From amidst a glittering line-up of America's Cup skippers Jochen Schuman of Switzerland's Alinghi Challenge posted an undefeated mark of four wins and zero losses on the first day of the Swedish Match Cup, Marstrand, Sweden.
"We're very happy to be here. You can't have better conditions for match racing," said Schuman. "The team worked very well together today and we're happy to achieve four wins."
One win off the pace was Schuman's boss, Russell Coutts who dropped his only race of the day to his teammate. Coutts has a new crew member for the regatta, none other than Alinghi Challenge head Ernesto Bertarelli. Bertarelli's on-board presence has shifted Coutts' longstanding partner-in-crime/tactician Brad Butterworth to Schuemann's crew. Bertarelli's involvement is no lark. He has proven himself an extremely competent sailor with years of experience on the lakes of Switzerland.
Coutts was pleased with his day but alluded that even better results were to come. "It's been eight months since we've done a match race event (the Colorcraft Gold Cup in Bermuda which Coutts won for a sixth time last October). We're looking forward to a good week and improving each day."
In other action, Dane Jes Gram-Hansen finished the day at three wins, dropping his only match to Coutts. Swedish Match Tour Year 2 Champion Magnus Holmberg of Sweden ended the day even at two wins against two losses and stands in the middle of the pack.
The biggest surprise of the day was the sub-par performance of Team New Zealand's Bertand Pace who was outsailed through the afternoon's action and ended the day at 0-4. Adding to the surprise is the fact that Pace is no stranger to the Swedish coastline, having won this regatta in 1996 and finishing as runner-up last year.
Winds were light and shifty for most of the day with occasional gusts of ten to twelve knots, and the sun shone out of the cloudless sky, which bought out another large crowd of spectators which have become synonymous with the event.
Action resumes tomorrow with the second group of skippers taking to the waters at approximately 9:00am.
Swedish Match Cup Leaderboard
Skipper Wins Losses
Jochen Schuemann 4 0
Russell Coutts 3 1
Jes Gram-Hansen 3 1
Magnus Holmberg 2 2
Jesper Radich 2 2
Johnie Berndtsson 1 3
James Spithill 1 3
Bertrand Pace 0 4
Jochen Schuman (Alinghi Challenge) def. Jesper Radich (DEN)
James Spithill (OneWorld Challenge) def. Bertrand Pace (Team New Zealand)
Magnus Holmberg(Team StoraEnso def. Johnie Berndtsson (SWE)
Russell Coutts (Alinghi Challenge) def. Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Schuman def. Spithill
Gram-Hansen def. Holmberg
Radich def. Pace
Coutts def. Berndtsson
Holmberg def. Pace
Gram-Hansen def. Radich
Schuemann def. Coutts
Berndtsson def. Spithill
Coutts def. Pace
Radich def. Berndtsson
Gram-Hansen def. Spithill
Schuemann def. Holmberg