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29 October 2006, 01:30 pm
BAIRD Up And Brits Tied In Semis
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Allianz Cup 2006
San Francisco, USA

America's veteran match racer Ed BAIRD (USA) is up 2-0 and Britain's wunderkinds Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Ben AINSLIE (GBR) are tied 1-1 in the semi-finals of the ISAF Grade WC Allianz Cup Presented by Oracle, stage 5 of the 2005-06 World Match Racing Tour held in San Francisco, USA.
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BAIRD leads Jesper BANK (DEN) 2-0 after staging a come from behind victory in their first race and then dominating the second race for the lead.

'We got an opportunity at the first windward mark,' BAIRD said of his first race. 'He dialed us down hard on starboard. It was close whether we could cross behind him but were able to.'

Once around the windward mark, BAIRD's crew snapped off a manoeuvre quicker than BANK's.

'We had a much better jibe and that was the race,' said BAIRD.

Brits Tied

In the other half of the semi-final bracket 29 year old Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), the Match Racing World Championship points leader, is tied with triple Olympic medallist AINSLIE, also 29.

WILLIAMS won the first race after unloading a penalty. AINSLIE won the second when he nipped WILLIAMS at the finish of a 5 minute run that saw the lead change hands three times.

'We were sailing nicely and fast,' said WILLIAMS. 'But we made a mistake and gave him a get out of jail card. We had two opportunities to jump on him, but didn't take advantage.'

Conditions Pick Up For Semis

The semi-finals were suspended late this evening with the setting sun. The wind shifted to the west for the semi-final races and blew around 10 knots. The conditions were much more suitable for racing than the light northerlies that the quarter-finals were sailed in and have dominated the regatta, but there were still pratfalls on the racecourse.

'The breeze was more solid at the end,' said WILLIAMS. 'We were sailing up and down with the current but it brings new challenges, like time and distance in the pre-start.'

BAIRDnoticed differences in the ebb current from the shore side to the middle of the bay.

'It was a little softer on the shore, we were surprised by that,' said BAIRD. 'The beats were short so you had to start to the right.'

Quarter-Final Action

The quarter-finals were held earlier in the day. BAIRD defeated Chris DICKSON (NZL)a, skipper and CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing, 3-1. BANK needed five races to defeat Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), BAIRD's team mate at Alinghi.

WILLIAMS beat old nemesis and reigning World Champion Peter GILMOUR (AUS), 3-1, to knock a chip off his shoulder. WILLIAMS has beaten GILMOUR plenty in round robin racing on the tour, but has lost to him in three knockout rounds.

'It felt good to get that one,' said WILLIAMS. 'He seems to be our nemesis in final rounds. For the tour standings it's a big deal.'

AINSLIE defeated world number two Paolo CIAN (ITA) in the last quarter-final match, also by 3-1. AINSLIE won the first two, dropped the third and then won the fourth. CIAN aided AINSLIE by getting a penalty and being over the start line early. Despite all that CIAN led towards the finish line, but saddled with the penalty AINSLIE was able to steam past for the win.

Fifth To Eight Decided

In racing for fifth through eighth places on Saturday evening, CIAN defeated DICKSON and then GILMOUR to place fifth and GILMOUR sixth. DICKSON placed seventh when he passed HOLMBERG on the final run to the finish, relegating HOLMBERG to eighth.

Racing is scheduled to resume tomorrow morning at 10:30 local time and will be broadcast live on the Internet at www.Sail.tv. The webcast is scheduled to begin at 18:30 UTC, weather permitting.

Allianz Cup Results

Semi-Finals
(First to 3 points wins)

Ed BAIRD (USA) vs. Jesper BANK (DEN), 2-0
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) vs. Ben AINSLIE (GBR), 1-1

Quarter-Finals

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) d. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), 3-1
Ben AINSLIE (GBR) d. Paolo CIAN (ITA), 3-1
Jesper BANK (DEN) d. Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), 3-2
Ed BAIRD (USA) d. Chris DICKSON (NZL), 3-1

Round Robin Standings

Group A
(After 7 of 7 flights)

1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar, 5-2
2. Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Alinghi, 5-2
3. Ben AINSLIE (GBR), Emirates Team New Zealand, 5-2
4. Chris DICKSON (NZL), BMW ORACLE Racing, 4-3
5. Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team, 4-3
6. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Alandia Sailing Team, 2-5
7. Chris PERKINS (USA), Team St Francis Yacht Club, 2-5
8. Björn HANSEN (SWE), Team Apport.net, 1-6

Group B
(After 7 of 7 flights)

1. Ed BAIRD (USA), Alinghi, 6-1
2. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Viano Mercedes Benz - Shosholoza, 6-1
3. Jesper BANK (DEN), United Internet Team Germany, 5-2
4. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), PST, 4-3
5. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team, 2-5
6. Larry ELLISON (USA), BMW ORACLE Racing, 2-5
7. Brian ANGEL (USA), King Harbour Match Race, 2-5
8. Cameron DUNN (NZL), Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia, 1-6

World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
(After Stage 4 of 15)
Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Ranking
Team Pts
1 Ian WILLIAMS GBR 4 Williams Sail Racing 35
2 Mathieu RICHARD FRA 6 Saba Sailing Team 30
3

Sébastien COL

FRA 1 Areva Challenge 29
4 Jes GRAM-HANSEN DEN 24 Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia 27
5 Paolo CIAN ITA 2 Team Viano Mercedes Benz 25
5 Chris DICKSON NZL 5 BMW ORACLE Racing 25
7 Staffan LINDBERG FIN 9 Alandia Sailing Team 16
8 Ed BAIRD USA 22 Alinghi 20
8 Jesper BANK DEN 57 United Internet Team Germany 20
8 Magnus HOLMBERG SWE 42 Victory Challenge 20

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. 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, Ed BAIRD (left) gets close aboard Chris DICKSON in a pre-start during their quarter-final match:© Allianz Cup/Bob GRIESER
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