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4 May 2005, 10:46 am
The Racing Begins
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Toscana Elba Cup 2005
Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy

The 2005 edition of ISAF Grade 1 Toscana Elba Cup - Trofeo Locman kicks off this morning at 1000 hours local time. It has the makings of a fantastic contest with Russell COUTTS (NZL) and Peter GILMOUR (AUS) joined by skippers from the syndicates of the 32nd America's Cup, including ISAF World Match Race Rankings' number one, Ed BAIRD (USA).
All teams taking part in the fourth edition of the Toscana Elba Cup - Trofeo Locman have arrived. Yesterday teams went to sea and fine tuned their SM40s, the boats which will be used for racing in Porto Azzurro, Elba, Italy.

The list of participants in the 2005 Elban matches is quite impressive. All but two teams taking part in the 32nd America's Cup have enrolled, in addition to COUTTS, winner of the 2004 Elba Cup, and Australia's GILMOUR, number two in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings.

Enrolled Teams and Helmsmen

Alinghi (SUI) - Ed BAIRD (USA)
Alinghi (SUI) - Peter HOLMBERG (ISV)
Desafio Español (ESP) - Karol JABLONSKI (POL)
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) - Ben AINSLIE (GBR)
K-Challenge (FRA) - Thierry PEPONNET (FRA)
Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA) - Francesco DE ANGELIS (ITA)
Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA) - James SPITHILL (AUS)
Pizza-La Sailing Team (AUS) - Peter GILMOUR (AUS)
Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team (ITA) - Hamish PEPPER (NZL)
Team Russell Coutts (NZL) - Russell COUTTS (NZL)
Team Shosholoza (RSA) - Ian AINSLIE (RSA)
Victory Challenge (SWE) - Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE)
+39 Challenge (ITA) - Iain PERCY (GBR)

Luna Rossa Challenge and Alinghi are lining up their two helmsmen, DE ANGELIS and SPITHILL on one side, HOLMBERG and BAIRD on the other, with two crews per team.

The 14 teams have been divided in two groups (A and B) of seven crews each. The eliminatory round robin (14 flights total) will take place on today and tomorrow with every team meeting each opponent once. At the end of the round robin the first three of each group continue to the quarter finals. The last four of each group will race to qualify for the remaining two slots. Best of three quarter finals will be held on Friday 6 May with the best of five semis scheduled for Saturday 7 May. The final will take place on Sunday 8 May and will again be a best of five affair to decide the 2005 champion.

Group A

Alinghi - BAIRD
Luna Rossa Challenge - SPITHILL
Alinghi - HOLMBERG
Victory Challenge - HOLMBERG
Emirates Team New Zealand - AINSLIE
Team Capitalia - PEPPER
Luna Rossa Challenge - DE ANGELIS

Group B

Team Russell Coutts - COUTTS
Pizza-La Sailing Team - GILMOUR
Desafio Español - JABLONSKI
+39 Challenge - PERCY
K-Challenge - PEPONNET
Team Shosholoza - AINSLIE

Andrea Lanzarotto (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The practice day in Elba yesterday:© Event Media
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