "To go up against Kenny [Read] at the first start and then Peter [Gilmour] it was a lot of fun for me and everyone on the crew," commented Mason Woodworth. "But we really pushed to be here..."
At the conclusion of the first round robin today OneWorld teams lead both A and B groups with the highly experenced Peter Gilmour and his protege, the nipper James Spithill, both on six points. Spithill in fact won seven races, but was disqualified yesterday from one race when it was deemed that he was responsible for a collision on the start line. "It's all about our intense training program at OneWorld," Spithill told madfor sailing when asked why he in particular has been doing so well. It should be remembered that the only other Swedish Match Tour event that Spithill has taken part in this year, he has also won.
After timing difficulties in two races yesterday where they were over the line in both, today was a good one for Chris Law and his Team Outlaws who have pulled up dramatically in Group B winning all three of their races today and currently hold second place.
Team Outlaws lined up with Ed Baird for their first race of the day, but the race was cancelled when Baird's boat experienced a problem with a winch. Next on the grid was Gavin Brady. Outlaw tactician Dobbs Davies said that there was a lot at stake here because in the past Law has acted as a tutor for Brady. "We shut him out at the committee boat end," said Davies. "We over-reacted on the first downwind leg in our covering tactics, so rather than extending to the pressure we got nervous in being so far ahead and ended up gybing twice as many times as we should. We didn't do it the second time and we finished ahead by quite a comfortable margin."
In their next race against Jesper Radich, the agressive Dane won the start. "He took the right side of the course, we took the left," commented Davies. During a tacking duel that ensued up the first beat one of Radich's crew grabbed the shrouds during a particularly fast tack a prohibited move under rule 42 and picked up a penalty. Radich picked up the lead approaching the weather mark following a shift but the Outlaws were able to stay on his tail and as Radich tried to draw them down towards the finish Law headed up towards the line and simply rolled over the top of them.
Finally they got to race Ed Baird. Aafter neither coming out on top of the start, the Outlaws picked up more pressure on the left hand side of the first beat, and were able to hang on to ther lead until the finish.
The day was not so good the GBR Challenge team lead by Andy Green with Adrian Stead on tactics and Jim Turner and Chris Main further up the boat.
"I guess the tail of the turf was that we lost against James [Spithall] because we picked the right hand side and the right hand side wasn't the favoured side," commented Andy Green at the time racing to make a chiropracter's appointment (he has a crooked neck). "Then we won against Dawn [Riley] which was a good race - we just covered and won easily. And the final race we were up against Andy Lovell and we had him all taped up until the last 200 yards of the final race when a huge puff came in from the left hand side and he gained about 15 boat lengths on us and went across the line about a boat length ahead."
"We've got another round robin tomorrow, so it's not over yet - we just need to work on all the things we need too work on," the GBR Challenge starting helm summed up.
The other major incident of the day was when another 'agressive Dane', Jes Gram-Hansen, was black flagged for making two penalties back to back.
Racing continues tomorrow with the second round robins (likely to be shortened) and more brilliant sunshine and light shifty conditions here in the spiritual home of world match racing.
GROUP A ROUND ROBIN STANDINGS
Skipper Wins Losses Points
1. Peter Gilmour, AUS/Team Pizza La 6 1 6
2. Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Victory Lane 5 2 5
3. Paolo Cian, Mascalzone Latino 5 2 5
4. Ken Read, Team Dennis Conner 4 3 4
5. Luc Pillot, Le Defi Areva 3 4 3
6. Mason Woodworth, USA 2 5 2
7. Jean-Claude Monnin, Alinghi Team 2 5 2
8. Ben Cesare, USA 1 6 1
GROUP B ROUND ROBIN STANDINGS
Skipper Wins Losses Points
1. James Spithill, OneWorld Challenge 7 0 6
2. Chris Law, Great Britain/Team Outlaws 5 2 5
3. Ed Baird, USA/Team Musto 4 3 4
4. Andy Lovell, USA 4 3 4
5. Jesper Radich, Denmark 3 4 3
6. Gavin Brady, Prada Challenge 3 4 3
7. Dawn Riley, K-Challenge 1 6 1
8. Andy Green, GBR Challenge 1 6 1
Group B Round Robin 1 Results
Radich def. Brady
Spithill def. Green
Lovell def. Riley
Law def. Baird
Green def. Riley
Spithill def. Lovell
Baird def. Radich
Law def. Brady
Lovell def. Green
Baird def. Brady
Law def. Radich
Spithill def. Riley
Group A Round Robin 1 Results
Read def. Monnin
Pillot def. Cesare
Gram-Hansen def. Woodworth
Cian def. Gilmour
Gram-Hansen def. Read
Cian def. Cesare
Woodworth def. Monnin
Gilmour def. Pillot
Cesare def. Monnin
Cian def. Woodworth
Gilmour def. Gram-Hansen
Pillot def. Read
Woodworth def. Cesare
Gilmour def. Read
Gram-Hansen def. Pillot
Cian def. Monnin
Photos on pages 2 and 3