Hansen leads the field
The Alpari World Match Racing Tour saw another fine day’s sailing from Bjorn Hansen and Peter Gilmour, leaving them among a group looking certain to progress to the Quarter Final of the Stena Match Cup Sweden after day three, while several skippers are desperate to secure wins in their remaining few matches to avoid elimination at qualification stage.
Dane Joachim Aschenbrenner reached a total of five wins after the day’s session and, having lost just four matches, has a good chance of moving to the Quarter Final with a strong performance tomorrow. A loss against New Zealand's Reuben Corbett in a thrilling match-up was the start to a day of mixed fortunes for the Danish 18 year-old who said: “It was a close one against Reuben. We got a penalty against us at the second top mark after leading up until that point. We took the port layline and he took the starboard. We thought we could cross him but he got on the inside and just got a piece of us. We got a red flag penalty so we had to let him pass and it just didn’t leave us with any way of getting back to him.”
Aschenbrenner, who looks set to become one of the future stars of the sport regardless of his progression here in Sweden, said: “We had a good event at Match Race Germany and have been looking forward to this one. The DS 37 are boats that we train on and I’ve raced them since I started match racing. It’s a hard fleet out here but we are aiming for the Quarter Final obviously. It’s still a bit unsure whether we will progress but the crew are doing a great job and we’ll be ready for tomorrow, for sure.”
Of the other teams on the brink of making the cut, Finland's Staffan Lindberg had a successful day, picking up another two wins to leave him with a total of three and still in with a chance of moving through to the next stage of the event. Italian Simone Ferrarese and local wildcard Viktor Ogeman weren’t able to get a win on the board in the third Qualifying Session and now look destined to be heading home.
At the top of the qualifying table, local hero Bjorn Hansen had recorded three wins by flight 16, taking him to eight overall and guaranteeing his participation in the next round. His only loss came at the hands of Peter Gilmour and his Yanmar Racing team in a close encounter which saw the Australian pick up a penalty in pre-start for not keeping clear of his opponent.
Hansen had taken an early lead approaching the top mark for the first time but some good boat handling from Gilmour's team allowed them to slip past on the first downwind leg. They lead all the way to the finish, building a gap of three boat lengths and allowing enough room for the penalty turn to take the slimmest of victories as Hansen bore down with greater speed.
Keith Swinton also remains in a commanding position going into the few remaining flights, having added to the troubles of Ogeman, who he mentors as part of his association with Magnus Holmberg’s Elite Challenge GKSS Youth Squad. His current 7-2 scoreline bodes well for a Quarter Final berth.
Results after Qualifying Session 3 (up to flight 16 of 23):
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 8-1
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 7-2
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 7-2
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing Team 7-2
Phil Robertson (NZ) WAKA Racing 6-3
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 5-4
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 5-4
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork 5-4
Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team 3-6
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Miss Sophie 3-6
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team 2-7
Laurie Jury (NZ) Kiwi Match 2-7
Reuben Corbett (NZ) AON Racing Team 2-7
Viktor Ogeman (SWE) Team Accure 1-8