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20 August 2001, 03:48 pm
Holmberg Continues Winning Form
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Homberg photo:Per Heegaard

Danish Open Match Race
Skoshoved Harbour

Under a grey, threatening, Scandinavian sky, and in front of more than two thousand spectators lining the seawall of Skovshoved Harbor, Swedish Victory Challenge skipper Magnus Holmberg defended his Danish Open championship.
Holmberg and his Team StoraEnsor match race crew defeated Victory Challenge teammate, and local hero, Jesper Bank in the finals of the Swedish Match Tour's Danish Open 2001.

"It's very satisfying to sail so well," said Holmberg. "The conditions today were very different than earlier in the week. Stefan (Rahm, tactician) did an excellent job today adjusting, as did everyone on board."

The win was also Holmberg's second consecutive victory on the Swedish Match Tour. Last month in Ravenna, Italy, Holmberg and crew won the Trombini Match Race. As a result, Holmberg, Swedish Match Tour Year 2 champion, has opened up a 30-point lead in the Swedish Match Tour Year 3 Championship standings.

Holmberg took a 2-0 lead in the finals by taking advantage of penalties by Bank in the starts of the first two matches. In match three, Bank took the fight to Holmberg and after establishing a slight advantage in the start forced Holmberg to the far left, stretching the course. This tactic put Holmberg on the defensive and allowed Bank to dictate the pace of the match, eventually building a twelve second lead around the leeward mark from which Holmberg never recovered.

In the decisive fourth match, a penalty once again proved a major difference. Bank copped one in the pre-start and Holmberg sailed away, albeit with only a slight lead, but it proved enough to reward the Swedish skipper with the victory.

"Obviously, we're disappointed, but it was very good sailing today," stated Bank. "We worked together very well as a team and improved each day and that is what's most important."

In the petit final Peter Holmberg of Oracle Racing swept past Gavin Brady of the Prada Challenge to claim third place. Holmberg took advantage of several miscues by Brady including two penalties in the first match, one for hitting the windward mark on the first leg, and one penalty in the second match.

"We're pretty happy with our result this week," said Holmberg. "It was a great week of sailing and a good test for our Oracle Racing team."

Earlier in the day, in semifinal action, Bank defeated Brady two matches to zero while Magnus Holmberg defeated Peter Holmberg two matches to one.

In the sail-offs, in an all Danish match-up, Jes Gram-Hansen and his Team Marienlyst match race team defeated Team Steff Houlberg, skippered by Jesper Radich 2-0 to claim fifth place. Morten Henriksen of the illbruck Challenge defeated Ben Ainslie of the OneWorld Challenge, skippering the Pizza La match race team 2-1 to claim seventh place.

Championship Sunday's conditions featured 16-18 knot winds and choppy seas which were starkly in contrast with those here earlier in the week.

The Colorcraft Gold Cup in Bermuda, October 14-21, is the next stop on the Swedish Match Tour.

Finals Results

M. Holmberg def. Bank

M. Holmberg def. Bank

Bank def. M. Holmberg

M. Hoolmberg def. Bank

Petit Finals Results

P. Holmberg def. Brady

P. Holmberg def. Brady

Semifinal Results

Semifinal 1

Bank def. Brady

Bank def. Brady

Semifinal 2

P. Holmberg def. M. Holmberg

M. Holmberg def. P. Holmberg

M. Holmberg def. P. Holmberg

Sail-off for 5/6

Gram-Hansen def. Radich

Gram-Hansen def. Radich

Sail-off for 7/8

Henriksen def. Ainslie

Ainslie def. Henriksen

Henriksen def. Ainslie

Overall Standings

1.. Magnus Holmberg (SWE/Team StoraEnso)
2.. Jesper Bank (Victory Challenge)
3.. Peter Holmberg (Oracle Racing)
4.. Gavin Brady (Prada Challenge)
5.. Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN/Team Marienlyst)
6.. Jesper Radich (DEN/Team Steff Houlberg)
7.. Morten Henriksen (illbruck Challenge)
8.. Ben Ainslie (USA/Team Pizza La)
9.. Lars Nordbjerg (Denmark)
10.. Chris Law (Great Britain)
11.. Henrik Jensen (Denmark)
12.. Johnie Berntsson (Sweden)
13.. Jesper Feldt (Denmark)
14.. Andy Beadsworth (GBR Challenge)
15.. Murray Jones (Alinghi Challenge)
16.. Sebastien Destramau (Le Defi Challenge)

Swedish Match Tour Championship Leaderboard

Following Danish Open 2001

Skipper Points

1. Magnus Holmberg (SWE/Team StoraEnso) 50

2. Peter Holmberg (Oracle Racing) 30

3. Jesper Bank (Victory Challenge) 20

Dean Barker (Team New Zealand) 20

5. Gavin Brady (Prada Challenge) 12

Morten Henriksen (illbruck Challenge) 12

James Spithill (OneWorld Challenge) 12

8. Russell Coutts (Alinghi Challenge) 10

Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN/Team Marienlyst) 10
Shawn McBride/News Editor
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