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3 December 2006, 01:30 pm
HOLMBERG Wins
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Monsoon Cup 2006
Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

In one year the Monsoon Cup will conclude the 2006-'07 World Match Racing Tour schedule. But it'll be hard-pressed to deliver a more exciting final than today's series between Peter HOLMBERG and Mathieu RICHARD.
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HOLMBERG (ISV), the 46-year-old helmsman candidate for America's Cup defense syndicate Alinghi, defeated RICHARD, the 30-year-old French surgical match-racer, 3-2 to win the second annual Monsoon Cup.

The series was a sea-saw affair, with each crew landing and absorbing repeated blows. HOLMBERG, however, pulled out the championship despite being on the verge of elimination just 36 hours earlier.

'The team has to do it, not just me,' said HOLMBERG, who captured his fifth career victory on the World Tour. 'It's really shifty and tricky here. The team that figures it out, that's what gets them on the right track.'

HOLMBERG's Alinghi crew included Rodney ARDERN, Lorenzo MAZZA, Piet VAN NIEUWENHUZEN and Dean PHIPPS. They finished with a 14-9 record and won MYR250,000 (approx. $69,500) of the MYR 1 million (approx. $278,000) prize purse.

'Dean and I got in synch and started reading the pressure better,' HOLMBERG said. 'The crew, I had Rodney on main, Piet on bow, Lorenzo trimming … you couldn't find a better workhorse than that trio.'

RICHARD sailed with regulars Thierry BRIEND, Greg EVRARD, Olivier HERLEDANT and Yannick SIMON. The Saba Sailing Team finished with a 14-10 record and won MYR150,000 (approx. $41,700).

'It was very exciting and very close,' said RICHARD. 'Maybe I would say we are disappointed because it was so close. But generally speaking, I am very happy with the event. It was a fantastic event. It was a great result for my team and me.'

HOLMBERG and RICHARD got to the final by beating Peter GILMOUR (AUS), PST, and Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar, respectively. Each match was decided by 2-1 scores.

In the Petite Final, WILLIAMS solidified his position atop the Match Racing World Championship standings when he defeated GILMOUR 2-1. WILLIAMS now leads the series with 62 points, twelve points ahead of RICHARD who leaped into second with his runner-up finish.

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HOLMBERG and team celebrate
© World Tour/Guido Cantini
RICHARD opened the final by winning the first race. He started to the right of HOLMBERG, worked the right side of the beat and rounded the first windward mark with a lead of about eight seconds. From there he covered for a 1-0 lead.

HOLMBERG rebounded, however, and took a 2-1 lead. He won the second race by playing the right side of the racecourse. He won the third race by virtue of a penalty on RICHARD. The Frenchman was penalized on the second beat when he tacked to port to cover HOLMBERG, who had just taken his transom. The umpires deemed that RICHARD, now the windward boat, didn't keep clear.

Still, RICHARD led to the finish of the race where he tried to pull off his penalty turn. His crew doused the spinnaker, hardened up on port and then tacked to starboard. But as they completed their tack HOLMBERG charged down on port jibe. RICHARD didn't bear away soon enough to complete his turn before HOLMBERG had to crash jibe, his boom draping all over RICHARD's headstay. The umpires penalized RICHARD again because he had no rights as an exonerating boat, and HOLMBERG won the race.

RICHARD evened the series 2-2 in the fourth flight, despite carrying another penalty. This time he was penalized for failing to avoid contact after HOLMBERG asked for room to tack from an obstruction. RICHARD told him to tack and when HOLMBERG did there was contact and the umpires determined RICHARD failed to keep clear. This time, however, RICHARD performed his penalty turn around the pin end and got his bow across the finish line a scant two seconds ahead of Holmberg.

That set up a final race, winner-take-all showdown in Flight 5. HOLMBERG started to the right of RICHARD, and it paid off. Halfway up the beat HOLMBERG rode starboard tack across RICHARD by about one boatlength. He rounded the windward mark about eight seconds in the lead, extended that to about eleven seconds at the leeward mark, and then covered relentlessly for the win.

In retrospect, the right side of the racecourse was a key to the racing.

'If I don't take that right every time,' HOLMBERG said, somewhat exasperated. 'Every time we gave it up, the guy got ahead of us.'

HOLMBERG, a noted user of the rules, also felt his experience played a part in the penalties against the younger RICHARD.

'Age has its virtues. I've seen and done a few more than him. He did fall in a few traps I set for him, so I was happy with that,' HOLMBERG said. 'The guys' good. He's calm, cool, fast and knows what he's doing. He's a nice, clean guy to sail against. I enjoyed it.'

Monsoon Cup Results

Final

Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Alinghi d. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team, 3-2

Petit-Final Results

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar d. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), PST, 2-1

Semi-Final Results

Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team d. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar, 2-1
Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Alinghi d Peter GILMOUR (AUS), PST, 2-1

Quarter-Final Results

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar d. Sébastien COL (FRA), Areva Challenge, 3-0
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team d. Björn HANSEN (SWE), Team Apport, 3-2
Peter GILMOUR (AUS), PST d. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza, 3-0
Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Alinghi d. Jesper BANK (DEN), United Internet Team Germany, 3-1

Round Robin Standings
(After 15 of 17 scheduled flights)

1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar, 9-2
2. Jesper BANK (DEN), United Internet Team Germany, 7-3
3. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team, 6-3
4. Björn HANSEN (SWE), Team Apport.net, 6-4
5. Sébastien COL (FRA), Areva Challenge, 6-5
6. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza, 6-5
7. James SPITHILL (AUS), Luna Rossa Challenge, 5-4
8. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), PST, 5-4
9. Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Alinghi, 4-5
10. Wearn Haw TAN (SIN), China Team, 2-8
11. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), Black Match Racing, 1-7
12. Tiffany KOO (MAL), Team Selangor Gapurna, 1-8

For all the news from the Monsoon Cup CLICK HERE.

World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
(After Stage 5 of 15)
Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Ranking
Team Pts
1 Ian WILLIAMS GBR 4 Team Pindar 62
2 Mathieu RICHARD FRA 6 Saba Sailing Team 50
3 Jesper BANK DEN 57 United Internet Team Germ 45
4 Paolo CIAN ITA 2 Team Viano Mercedes Benz 41
5 Ed BAIRD USA 22 Alinghi 40
6 Peter HOLMBERG ISV 75 Alinghi 37
7 Peter GILMOUR AUS 3 PST 35
8 Sébastien COL FRA 1 Areva Challenge 33

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 Portugal Match Cup Cascais, Portugal July 2007
Stage 9 Danish Open Copenhagen, Denmark August 2007
Stage 10 St Moritz Match Race St. Moritz, Switzerland August 2007
Stage 11 ACI Adris Match Race Cup Rovinj, Croatia September 2007
Stage 12 Locman Cup - Elba Island Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy September 2007
Stage 13 Brasil Sailing Cup Angra dos Reis, Brazil October 2007
Stage 14 Bermuda Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda October 2007
Stage 15 Monsoon Cup Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 20 November-2 December 2007

The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. The events of the World Tour serve to determine the ISAF Match Racing World Champion. Next year the Monsoon Cup will be the final event of the 2006-07 season, and will crown the 2007 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.

Sean Mcneill (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Peter HOLMBERG crash jibes to starboard to avoid holing Mathieu RICHARD:© World Tour/Guido Cantini
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