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13 October 2006, 08:33 am
SPITHILL, RICHARD Lead Eight To Quarters
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King Edward VII Gold Cup 2006
Hamilton, Bermuda

The preliminary round robins are complete and the quarter-finalists set at the 58th annual ISAF Grade WC King Edward VII Gold Cup, stage four of the 2006-2007 World Match Racing Tour. Reigning event champion James SPITHILL (AUS) and ISAF Nations Cup winner Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) topped the two round robin groups.
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Advancing from Group A were SPITHILL at 6-1 and Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Björn HANSEN (SWE) and Chris LAW (GBR), all of who scored 5-2.

RICHARD led the way in Group B on 6-1, followed by Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Blythe WALKER (BER) on 4-3 and Eric MONNIN (SUI), scoring 3.5-3.

Today's quarter-final matches pit SPITHILL versus MONNIN, HANSEN against WILLIAMS, LINDBERG against WALKER and LAW versus RICHARD. The winner of each match will be the first to three points.

After a wild start to the event on Wednesday, when three boats were hit with lightning and a few competitors were taken to a doctor for check ups, yesterday was relatively sedate.

The wind blew mostly from the southwest between eight and 15 knots. A 20 minute squall with winds up to 30 knots blew through Hamilton Harbour during afternoon racing, but the crews were sent shoreside and no one was injured.

Advancing from Group A were SPITHILL at 6-1 and Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Björn HANSEN (SWE) and Chris LAW (GBR), all of who scored 5-2.

RICHARD led the way in Group B on 6-1, followed by Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Blythe WALKER (BER) on 4-3 and Eric MONNIN (SUI), scoring 3.5-3.

Today's quarter-final matches pit SPITHILL versus MONNIN, HANSEN against WILLIAMS, LINDBERG against WALKER and LAW versus RICHARD. The winner of each match will be the first to three points.

After a wild start to the event on Wednesday, when three boats were hit with lightning and a few competitors were taken to a doctor for check ups, yesterday was relatively sedate.

The wind blew mostly from the southwest between eight and 15 knots. A 20 minute squall with winds up to 30 knots blew through Hamilton Harbour during afternoon racing, but the crews were sent shoreside and no one was injured.

SPITHILL Perfect For The Day

SPITHILL won Group A at 6-1 by winning all five of his matches yesterday, but professed a lack of knowledge for the secret to his success.

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Mathieu RICHARD won the
Group B round robin
© Gold Cup/Charles ANDERSON
'I don't know our secret,' he said. 'I felt we sailed well in the first three races and then I made some mistakes in the next two. But I'm feeling good because I know we can improve a lot.'

SPITHILL's biggest problem on the day was when he had to switch boats because the key lock for the tiller and rudder assembly came loose on the boat he had been sailing.

RICHARD won Group B with an identical 6-1 mark.

'I'm happy with the result,' said RICHARD. 'We have to improve some things, like handling the boat. They're very particular, like the main traveler. The bowman does it which is different than other boats. I was not happy with the starts. But we've improved the speed of the boat upwind and were good on tactics.'

MONNIN Pays The Penalty

MONNIN had finished second in Group B, but was later penalized a half point for damage in a collision with Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN), who was eliminated from the competition, in his final round robin race. The penalty dropped him to fourth from second, and put him in a match with SPITHILL.

'We had a very special match against Jes,' said MONNIN. 'The tiller broke in my hand. The wood was rotted and it just broke off in my hands. I couldn't tell if we were overlapped with him. I hoped we'd clear but a wave lifted the bow up and we crashed down on his transom. I'm not sure we would've cleared anyway.'

MONNIN took the penalty and his impending match versus SPITHILL in stride. 'It's good to sail him,' MONNIN said. 'We like to sail the hard competition.'

Bad Day For WILLIAMS

WILLIAMS jumped out to a 4-1 record after Wednesday's racing, but yesterday lost both his matches.

'We had a couple of wrong decisions at the wrong time,' said WILLIAMS. 'We missed a layline versus MONNIN and had a bad set in another match. But it's all immaterial. The regatta starts again tomorrow.'

Another quarter-finalist is LAW, who has a long and colourful history on Bermuda. He has been a competitor and commentator in the past, but yesterday he could have been mistaken for a flasher. LAW and crew came shoreside during the squall and used the laundry room to dry their sailing clothes.

'What we failed to realize is that it's right next to the ladies room,' said LAW, 'so there we were standing in our undershorts when the women sailors walked by.'

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore Andrew COX noted, 'You should know were the ladies' room is by now, Chris.'

The quarter-finals are scheduled to begin today at 1000.

King Edward VII Gold Cup Results

Round Robin Standings

Group A

1. James SPITHILL (AUS), Luna Rossa Challenge, 6-1
2. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Alandia Sailing Team, 5-2
3. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Apport.net, 5-2
4. Chris LAW (GBR), The Outlaws, 5-2
5. Brian ANGEL (USA), King Harbor Match Race, 3-4
6. Scott DICKSON (USA), Dickson Racing Team, 2-5
7. Sandy HAYES (USA), 1-6
8. Jon SINGSEN (USA), 1-6

Group B

1. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team, 6-1
2. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Williams Sail Racing, 4-3
3. Blythe WALKER (BER), 4-3
4. Eric MONNIN (SUI), Team Monnin, 4-3, 3.5 points
5. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), 3-4
6. Alvaro MARINHO (POR), 3-4
7. Paula LEWIN (BER), 2-5
8. Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN), Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia, 2-5

For all the news on the King Edward VII Gold Cup CLICK HERE.

World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
(After Stage Three)
Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Ranking
Team Pts
1 Sébastien COL FRA 1 Areva Challenge 29
2 Jes GRAM-HANSEN DEN 16 Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia 27
3 Paolo CIAN ITA 2 Team Viano Mercedes Benz 25
3 Chris DICKSON NZL 4 BMW ORACLE Racing 25
5 Ed BAIRD USA 10 Alinghi 20
5 Jesper BANK DEN 56 United Internet Team Germany 20
5 Magnus HOLMBERG SWE 41 Victory Challenge 20
8 Staffan LINDBERG FIN 11 Alandia Sailing Team 16

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 01/07/2007
Stage 9 Danish Open Copenhagen, Denmark 01/08/2007
Stage 10 St. Moritz Match Race St. Moritz, Switzerland 01/08/2007
Stage 11 ACI Adris Match Race Cup Rovinj, Croatia 01/09/2007
Stage 12 Locman Cup - Elba Island Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy 01/09/2007
Stage 13 Brasil Sailing Cup Angra dos Reis, Brazil 01/10/2007
Stage 14 Bermuda Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda 01/10/2007
Stage 15 Monsoon Cup Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 20 November-2 December 2007

The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. Skippers earn points towards the World Championship at the nine events of the World Tour and the highest scoring skipper at the end of the season is the ISAF Match Racing 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, James SPITHILL was a perfect 5-0 on Thursday:© Gold Cup/Charles ANDERSON
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