Baird and Spithill move forward

As quarterfinals line up is decided at Elba Cup match racing

Thursday May 15th 2003, Author: Shawn McBride, Location: Italy
Defending event champion, American Ed Baird of Team Musto, and Australia’s James Spithill, former helmsman for the OneWorld Challenge, advanced through the Quarterfinals Repechage today to round out the semifinals of the Swedish Match Tour’s Toscana Elba Cup - Trofeo Locman.

Baird and Spithill join former Swedish Match Tour champion Magnus Holmberg of Sweden and local skipper Paolo Cian of the Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team, and former helmsman for the Mascalzone Latino America’s Cup challenge, who had previously qualified for the semifinals of the sixth event on Swedish Match Tour 2002/2003.

After defeating Great Britain’s Chris Law of 'The Outlaws' 2-1, in a spirited series in the Quarterfinals Lower Division, Baird swept past current Swedish Match Tour leader Jes Gram-Hansen of Team Victory Lane, 2-0, in the Quartfinals Repechage round to stay alive and earn the chance to defend his title.

"You just try to make the right choices at the time, we had to come from behind a couple of times today and the team bailed me out of a couple of tough ones," said Baird. "All these events have great competitors, there’s no favorites or dark horses, everyone’s capable of winning, and you just hope you make the right choices to put yourself in a good position."

Spithill, like Baird, had an exciting battle with France’s Luc Pillot, former helmsman for the Le Defi Areva Challenge, before advancing, 2-1.

"It didn’t go well against Luc. Our jib halyard broke on the final beat of our second match, allowing Luc to overcome a three-boat length lead and end up winning,” said Spithill. “It was a bit frustrating but, just one of those things.”

Spithill then defeated Poland’s Karol Jablonski 2-1, in the Quarterfinals Repechage to advance to the semifinals, after encountering some additional mechanical challenges.

"In the third match the backstay broke off down below as we were in the freshest part of the course. We sailed Karol way past the mark to allow us more time to try and fix it while going downwind, but we couldn’t get it rigged up, causing us to minimize our tacks on the second upwind leg," explained Spithill. "Luckily we were able to hold him off and all our hard work and good crew work paid off."

Tomorrow is a scheduled lay day, with all the teams participating in a golf tournament, followed by a prize giving, at Auquabona Golf Club near Porto Azzuro.


TODAY’S RESULTS
Quarterfinal Lower Division
Match 1
Chris Law (GBR/”The Outlaws”) def. Ed Baird (USA/Team Musto)
Baird def. Law
Baird def. Law

Match 2
Luc Pillot (FRA/Team Pillot) def. James Spithill (AUS/Team Spithill)
Spithill def. Pillot
Spithill def. Pillot

Quarterfinals Repechage
Match 1
Baird def. Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN/Team Victory Lane)
Baird def. Gram-Hansen

Match 2
Spithill def. Karol Jablonski (POL/Jablonski Sailing Team)
Jablonski def. Spithill
Spithill def. Jablonski

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