Beadsworth out while Law fires on all cylinders
After Jes Gram-Hansen and Ed Baird were knocked out yesterday and James Spithill and Mattias Rahm being sent straight through to the semi-finals today the format of the racing was to confirm the mid-fleet order and the final eight. Hence the second placed skipper from group A meet the seventh from the group B and vica versa.
The first group today saw match race world champion Karol Jablonski dispatch the young Swede Johnie Berntsson 3-2. Jablonski seemed to have it in the bag, going to 2-0 before Berntsson caused him 'holy heart failure' by winning the next two of the best of five. In the final race after lunch Jablonski said that he felt he had got the first puff that allowed him an advantage which he held to the finish.
Jablonski will line up against James Spithill tomorrow.
Peter Holmberg's supreme team of former Oracle types including Paul Cayard and Mike Sanderson (the team that will race later this year at the Bermuda Gold Cup) made a much easier job of dispatching Italian Paolo Cian. While the first and third races were relatively clear-cut, the second was less so and Holmberg said subsequently that he had pulled through to win that race thanks to having such a good crew. He, like several of the skippers, claim they sailed to a plan - ie the right hand side of the course (away from the spectators) was paying and that there usually seemed to be less breeze at the weather mark - which today was in the lee of the island and castle here at Marstrand.
While the man from the US Virgin Islands was his normal cool, chilled out self, it was a disappointing day for his namesake and former Swedish Match Tour winner Magnus Holmberg, who ironically created the Swedish Match Cup here in Marstrand, but has never won it...
Like the Swedish Holmberg was 2-0 up against Danish Swedish Match Tour leader Jesper Radich but unlike Karol Jablonski, then went on to lose the next three races. This series of matches was significant for not only is Holmberg the local hero, but Radich if he had lost would have placed his position in the whole Tour in jeopardy - James Spithill is still in a position where he could beat Radich to the Tour title and the US$ 60,000 prize money. "Jesper did a better job of the starts," admitted a disappointed Holmberg. Radich said that after he had lost the first two starts he changed his game plan. "We changed our pre-race tactics to make more aggressive moves close to the line," said Radich.
Another disappointed figure today was former GBR Challenge helm Andy Beadsworth who faced Jesper Bank, a repeat match from his days in the Soling at the Sydney Olympics.
"In the first race against Jesper we won the start and were clear ahead," recounted Beadsworth. "But then a winch blew up on first beat allowing him to pass." Despite the starboard winch destroying itself, Beadsworth managed to stay in the game but was unable to get ahead.
"In the second race we won the start again and put a penalty on Jesper - lead and tailing, he tried to overlap to leeward and came between us and the mark where there wasn't enough room. Later downwind we became overlapped to leeward and got mixed up with another race and he managed to get a penalty on us." This took place in the gybing battle, but Beadsworth and his team of Richard Sydenham, Johan Barne, Mal Parker and Nick Pearson, were able to recover to win the race.
By this stage the wind had swung round from the east to the north and the race committee had shortened the course, a move that later proved quite controversial with three flights all rounding marks at the same time.
In the third race Beadsworth received a penalty for luffing too quickly at the start and never got back into the race, while in the fourth the three flights taking place on the short course got super mixed up and Beadsworth said that on one occasion he had had to tack to avoid a boat (despite being on starboard) as he dipped by 180degrees. He led all the way the course until the second windward mark rounding and then on the second run Bank gybed and a gust allowed to gain fourth boat lengths and 30 seconds. "He hit the leeward mark at the end and was penalised," said Beadsworth. "We basically had to hang close enough. We were about three lengths, Jesper did his penalty at the finish and just made it."
"We're fairly disappointed," said Beadsworth. "We led every race but one." There was also the issue of the shortened course. "It ended up being like bumper cars at the windward mark," he said. He now goes on to helm the Synergia 40 Dickie's in the Admiral’s cup before moving on to Denmark for his next match racing event.
Chris Law had a much more convincing race against Swede Mikael Lindqvist. Sailing with a local Swedish crew of Daniel Bjorndahl, Anders Dahlsjo, Oscar Angervall and Henrik Valderyd, three of them former Victory Challenge sailors, Law won the first race, was DNF in the second when he didn't complete a penalty turn prior to finishing. During this race Law said that they had broken the starboard winch on the second beat. "When you're a winch down you don't tack when you should and we just got let out the back door," said Law. Fortunately after this they swapped boats and Law said that the only worry then was contending with the other boats. He then went on to win the next two races.
Peter Gilmour AUS vs. Staffan Lindberg FIN, 3-2
Peter Holmberg USVI vs. Paolo Cian ITA, 3-0
Karol Jablonski POL vs. Johnie Berntsson SWE, 3-2
Jesper Bank DEN vs. Andy Beadsworth GBR, 3-1
Chris Law GBR vs. Mikael Lindqvist SWE, 3-1
Jesper Radich DEN vs Magnus Holmberg SWE, 3-2
Tomorrow's quarter final matches will be between:
James Spithill v Karol Jablonski
Peter Gilmour v Peter Holmberg
Mattias Rahm v Jesper Bank
Chris Law v Jesper Radich