Gram-Hansen leads Swedish Match Tour
However, Gram-Hansen’s previous 19 point cushion shrank by five points as Australia’s James Spithill, former helmsman for the OneWorld Challenge, leap-frogged Denmark’s Jesper Radich into second place overall, following his runner-up finish in Elba.
Radich failed to garner any Swedish Match Tour Rankings points for the second straight event and now finds himself looking over his shoulder as the rest of the field creeps up on him.
Two new skippers entered the Swedish Match Tour Rankings following the Toscana Elba Cup - Trofeo Locman. Italian skipper Paolo Cian, former helmsman for Mascalzone Latino, now racing for the Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team, used his third place finish on his “home waters” to climb to sixth place overall.
Meanwhile, 2001 Swedish Match Tour champion Magnus Holmberg of Sweden, who has recently rejoined the Tour following his turn as skipper of the Victory Challenge, joined the Rankings for the first time this year. Holmberg used his win in Elba to move into a seventh place tie with American Ken Read of the Saucony Racing team.
Dropping out of the Swedish Match Tour Rankings were New Zealand’s Gavin Brady and Sweden’s Mattias Rahm of Team Stena Bulk.
The Swedish Match Tour awards points to the top eight finishers at each event, counting the accumulated best seven-of-nine finishes to determine the final Swedish Match Tour Rankings.
In addition to more than US$800,000 in individual event prize money, the Swedish Match Tour awards US$200,000 to the top eight sailors on the Swedish Match Tour, with the first-place skipper netting US$60,000.
The Swedish Match Tour 2002/2003 Champion will be crowned following the year’s final event at the Swedish Match Cup prize giving ceremony on Sunday, July 6 on the island of Marstrand, Sweden.
The next event on Swedish Match Tour 2002/2003 is the ACI Htmobile Cup, May 26-June 1.
SWEDISH MATCH TOUR 2002/2003 RANKINGS
1.Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Victory Lane 80
2.James Spithill, AUS/Team Spithill 66
3.Jesper Radich, DEN/Team Radich 53
4.Ed Baird, USA/Team Musto 42
5.Chris Law, GBR/”The Outlaws” 41
6.Paolo Cian, ITA/Riviera do Rimini Sailing Team 39
7.Magnus Holmberg, SWE/Team Holmberg 35
= Ken Read, USA/Saucony Racing 35