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7 July 2007, 08:45 pm
An All-Viking Semi-Final
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Match Cup Sweden 2007
Marstrand, Sweden

After a long wait through a windless morning, the breeze finally filled from 10 to over 16 knots from the west to produce the most exciting match race sailing yet at the ISAF Grade WC Match Cup Sweden, stage 8 of the World Match Racing Tour.
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All but one quarter-final pairing went to three matches in the first-to-two point series, with all four winning teams hailing from Scandinavia to advance to the Semi-Final Round. Mattias RAHM (SWE) and Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) of Victory Challenge, and Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) and Jesper RADICH (DEN) also started their Semi-Final battles today, which will be concluded tomorrow to determine which teams will advance to the Finals.

But RADICH is on the ropes: despite having the most wins of any team in the double round robin, the ex-Desafio Espanol team member has dropped two to HANSEN in their first two matches of the first-to-three point series, making his first match tomorrow a must-win effort to stay alive in the round. HANSEN said, 'We're certainly happy about having had a good day, with some very close matches with Mathieu [RICHARD (FRA) in the Quarter Final round], decided only by seconds. But we're still nervous about Jesper, because we watched him being so fast in the round robins.'

Nevertheless, HANSEN is no stranger to the Semi-Finals in this event, and feels he has the momentum and confidence to carry on. 'This time we want to go all the way,' he said.

RADICH Relaxed

RADICH, despite his current predicament, still seemed relaxed and confident. 'Bjorn does seem fast in the breeze, and we may have been caught in our set-up being more for light air. But we've debriefed about this, and we'll be ready for tomorrow.'

RAHM and HOLMBERG, tied in the series with one win each, were team mates on the Victory Challenge, but this has not meant their matches have been congenial by any means. The tight, aggressive pre-start manoeuvres characteristic of these teams experienced in sailing the tight-turning DS 37s is in stark contrast to their sparring in Valencia on IACC yachts. The last match was particularly exciting, with the lead changing six times, including during a furious tacking duel on the last weather leg where RAHM was able to just barely maintain his edge to stay in front.

'Yep, its all tied up with the boss,' said RAHM. 'It's been two years since we sailed these boats as a team, but the guys are doing great.'

HOLMBERG said, 'These boats are as far from Cup boats as you can get, so we're still trying to get the feeling for things. But I've really enjoyed the sailing, we've had great racing between two great teams.'

Too Fast

The quick build in the breeze during the Quarter Finals did, however, have its down side. The DS 37s used in the competition sped around the track faster than the Race Committee expected, creating complex overlap problems between unmatched pairs that disadvantaged some teams in their critical matches. Gavin BRADY (NZL) won the favoured left side of the start in his third, must-win match against HOLMBERG, only to tack and find himself facing two starboard tack boats with the right of way rounding their leeward mark, forcing him to duck two boat lengths to leeward, thereby conceding the lead.

And later up the same windward leg, Sebastien COL (FRA) was in the lead in his must-win match against RAHM, when first HOLMBERG forced him to tack, and then with nowhere to go he inadvertently interfered with BRADY and was given a penalty by the umpires. COL maintained his lead but was unable to shed this penalty before RAHM beat him to the finish.

On this, HOLMBERG said, 'The Race Committee should try its very best to try and not have these situations.'

Nonetheless, the day was a spectacular counterpoint to the dreary rain and windless conditions which have plagued much of this event. The westerly breeze direction meant the race course was perfectly situated in the Marstrand fiord to allow thousands of weekend spectators on hand to view all the action, entertained and informed by public address commentary provided on site. The numerous sponsor pavilions, the seaside promenade, and the natural rocky amphitheatre on this south coast of the island makes Match Cup Sweden unique among World Tour events to enjoy match race sailing.

Semi-Finals
(First to 3 points)

Mattias RAHM (SWE) vs Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), 1-1
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) vs Jesper RADICH (DEN), 2-0

Consolation Round Standings
(First to two, then playoff for 5th - 8th places)

Gavin BRADY (NZL) vs Sebastien COL (FRA) ,1-1
Simon MINOPRIO (NZL) vs Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), 1-1

Final Placings

9. Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE)
10. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR)
11. Evgeniy NEUGODNIKOV (RUS)
12. Eric MONNIN (SUI)
13. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS)
14. Claire LEROY (FRA)
15. Jenny AXHEDE (SWE)
16. Malin MILLBOURN (SWE)

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Standings
(After Stage 7)

Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Ranking
Team Pts
1 Mathieu RICHARD FRA 2 Saba Sailing Team 70
2 Paolo CIAN ITA 5 Team Viano Mercedes Benz 66
3 Ian WILLIAMS GBR 1 Team Pindar 62
4 Jesper BANK DEN 11 United Internet Team Germany 45
5 Sébastien COL FRA 3 Areva Challenge 41
6 Ed BAIRD USA 24 Alinghi 40
7 Peter HOLMBERG ISV 28 Alinghi 37
8 Staffan LINDBERG FIN 9 Alandia Sailing Team 37
World Match Racing Tour Schedule
(2006-2007 Season)
Stage Event Venue Date
Stage 1 Portugal Match Cup Cascais, Portugal 18-23 July 2006
Stage 2 Danish Open Copenhagen, Denmark 9-13 August 2006
Stage 3 St. Moritz Match Race St Moritz, Switzerland 15-20 August 2006
Stage 4 Bermuda Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda 10-15 October 2006
Stage 5 Allianz Cup San Francisco, USA 24-29 October
Stage 6 Monsoon Cup Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 28 November-3 December 2006
Stage 7 Match Race Germany Langenargen, Germany 23-28 May 2007
Stage 8 GKSS Match Race Marstrand, Sweden 2-8 July 2007
Stage 9 Portugal Match Cup Cascais, Portugal 24-25 July 2007
Stage 10 Danish Open Copenhagen, Denmark 8-12 August 2007
Stage 11 St. Moritz Match Race St Moritz, Switzerland 14-19 August 2007
Stage 12 Latium Match Cup Fiumicino, Italy 11-16 September 2007
Stage 13 Locman Cup - Elba Island Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy 25-30 September 2007
Stage 14 Bermuda Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda 9-14 October 2007
Stage 15 Brasil Sailing Cup Angra dos Reis, Brazil 23-28 October 2007
Stage 16 Monsoon Cup Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 28 November-2 December 2007

The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. Skippers earn points towards the World Championship at the nine events of the World Tour and the highest scoring skipper at the end of the season is the ISAF Match Racing World Champion.

The World Tour Partner and Official Car is BMW AG (Munich, Germany). World Tour sponsors include Sebago (Rockford, USA), the Official Footwear Supplier, Travel Places (West Sussex, Great Britain), the Official Travel Partner and Wedgwood (Cheshire, Great Britain) the Official Trophy Supplier.

For more information on the World Match Racing Tour, its competitors and events, visit the official World Tour website - www.WorldMatchRacingTour.com. World Match Racing Tour television programmes may be viewed on demand by clicking on the television icon on the home page of the website.

For all the news on the World Match Racing Tour CLICK HERE.

Yvonne Reid (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from day five in Marstrand:© Dan Ljungsvik dan@ljungsvik.com
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