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28 June 2005, 02:13 pm
SPITHILL Set To Defend Title
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Trofeo Challenge Roberto Trombini 2005
Marina de Ravenna, Italy

The match racing season is coming down to the wire with the ISAF Grade 1 Trofeo Challenge Roberto Trombini in Marina de Ravenna, Italy the first of two major regattas before the next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings on 13 July and the invitations to the ISAF Match Racing World Championship.
From 29 June-3 July match racing will take centre stage at the Marina di Ravenna for the XI edition of the Trofeo Challenge Roberto Trombini.

Following the Valencia Louis Vuitton Acts 4 and 5, another challenge awaits for the three Italian America's Cup challengers, +39, Luna Rossa and Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team.

For the first time the top Italian match racers will be competing against each other with Paolo CIAN, Matteo SIMONCELLI, +39's Roberto FERRARESE and Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team's Flavio FAVINI confronting the favourite and defending champion, Luna Rossa's James SPITHILL (AUS).

As well as the Italian challenge the focus in Ravenna will also be on the battle for a top ten spot in the next ISAF World Match Race Rankings and therefore an invite to the ISAF Match Racing World Championship in Calpe, Spain from 12-17 September. For five of the skippers a good performance in Italy looks likely to be vital to their chances of qualifying for the ISAF Worlds. In reality, a place in the top eleven spots will guarantee a sailor an invite as defending champion Ed BAIRD (USA), who automatically receives an invitation, is assured of a top ten spot in the next Rankings' release. Sebastian COL (FRA), Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and CIAN in positions seven, eight and eleven respectively, will be trying to hold off the challenge of numbers twelve and 15 in the Rankings, SIMONCELLI and Bjorn HANSEN (SWE).

As well as the participation of favourite and number four match racer in the Rankings, SPITHILL, new helmsman for the Luna Rossa Challenge, one of the main attraction this year will be the first match of the season between the Italian match racing specialists.

Back to back winner of the ISAF Grade 1 Albaria Cento Cup, CIAN has been in the higher reaches of the Rankings for years. SIMONCELLI regularly challenges CIAN for honours as the highest Ranked Italian, whilst Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team helmsman FAVINI and +39's FERRARESE represent the Italian America's Cup challenge.

Joining the Italians and the challengers for a Worlds invite are two time Olympic gold medallist and number one sailor in the Finn ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Ben AINSLIE (GBR). The successful Briton is currently earning his match racing stripes with Emirates Team New Zealand. France's experienced Luc PILLOT lines up along with former Roberto Trombini winner, Sten MOHR (DEN) and Spain's successful 49er sailor, Santiago LOPEZ VAZQUEZ.

Tomorrow evening there will be a presentation with the contestants before racing starts on Thursday with the first round robins to decide who will go on to compete in the quarter finals.

Trofeo Challenge Roberto Trombini Entrants
(America's Cup team - ISAF World Match Race Ranking)

  • James SPITHILL (AUS), Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA) - 4
  • Sebastien COL (FRA) - 7
  • Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) - 8
  • Paolo CIAN (ITA) - 11
  • Matteo SIMONCELLI (ITA) - 12
  • Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) - 15
  • Luc PILLOT (FRA) - 43
  • Roberto FERRARESE (ITA), +39 Challenge (ITA) - 62
  • Sten MOHR (DEN) - 87
  • Ben AINSLIE (GBR), Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) - 118
  • Flavio FAVINI (ITA), Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team (ITA) - 220
  • Santiago LOPEZ VAZQUEZ (ESP) - 664
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, James SPITHILL faces a tough Italian challenge to defend his title:© Progetto Vela
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