Huge spectator interest in the match racing
 

Huge spectator interest in the match racing

Law continues his winning ways

As Swedish Match Cup goes into semi-finals

Saturday July 5th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Scandinavia
Contrary to our report yesterday (the final conclusion as to who was lining up against who last night proved to be wrong), the quarter-finals of the men's division in the Swedish Match Cup today saw Peter Holmberg line up against James Spithill, Peter Gilmour against Chris Law, Mattias Rahm against Match Racing World Champion Karol Jablonski and the two Danish Jespers Bank and Radich lining up against each other in a best of three contest.

In contrast to the early part of this contest, when there was torrential rain and some rather disgruntled guests being corporately entertained, racing was today again held in Marstrand Harbour under brilliant sunshine that as usual has brought spectactors out in droves. The wind was light and extremely shifty throughout the day, but in the morning the starting was right beneath the castle here, providing spectators with a bird's eye view of the action, pre-starts heading into the spectator fleet and much drama.

The most critical matches today were those involving Radich and Spithill. If Spithill won, as his form over the last few match racing events indicated he was likely to, and Radich finished lower than seventh then he would regain the lead of the Swedish Match Tour, winning the 2002-3 series outright, taking home the top prize of US$60,000 as a result. If not then the prize money would be Radich's.

In the event after winning the first race thanks to a giant shift that favoured him, Spithill was knocked out when Peter Holmberg's supreme team including Paul Cayard, won the subsequent two races. Radich also lost to Bank, but by this time the young Dane had finished well enough to secure first place in the Tour and the much needed prize money for his self-funded campaign.

One of the most superb performances of the day once again was Chris Law, who is showing a similar form that which won him the UBS Challenge in Newport last year. Of the quarter final matches, Law was the only person to dispatch his opponent, the not inconsiderable figure of Peter Gilmour, in two straight races. His result came despite a fluffed tack set when the old jib sheet developed a knot in it preventing them from hoisting the pole.

Law as usual said that his success was down to his crew, "when people do an America's Cup or Olympic campaign, they don't realise how good they get," he said with reference to his all Swedish crew, three of whom sailed with Victory Challenge. But on today, his 51st birthday, it was with considerable satisfaction that he demolished Gilmour, a five time winner of the Swedish Match Cup and a man he has match raced against for 22 years.

"Peter has an ogre about him," said Law. "When we were number 2 in the Worlds, he was number 1. He's finished a lot of America's Cup challenges. To beat him 2-0 gives us a lot of confidence."

"Chris [Law] took the opportunities in the light conditions to roll the dice," Gilmour told the Daily Sail. "When Chris gets a team together and he gets all fired up about the cost of it all - he tends to lock up. When he turns up and gets a bunch of locals, he tends to sail quite loose and is at his most dangerous. No way do you underestimate him."

Now out of the competition Gilmour will compete in the Bermuda Gold Cup later this year, but in the meantime will be attending the Optimist Nationals in New Zealand and Japan as part of the deal with his Pizza-La sponsor and may also make it to the Worlds in Gran Canaria. Despite rumours to the contrary, OneWorld is over. "I think clearly that OneWorld has had its day. They've announced that to everyone and the assets are for sale," Gilmour told us.

The fourth line-up of the quarter finals Karol Jablonski beats Mattias Rahm 2-1, the last Swede in the men's competition.

The semis

For this Peter Holmberg was drawn against Chris Law, while Jesper Bank was up against Karol Jablonski. To add tension to the proceedings the semi-finals were started today, but will conclude tomorrow morning.

At present Chris Law and Karol Jablonski are both one win away from getting a spot in the finals, both being 2-0 up.

Swedish Match Cup Women’s Class

Sweden’s Marie Bjorling won an all-Swedish final to claim her second consecutive Swedish Match Cup Women’s Class title in a thrilling five-match affair over countrywoman Mallin Kallstrom.

After dropping the first match, Bjorling won the second with Kallstrom then moving to championship point in the third. Bjorling then demonstrated why she is the world’s top ranked women’s match racer by leading her crew to two straight victories, while defending her title in this premier women’s match racing regatta.

"We did an unnecessary mistake in the first race and after that we said 'No more mistakes' because Mallin is an excellent sailor," said Bjorling. "The last two races were the best performance we had all week, good starts, good tactics and good boathandling. I’m just so happy right now."

As winner of the Swedish Match Cup Bjorling receives an automatic entry into the Bermuda International Women's Match Racing Championship, scheduled to take place 18-21 October at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. The winner and runner-up of the Bermuda International Women's Match Racing Championship will advance to Round One of the rather complicatedly named Investors Guaranty Presents the King Edward VII Gold Cup (otherwise known as the Bermuda Gold Cup).

The Swedish Match Cup concludes tomorrow, Sunday, with the remainder of the first-to-three points semifinals and finals.

SEMIFINALS (First-to-score-three points)

Flight 1
Law def. P. Holmberg
Jablonski def. Bank

Flight 2
Law def. P. Holmberg
Jablonski def. Bank

QUARTERFINALS (First-to-score-two points)

Flight 1
Spithill def. P. Holmberg
Law def. Gilmour
Jablonski def. Rahm
Radich def. Bank

Flight 2
P. Holmberg def. Spithill
Law def. Gilmour
Rahm def. Jablonski
Bank def. Radich

Flight 3
P. Holmberg def. Spithill
Jablonski def. Rahm
Bank def. Radich

SWEDISH MATCH CUP WOMEN’S CLASS FINALS

Flight 1
Kallstrom def. Bjorling

Flight 2
Bjorling def. Kalstrom

Flight 3
Kallstrom def. Bjorling

Flight 4
Bjorling def. Kallstrom

Flight 5
Bjorling def. Kallstrom

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