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10 October 2007, 12:08 pm
Classic Conditions Kick Off Gold Cup
Racing on day one in Bermuda
It was a great opening day in Bermuda

King Edward VII Gold Cup 2007
Hamilton, Bermuda

In a classic Bermuda day resplendent with sunshine and a westerly wind around 15 knots, the 59th annual King Edward VII Gold Cup got underway on Tuesday with three flights in all three round robin groups.
The 21 teams have been split into three groups of seven for the initial round robin racing.

America's Cup-winning helmsman Ed BAIRD (USA) is the only skipper to go 3-0 on the day and leads Group A. He's closely followed by the event's reigning champion Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), who's at 2-0.

In Group B there's a three-way tie between Johnie BERNTSSON of Sweden, Staffan LINDBERG of Finland and Mathieu RICHARD of France, each at 2-0.

Group C is led by Paolo CIAN of Italy and Daniel GLOMB of Brazil, both with 2-0 records.

The top two finishers in each group at the end of the round robin advance to the Quarterfinal Round while the third- and fourth-place finishers advance to a Repechage Round.

BAIRD, who helmed Alinghi to victory in the 32nd America's Cup in July, is the only skipper at 3-0 because he's the only leader who hasn't had a bye. Each team receives one bye in round robin racing.

"It's the first time I've stepped on a boat since the Cup," said BAIRD, of St Petersburg, Fla. "It's also the first time the four of us have sailed a match race regatta together. We're just trying to sort it out as we go along."

BAIRD is sailing with Alinghi team mates Rodney ARDERN, Lorenzo MAZZA and Piet VAN NIEUWENHUYZEN, who all sailed the Cup.

"It was a vintage Bermuda day," said WILLIAMS, the skipper of Team Pindar. "It was lovely wind, lovely sun and good for us because we got two wins."

LINDBERG, sailing in his sixth consecutive Gold Cup, is one of three tied for the lead in Group B.

"We started well and did well on the racecourse," said the tall Finn who is ranked #5 in the world. "We had good communication on the boat and good crew work on the racecourse. We're looking forward to tomorrow."

CIAN is tied with GLOMB for the lead in Group C.

"Our team is working very well," said the Italian who helmed South Africa's Team Shosholoza in the Louis Vuitton Cup last May.

Local heroes Glenn ASTWOOD and Blythe WALKER also fared well on day one. WALKER, who placed third overall last year, is third in Group A with a 2-1 record, which is identical to the spot and record ASTWOOD holds in Group C.

WALKER might've been at 3-0 tonight if not for a penalty he incurred in his flight 2 match against WILLIAMS, the event's defending champion. WALKER was able to pull even with WILLIAMS on the final run, but then got penalized for taking his competitor past the layline to the finish.

ASTWOOD, however, moved to 2-1 after overcoming Brian ANGEL (USA) in their flight 3 match. Trailing on the second upwind leg, ASTWOOD initiated a tacking duel that eventually allowed him to get to the right of ANGEL where he found more wind.

"When I'm behind I love to start a tacking duel, so that's what I did," said ASTWOOD, who won the Bermuda National Match Racing Championship in August.

Results

Group A Standings
(After 3 of 7 flights)

1. Ed BAIRD (USA) Alinghi, 3-0
2. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) Team Pindar, 2-0
3. Blythe WALKER (BER), 2-1
4. Alvaro MARINHO (POR), 1-2
5. Scott DICKSON (NZL) Dickson Racing Team, 1-2
6. Eric MONNIN (SUI) Team Monnin, 0-2
6. Peter WIBROE (DEN), 0-2

Group B Standings
(After 3 of 7 flights)

1. Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), 2-0
1. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team, 2-0
1. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) Saba SailingTeam, 2-0
4. Jon ERIKSSON (FIN), 1-2
4. Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) Victory Challenge, 1-2
4. Chris VAN TOL (USA), 1-2
7. Sally BARKOW (USA) Team 7 Sailing, 0-3

Group C Standings
(After 3 of 7 flights)

1. Paolo CIAN (ITA) Team Shosholoza, 2-0
1. Daniel GLOMB (BRA), 2-0
3. Glenn ASTWOOD (BDA), 2-1
4. Brian ANGEL (USA) King Harbour Match Race Team, 2-1
5. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), 1-1
6. Robbie ALLAM (GBR), 0-3
6. David TABB (GBR), 0-3

The Gold Cup is stage 13 of the 2006-07 World Match Racing Tour for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship.

Event Website - www.bermudagoldcup.com
World Match Racing Tour - www.worldmatchracingtour.com

Sean McNeill (As Amended By ISAF)
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