Schuemann on top
Sunday June 8th 2003, Author: Andy Rice, Location: none selectedJochen Schumann of America’s Cup-holder Alinghi found the perfect way to celebrate his 49th birthday by advancing into the semifinals of the Swedish Match Tour’s Match Race Germany at the top of the leaderboard.
It was a long, hot windless day on the shores of Lake Constance as the sailors began to curse the race committee for holding them until late evening, in the hope of catching sufficient breeze to complete the quarterfinals. A surprise birthday party for Schumann broke up the boredom of the afternoon, and not long after, the race officer’s persistence was rewarded with a Force 2 westerly breeze.
Schumann switched straight from party mode into ruthless match racer, and came from behind in his heat against Ed Baird of Team Musto, to beat the American by some distance at the finish. Sweden’s Mikael Lindquist immediately made life tough for himself against the German by gybing in Schumann’s water before the start and incurring a penalty. It was irrelevant, however, as Schumann’s superior speed saw him stretch away to another comfortable win.
France’s Luc Pillot, former helmsman of the Le Defi Areva 2003 America’s Cup challenge, was one of a number of sailors looking to book the fourth and final slot in the semifinals next to Schumann, Baird and Jesper Radich of Denmark, all of whom had already done enough to secure their promotion before the evening session.
Pillot put Denmark’s Henrik Jensen out of contention for the semis with a straightforward race win. The Frenchman then stuck a penalty on Radich before the start, and then the two teams split tacks and banged each corner of the first beat. They converged on equal terms at the windward mark. Pillot rounded marginally ahead, but cunningly waited for Radich to hoist his spinnaker. Pillot, spinnaker still on the deck, luffed the Dane, whose spinnaker was now flailing around in the air. With Radich stalled out, Pillot deftly bore away and hoisted his way to a two-boat-length lead that he never relinquished.
And so, Radich gave up his overnight lead to Schumann, with the Dane relegated to a three-way tie for second place alongside Baird and Pillot. After some hasty checking of the rules on tie-breaks, Radich discovered that he was second, with Baird third and Pillot fourth. This is important for the young Dane, as the consistent failure of the breeze to materialize over Lake Constance until late in the day, means that the race organizers may be forced to pass over the semi-finals and go straight to a Schumann v Radich final.
Whatever happens, however, Radich is delighted with the way his regatta has gone. “When you compete in any Swedish Match Tour event, the aim is always to get to the semifinals, and then anything from there is a bonus. We can’t finish worse than fourth now, and so this means we have taken the lead for the first time ever in the Swedish Match Tour Rankings. It is good to do it, and a good time to do it.” With the final event due to take place in Marstrand, Sweden, next month, the Dane is looking forward to continuing his run of good form, which saw him win the ACI HTmobile Cup in Croatia last week, and now sees him in the semifinals of Match Race Germany.
Overall Quarterfinals Standings
Skipper Wins Losses
1. Jochen Schumann (Alinghi Team) 6 1
2. Jesper Radich (DEN/Team Radich) 5 2
3. Ed Baird (USA/Team Musto) 5 2
4. Luc Pillot (FRA/Team Pillot) 5 2
5. Mikael Lindquist (SWE) 3 4
6. Markus Wieser (GER) 2 5
7. Henrik Jensen (DEN) 2 5
8. Jes Gram Hansen (DEN/Team Victory Lane) 0 7
Quarter Finals Results from Sunday
Schumann def. Pillot
Baird def. Jensen
Schumann def. Baird
Pillot def. Jensen
Schumann def. Lindquist
Pillot def. Radich
Baird def. Gram Hansen