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5 May 2005, 09:43 am
SPITHILL And BRADY Off To Perfect Starts
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Toscana Elba Cup 2005
Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy

After the first day of racing in the ISAF Grade 1 Toscana Elba Cup-Trofeo Locman two skippers have perfect scores after the first four flights. Luna Rossa's (ITA) James SPITHILL (AUS) in Group A and BMW ORACLE Racing's (USA) Gavin BRADY (NZL) in Group B both remain unbeaten so far.
The 14 teams present in Elba Island, Italy are divided into two groups of seven teams in which each and every team competes in the Round Robin series. The sailing competition is held on a half mile marked course positioned directly in front of Porto Azzurro with a mild sea and sirocco winds of about seven to ten knots.

The first flight of Group A saw SPITHILL beat his fellow Luna Rossa teammate and the only Italian skipper of the competition, Francesco DE ANGELIS. Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team's (ITA) Hamish PEPPER (NZL) defeated Peter HOLMBERG (ISV) of Alinghi (SUI), whilst Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) of Victory Challenge (SWE) triumphed over Emirates Team New Zealand's Ben AINSLIE (GBR). The seventh team, the second Alinghi team, skippered by ISAF World Match Race Rankings' number one, Ed BAIRD (USA), sat out a bye.

By the end of the first four Group A flights on day one of racing, SPITHILL finished with a perfect racing score of three wins out of three races, after further victories over AINSLIE and PEPPER. Following the Australian is Magnus HOLMBERG, Ben AINSLIE, PEPPER and DE ANGELIS all with two wins. Surprisingly the two Alinghi teams prop up the group. BAIRD has a single win against DE ANGELIS whilst Peter HOLMBERG has yet to break his duck, losing all three of his races.

Group B teams followed with the wind conditions still light. In the first flight, Peter GILMOUR (AUS) and his Pizza-La Sailing Team (AUS), number two in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, beat Ian AINSLIE (RSA) of Team Shosholoza (RSA). BRADY defeated K-Challenge's French skipper, Thierry PEPONNET and Karol JABLONSKI (POL) of Desafio Español (ESP) won his flight against Iain PERCY (GBR) of the third Italian America's Cup team, +39 Challenge. Defending Elba Cup winner, Russell COUTTS (NZL) had a bye.

After sitting out the first flight, COUTTS has made an inauspicious start to his Cup defense. A single win against PEPONNET was sandwiched between defeats by Ian AINSLIE and PERCY. It is COUTTS' fellow countryman, BRADY, who looks on top of his game with victories over PEPONNET, JABLONSKI and Ian AINSLIE giving him a perfect start. Following behind with two wins are PERCY, JABLONSKI and GILMOUR, whilst COUTTS, PEPONNET and Ian AINSLIE all have a single win to their name.

Today the second half of the round robin starts at 1000 hours local time.

Andrea Lanzarotto (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Racing gets underway in Elba:© Event Media
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