Francesco Bruni into the lead
Francesco Bruni of Azzurra, was in red hot form on day two of qualifying for the Danish Open and leads the charge for semi final places with a record of 8 wins and 3 losses, but with 3 flights to complete tomorrow morning and 7 skippers still in with a chance of qualifying the battle for the semis is wide open.
Bruni, who carried a 3-2 record over from yesterday got off to winning ways with victory over reigning ISAF World Match Racing Tour Champion Adam Minoprio of ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing and followed that up with a win against Peter Gilmour's Yanmar Racing. Bruni then bounced back from a loss to current ISAF World Match Racing Tour leader France's Matthieu Richard (to win his three remaining races of the day.
Speaking after his amazing sequence of wins Bruni said: “It was an incredible day for us and everything seemed to work well. We’re in a strong position with 8 wins but I remember in St Moritz we thought we had done enough but didn’t go through. The competition is so tough you can’t take anything for granted.”
Australian Torvar Mirsky was also on form winning all three of his races to post a 7-1 record, while Richard and Minoprio are the next closest challengers with 6 wins and 2 losses each.
Home favourite Denmark's Mads Ebler pulled off a stunning victory over TeamOrigin's Ben Ainslie leaving the Englishman among the chasing pack fighting for a berth in tomorrow afternoon’s semi-finals.
“Winning over Ben was amazing for us," said Ebler. "We try to go into every race treating everyone the same but it’s not everyday that you beat a legend like Ben, so it was a very good day for us. Ben tried to push us into an attack ahead of the start, luckily we were able to gybe in time. We got away from him at the start and were always ahead then.”
While Friday saw calmer winds for the sailors there was no let up in intensity on the water with crews pushing themselves and their boats to the limits. Veteran World Champions Peter Gilmour and Bertrand Pacé rolled back the years with a classic fierce duel which saw the pair clash twice.
The first incident came at the first leeward mark which saw Gilmour penalised for not giving Pace room to round inside his line. Seconds later Pacé incurred his own penalty as the windward boat not keeping clear. With Pacé holding the advantage on the final approach to the finish Gilmour made a last ditch attempt to snare the Frenchman which ended in disaster as his spinnaker made contact with Pace’s backstay which cost the Australian another penalty and with it the match.
Earlier in the day the 50 year-old Gilmour collected the honour of ‘play of the day’ in a clash of the generations as he took on 20 year-old qualifier William Tiller. Having lost his first match against Richard, Gilmour was facing down the barrel of a second straight loss, with Kiwi Tiller leading down the final run. But Gilmour maintained the attack right to the end, gybing to sit on Tiller’s wind and roll over the top of him five lengths from the line.
Best of the Rest
Ben Ainslie will need his best form in his three remaining races tomorrow to secure a place in the semis having won 2 and lost 1 of his races today, leaving him with a 5-3 record. Sweden’s Björn Hansen also still has a chance to qualify, finishing the day on a 5-3 record.
Despite two wins today Ebler is unable to qualify for the semis along with 20 year-old William Tiller of Full Metal Jacket Racing who showed his huge potential racking up four victories today. It was a day to forget for American Mike Buckley yesterday’s surprise winner over Matthieu Richard, as he lost all 8 races. Denmark’s three time Olympic sailor Susanne Ward scored her first win of the day against Buckley but finished with a 1-10 record.
Tomorrow sees the last three flights of the round robin qualifyers and the start of the knockout semi-finals, in which the first teams to score three points will go through to the finals on Sunday.
Standings at the end of day 2 of qualifying for the Danish Open
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra 8-3
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 7-1
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 6-2
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 6-2
Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN 5-3
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 5-3
Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Global Team 5-3
Bertrand Pacé (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team 5-6
Mads Ebler (DEN) Ebler Matchracing 4-7
William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing 4-7
Suzanne Ward (DEN) Team Ward 1-10
Michael Buckley (USA) MB Sailing 1-10