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13 August 2005, 12:00 am
BANK Holds Strong On Day Two
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Danish Open 2005
Skovshoved, Denmark

Day two of the ISAF Grade 1 Danish Open was a day of flags and flagging fortunes. Not one of the eight flights of three matches was penalty-free. In all, 20 were imposed while the umpires waved away 17 more with a green flag. With 17 of the 22 flights of the double round robin completed at Skovshoved, the big guns dominate the leaderboard, headed by Olympic gold medallist Jesper BANK (DEN).
Flavio FAVINI (ITA), of Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team (ITA), with no fewer than six penalties must have felt he was awarded with a disproportionate number. He remains bottom of the field, winless after nine races.

Only four from the field of twelve go through to the knock out semi final which gets underway today as soon as the five remaining flights of round robin races have been completed.

BANK of United Internet Team Germany, continues at the head of the field with a 7-1 win loss record. Alinghi's (SUI) Jochen SCHÜMANN (GER), Dean BARKER (NZL) of Emirates Team New Zealand, and Thierry PEPONNET (FRA) of K-Challenge (FRA), are tied for second with 6-2 records.

With their respective three and two Olympic gold medals SCHÜMANN and BANK are the greats in this field. And despite an event with four home nation competitors, BANK cuts an iconic figure in Denmark. His dry humor, delivered deadpan, works as well in Danish as it does in English.

That is why the audience appreciated his races, a ripple of applause running around the Skovshoved venue each time he lead around a mark.

There was good support too for local hero Lars NORDBJERG, so local that his parent's house is just 1 km from the Royal Match Race Centre at Skovshoved. He has sailed on these waters for 20 years and has helped build up the centre since it was opened just over 15 years ago.

'Last year six wins was enough to make the semi finals, but this year I don't think it will be,' he said.

NORDBJERG started strongly with a win over BARKER thanks to the Kiwi incurring a pre-start penalty. 'A simple mistake in the dial-up,' said BARKER, who caught up with a jibe on the first run and attempted to wipe-off the penalty. Instead of losing the flag he got another.

'The umpires said there wasn't room. It happens,' said BARKER philosophically. The TNZ crew were not done. Even after dropping their spinnaker to offload their second penalty, they were only two boatlengths behind at the finish.

There were flags, too, in BARKER's clash with Chris LAW (GBR) and his Team Shosholoza (RSA) crew. First LAW picked up a pre-start penalty and was required to take it immediately after the gun by a red flag from the umpires since he was smothering BARKER to leeward.

However LAW bounced back and in action at the second windward mark, BARKER got a penalty of his own as the pair slowed the game down by turning head to wind. Bearing away, BARKER got round the mark narrowly in front. 'The umpires said we turned too quickly,' said BARKER. 'That was a bit tough. But there was contact so one of us had to get it.'

The travails of the unfortunate FAVINI are too numerous to list. Suffice it to say that in his match with BANK, collecting three penalties meant that he had to offload his second flag on not just one occasion but twice. Though the instances were different, he ended up in exactly the same predicament in his next race against BMW Oracle Racing's (USA) Gavin BRADY (NZL).

'We'll have better days!' said FAVINI afterwards. 'We were not as fast the others - we're 40kg under minimum crew weight - and we were out of phase too often.'

FAVINI acknowledged his mistakes in the BRADY match but the decision in the BANK race wrankled the Italian. 'He was to leeward and behind and our observer signaled 'No overlap,' yet Jesper's spinnaker touched our backstay. The second time was the same situation. We should have been right, not wrong.'

With the winner of the first stage of the competition picking his semi final opponent, today's remaining round robin flights see some intriguing match ups. BANK, SCHÜMANN, BARKER and PEPONNET are all scheduled to meet each other.

Given the closeness at the top, it is quite possible that the 66th and concluding round robin race, between BANK and BARKER, could determine which of them advances as the top qualifier.

Danish Open Standings
(After 17 of 22 scheduled flights)

1. Jesper BANK (DEN), United Internet Team Germany, 7-1
2. Jochen SCHÜMANN (GER), Alinghi (SUI), 6-2
2. Dean BARKER (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand, 6-2
2. Thierry PEPONNET (FRA), K-Challenge (FRA), 6-2
5. Gavin BRADY (NZL), BMW Oracle Racing (USA), 5-3
6. Lars NORDBJERG (DEN), Team Nordbjaerg, 5-4
7. Henrik JENSEN (DEN), Team Jensen, 5-4
8. Chris LAW (GBR), Team Shosholoza (RSA), 4-5
9. Jesper RADICH (DEN), Desafio Espanol, 3-5
10. Philippe PRESTI (FRA), Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA), 3-6
11. Pierre MAS (FRA), China Team, 1-8
12. Flavio FAVINI (ITA), Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team (ITA), 0-9

Sean McNeill (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Gavin BRADY (right) sails towards victory against Henrik JENSEN in flight 14:© Stephanie Lamy
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