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13 March 2007, 09:36 am
Briton GREEN Triumphs
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JPMorgan Asset Management Winter Challenge 2006-2007
Staines, Great Britain

The ISAF Grade 2 Grand Final of the JPMorgan Asset Management Winter Challenge Match Racing Series saw the British teams dominate proceedings at the Queen Mary Sailing Club, Staines, with 'comeback kid' Andy GREEN (GBR) taking victory.
The round robin on Friday and Saturday saw close racing, and some upsets as the teams battled hard to secure a place in the semi-final.

An international field including the only women's team led by France's Claire LEROY, lined up against a strong Scandinavian presence consisting of Finland's Jon ERIKSSON, world #10 Staffan LINDBERG and Sweden's world #8 Bjorn HANSEN, as well five British teams and an entry from Switzerland.

The biggest upset of the weekend came during the final round robin match. The pre-event favourites, last year's winner and European Champion LINDBERG and HANSEN were tied and went into a deciding knock out race. HANSEN took the win, securing his place in the semi-final. Eric MONNIN (SUI), and Britain's Mark CAMPBELL-JAMES and GREEN progressed with ease to the semis, each losing just two races.

Great Conditions For Final

The final on Sunday saw excellent racing conditions with a southerly 15 knot breeze allowing for some fast and close match racing. GREEN dominated his semi-final races against MONNIN, taking three straight wins. In contrast, the second semi-final was not as straightforward - CAMPBELL-JAMES sailed very aggressively, pushing HANSEN into several penalty situations. On the final run of the second race, CAMPBELL-JAMES forced HANSEN to tack away whilst he was offloading a penalty, a move that CAMPBELL-JAMES was penalized for and had half a point deducted from his score line. This forced another two races to decide which of the teams made it through to the final. The final two races were equally hard fought, including a tacking duel consisting of over thirty tacks. CAMPBELL-JAMES came through to secure the win he needed to book his place in the final.

The final was an intense competition between GREEN and CAMPBELL-JAMES, each battling hard for supremacy. CAMPBELL-JAMES, sailing with Andy YATES, Andy CLARK and Dave MASON, took the first race, with GREEN's team of Mark WILLIAMS, Jonathan TAYLOR and Graham SUNDERLAND pulling the lead back in the final run to secure the next. The final tiebreaker was close, the boats were neck and neck until GREEN rounded the last mark just ahead of CAMPBELL-JAMES, an excellent hoist saw the team accelerate away and take the victory and the overall title.

GREEN Ecsatatic

On winning GREEN said, 'I'm absolutely ecstatic - it was my mainsheet man Graham SUNDERLAND that convinced me to come and sail at one of the qualifiers earlier in the year. The last time I've matched raced like this was at the last America's Cup in 2003. It's wonderful to be back, and it has made me remember why I love match racing - it is exciting, fun and tactical. I have been lucky enough to sail with a world-class team, and I owe many thanks to them.

'It is great to come and sail these boats, and fantastic that the RYA [Royal Yachting Association] and JPMorgan Asset Management continue to support this international match racing series'.

Roger THOMPSON, Head of Finance at JPMorgan Asset Management, presented the trophies at Queen Mary Sailing Club. 'We are delighted to be here, the racing today has shown the wealth of talented sailors that are looking to come to these events and it is absolutely what we want to be a part of.

'This series is part of JPMorgan's wider commitment to world class sailing and the team spirit and measured risks that we have seen out on the water today reflect the values and ethics that JPMorgan represent.'

Lindsey Bell (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Andy GREEN on his way to victory in the Grand Final:© Paul Wyeth/JPMorgan Asset Management/RYA
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