Jablonski takes lead

After next to no racing on the penultimate day of the ACI HTmobile Cup match racing in Split

Friday May 30th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Mediterranean
Thanks to a large black rain cloud cancelling out the sea breeze just two and a half flights were held today on day four of the Swedish Match Tour’s ACI HTCronet Cup in Split, Croatia.

Conditions over the last two days have been tough for both the race committee and the competitors with Principle Race Officer Alen Kustic having to abandon the final two races of the fifth flight of the second round robin with just one day of racing left to go. “This is the first time we didn’t finish a full scheduled round robin,” commented Kustic looking back at the competition’s 17 year history.

A near victim of the conditions today was Swedish skipper Magnus Holmberg. “I guess it was quite a surprise in the last race. We cleaned out the Croatian team in the start and there was a lot more breeze on the left side, but the wind started going to the right.” The 45degree wind shift to the right put a different complexion on the race. “All of a sudden they were ahead of us but we just managed to get a port-starboard on them at the top mark and get ahead and then we reached around the course.”

Among the early matches, held in a 10-12 knot southwesterly, were some classics including a major scrap on the final run between Karol Jablonski and James Spithill. During a luff duel on the final run, the boats tacked while under spinnaker. “Lucilky we managed to bear off faster than Jimmy and we won by one boat length,” said Jablonski. This may be a taste of what we can expect in tomorrow’s final.

With only one and a half round robins complete a lot of calculators have been in action working out who will make it into tomorrow’s semi-finals. This has not been as simple as adding up all the wins and calculating them as a percentage of the races sailed. Instead those races where competitors came up against each other in both round robins count for half points, while matches from the first round robin which were not sailed in the second round count for a whole point. In fact the result is the same - with the four semifinallists being:

Karol Jablonski – 8.5
James Spithill – 7.5
Magnus Holmberg – 7
Jesper Radich – 6.5.

Chris Law’s team The Outlaws were just knocked out,scoring 6 points on this system, over which there were small grumblings. “Because the order in the round robins is determined by rankings coming into the event then because we’re in the low tier in the second round we had the toughest matches to start with,” commented Outlaws tactician Dobbs Davis. For example The Outlaws sailed against James Spithill and Karol Jablonski in round robin two while Jesper Radich sailed against low rankers Allan Coutts and Frane Brate.

In the semi-finals tomorrow Karol Jablonski has chosen to sail against Jesper Radich leaving Magnus Holmberg to race James Spithill. However PRO Alan Kustic is once again nervous about the weather and the schedule. “We are going to struggle a bit again tomorrow,” he commented.

PRELIMINARY RESULTS – ACI Htmobile Cup –Round Robin Two – second stage

Flight 3
Law def Jablonski
Gram Hansen def Coutts
Holmberg def Radich
Rahm def Brate

Flight 4
Cian def Berntsson
Jablonski def Spithill
Holmberg def Gram Hansen
Coutts def Brate
Radich def Rahm

Flight 5
Law def Berntsson
Jablonski def Cian
Holmberg def Brate

Final standing after first stage
1. Karol Jablonski (Pol) 8.5 points
2. James Spithill (Aus) 7.5 points
3. Magnus Holmberg (Swe) 7 points
4. Jesper Radich (Den) 6.5 points
5. Chris Law (UK) 6 points
6. Paolo Cian (Ita) 5 points
7. Mattias Rahm (Swe) 4.5 points
8. Jes Gram Hansen (Den) 4 points
9. Johnnie Berntsson (Swe) 3 points
10. Allan Coutts (NZ) 2.5 points
11. Frano Brate 0.5 points

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