Oracle BMW Racing's Gavin Brady, with John KOSTECKI among his crew this week, posted a record of 5-1 on the day to finish the round robin portion of the regatta at 7-4. Brady now has to wait and see if his seven wins are enough to advance to Saturday's semifinals.
Meanwhile, Italy's Paolo CIAN of the Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team and Dean BARKER of Team New Zealand's Omega Match Racing Team were one step behind Gilmour and Brady, posting records of 5-2. Cian and Barker share similar scorelines of 6-2 overall.
"We had a couple of small mistakes against Peter GILMOUR and Gavin BRADY that cost us, but overall the crew did an amazing job in the starts and on the first beats, putting us in good position to win," said Cian.
Competing in the inclimate weather is not just an inconvenience, but also a challenge, even for the elite racer.
"Maneuvering is harder, especially dropping and hoisting the spinnaker, it gets sticky against the genoa. Also, the deck is slippery," explained Cian. "Overall, the sails are not working properly and you need to establish a different timing to your tactics."
Nippon Cup 2003 is Cian's first time competing in Japan and, like all of his fellow competitors, he would like to make the most of his trip halfway around the world.
"We have three difficult races tomorrow against (Jesper) RADICH, (Luc) PILLOT and Magnus (HOLMBERG) and while we're in pretty good position right now, we're going to need to win at least one of those matches to advance to the semifinals."
The three local skippers competing in Nippon Cup 2003 had frustrating days. Yasutaka FUNAZAWA, a four-time Japanese national match racing champion was 2-5, while both of his countrymen Eiichiro HAMAZAKI and Takao NINOMIYA were 0-6.
Hamazaki and Ninomiya's regattas are over, with records of 2-9 and 0-11 respectively, eliminating them from the next round.
The wind, ranging from 10-12 knots, was significantly fresher, and less shifty than yesterday, adding to an increased intensity in the racing.
Round robin action resumes on Friday morning at 09:00 local time.
The Nippon Cup 2003 features a single round robin with the top four skippers advancing to Saturday's first-to-three points semifinals. Semifinal winners advance to Sunday's first-to-three wins finals, while the losers square off in the petit finals.
Round Robin Standings
|1||Magnus HOLMBERG||SWE/SeaLife Rangers||5||0|
|2||Peter GILMOUR||AUS/Pizza-La Sailing Team||7||1|
|3=.||Dean BARKER||NZ/Omega Match Racing Team||6||2|
|3=.||Paolo CIAN||ITA/Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team||6||2|
|5=.||Luc PILLOT||FRA/Team Pillot||3||2|
|7||Gavin BRADY||Oracle BMW Racing||7||4|
|8||Staffan LINDBERG||FIN/Team Henri Lloyd||4||4|
|9||Andy GREEN||GBR/Team Racing Green||3||5|