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26 May 2006, 10:11 am
Swedish Day In Croatia
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ACI Adris Match Race Cup 2006

A pair of Swedish teams stand 1-2 atop the standings of the 20th annual ISAF Grade 1 ACI Adris Match Race Cup, stage six of the 2005-2006 World Match Racing Tour. Johnie BERNTSSON and BJÖRN Hansen both posted 7-2 records through ten of the eleven flights scheduled in round one, but BERNTSSON beat HANSEN to gain the top spot.
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'We weren't very well prepared for this event and we have two new guys in the crew,' said BERNTSSON. 'But it worked out well. We had good speed and that was our biggest advantage.'

ACI Cup reigning champion Peter GILMOUR of Australia and Italy's Paolo CIAN are tied for third with 6-3 records. They are scheduled to face off this morning in the final flight of the round to determine the tiebreaker.

'The Scandinavians were very strong, congratulations to them,' said CIAN. 'We're happy with six wins, even if I didn't have good starts. The crew sailed well and we came back a few times.'

Hitting Top Geat

The ACI Cup got into full swing yesterday after Wednesday's virtual rain out. Abundant sunshine and north westerly winds topping out at twelve knots replaced the liquid nightmare. With temperatures in the high 60s, it simply was a gorgeous day for match racing.

'Maybe it was a little cold compared to Swedish weather,' quipped HANSEN, a glutton for punishment who raced in 46 degrees and rain last weekend.

The crews were itching for action. Chief Umpire John STANDLEY reported 53 requests for penalties and issued 25 penalties. 'It's a high rate of penalties, but there's a high standard of sailing here,' he said. 'The sailors don't ask for the penalty if they don't think they've been fouled.'

The calls had Principal Race Officer Alen KUSTIĆ worried all day. 'We were afraid of sinking,' he said. 'Two or three of the calls were for hitting the race committee boat.'

All Swedish Encounter

The penalties influenced some matches, in particular the one between BERNTSSON and HANSEN in flight six. The match was close up the first leg as HANSEN, on port tack, approached the starboard tack BERNTSSON.

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Peter GILMOUR's PST team had a
solid day
© ACI Cup

BERNTSSON tacked to cover and HANSEN luffed. HANSEN thought BERNTSSON's tack was too close, and BERNTSSON rolled over and opened a two or three boat length lead. BERNTSSON was penalized, but HANSEN felt he gained a significant advantage.

'I thought it should've been a red flag penalty,' HANSEN said, which would have required BERNTSSON to do the penalty immediately.

The match remained close until the finish when BERNTSSON, leading, performed his 270 degree penalty turn. He came out on port tack while HANSEN approached on starboard. HANSEN felt he was fouled again, but the umpires did not agree and BERNTSSON won the match.

BERNTSSON Shows His Speed

BERNTSSON showed great speed in beating number one in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings GILMOUR in flight one. GILMOUR was able to tag BERNTSSON with a penalty for being late in the start box, but BERNTSSON unloaded the penalty at the first mark. GILMOUR approached on starboard and BERNTSSON was clear ahead on port. The clean option for Gilmour would have been to duck behind BERNTSSON and follow him into the mark.

'But that's not in our playbook,' said GILMOUR. 'So we jammed it in there and hit the mark.'

BERNTSSON gained the lead, temporarily. GILMOUR got it back by the leeward mark, but lost it on the second upwind leg, BERNTSSON working the left side of the course to his advantage when GILMOUR did not cover. BERNTSSON rounded the top mark with a two to three boat length advantage, which he would not relinquish.

'It was very good to win,' said BERNTSSON. 'The guys did a great job in that match, they handled the boat well. It gets the blood pumping and the team in rhythm.'

Tough Day For GILMOUR

While the story of the day was the fine performances from the Swedish crews, the sub plot was 'beat up on GILMOUR' day. HANSEN, too, beat the reigning event champ in another close match.

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Dario KLIBA and his Croatia
One
crew got one over on
Tour leader Peter GILMOUR
© ACI Cup

'That was the highlight of the day,' said HANSEN. 'That was a tight match, never more than one boat length. It's tough to stay in front of the big guys. It was very satisfying.'

GILMOUR also lost to local hero Dario KLIBA (CRO). KLIBA's first regatta was the ACY Mini Cup in 1989 one week after the ACY Cup (as it was called back then), which he sailed in an Optimist as an eight year old boy. He received a certificate of participation, which his father reminded him of last week.

Today, the 25 year old KLIBA took down GILMOUR for the second time in two years. Last year he split his matches with GILMOUR.

'We had a good pre-start,' said KLIBA, who says his starting needs to improve to take the next step. 'We kept our concentration. It was a good way to start the day to beat him.'

'Dario's been sailing these boats a lot. He beat us going away,' said GILMOUR. 'You spend enough time match racing and eventually you work it out. You understand what needs to be done to win.'

Racing is scheduled to resume today at 1100 local time.

ACI Adris Match Race Cup Results

Round Robin Standings
(After 10 of 22 scheduled flights, including byes)

1. Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Team Semcon, 7-2
2. Björn HANSEN (SWE), Team Hansen, 7-2
3. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Viano Mercedes Benz, 6-3
3. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), PST, 6-3
5. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team, 5-4
5. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Williams Sail Racing, 5-4
7. Dario KLIBA (CRO), Croatia One, 5-5
8. Philippe PRESTI (FRA), Luna Rossa, 4-5
9. Evgeny NEUGODNIKOV (RUS), Lord of the Sail, 3-6
10. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Alandia Sailing Team, 2-7
11. Pierre-Antoine MORVAN (FRA), Extreme Team Morbihan, 0-9

For all the news on the ACI Adris Match Race Cup CLICK HERE.

World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
(After 5 of 8 Stages)

Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Ranking
Team Pts
1 Peter GILMOUR AUS 1 PST 48
2 Ben AINSLIE GBR 32 Emirates Team New Zealand 45
3 Staffan LINDBERG FIN 13 Alandia Sailing Team 37
4. Ed BAIRD USA 3 Alinghi 32
4. Gavin BRADY
NZL 14 Beau Geste Sailing Team 32
6 Peter HOLMBERG ISV 24 Alinghi 29
7. James SPITHILL AUS 2 Luna Rossa 25
7. Jesper BANK DEN 65 United Internet Team Germany 25
7. Dean BARKER NZL 12 Emirates Team New Zealand 25

World Match Racing Tour Schedule
(2005-2006 Season)

Stage Event Venue Date
Stage 1 PTPortugal Match Cup* Cascais, Portugal 19-24 July 2005
Stage 2 Danish Open* Copenhagen, Denmark 10-14 August 2005
Stage 3 St. Moritz Match Race* St. Moritz, Switzerland 16-21 August 2005
Stage 4 Monsoon Cup* Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 29 November-4 December 2005
Stage 5 Brasil Sailing Cup Angra dos Reis, Brazil 14-19 March 2006
Stage 6 ACI Adris Match Race Cup Rovinj, Croatia 23-28 May 2006
Stage 7 Match Race Germany Langenargen, Germany 1-5 June 2006
Stage 8 Toscana Elba Cup Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy 11-16 July 2006

* Originally contested as part of the Swedish Match Tour

The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. BMW is a Partner of the World Tour and the Official Car. World Tour sponsors include Sebago, the Official Footwear Supplier, Musto, the Official Clothing Supplier, and Travel Places, the Official Travel Partner.

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.

Sean MCNEILL (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Johnie BERNTSSON of Sweden leads the ACI Cup with a 7-2 record:© World Match Racing Tour
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