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14 August 2005, 08:08 am
Kiwis On Top
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Danish Open 2005
Skovshoved, Denmark

"Everyone deserves a second chance, eh?" said Gavin BRADY (NZL). The BMW Oracle Racing (USA) helmsman made excellent use of the life line thrown to him by reaching the semi final of the ISAF Grade 1 Danish Open in Skovshoved, Denmark on a countback.
'Everyone deserves a second chance, eh?' said Gavin BRADY (NZL). The BMW Oracle Racing (USA) helmsman made excellent use of the life line thrown to him by reaching the semi final of the ISAF Grade 1 Danish Open in Skovshoved, Denmark on a countback.

Day three dawned for BRADY rooted in mid-field during the round robin and ended with him leading his first to three wins semi final against Jochen SCHÜMANN (GER) of Alinghi (SUI), 2-1.

'I started the day in sixth place, came through to fourth and ended it one race up in the semis, so that's got to be good!' said the skipper in search of his first victory since the ISAF Grade 3 Lindauer New Zealand Match Racing Championship two years ago.

Local sailors Henrik JENSEN and Lars NORDBJERG very nearly squeezed BRADY out of the fourth spot at the end of the round robin, but the Kiwi advanced by virtue of holding the tiebreaker against the two Danes.

The other semi final between Dean BARKER (NZL) of Emirates Team New Zealand, and United Internet Team Germany's Jesper BANK (DEN) is also poised at 2-1 in favour of the Kiwi crew.

For both pairs, their matches grew in intensity. SCHÜMANN and BANK won the first matches, and then BRADY and BARKER won the next two for their leads. The third races proved combative, tight and enthralling. For the crowd at the Royal Match Race Centre in Shovshoved, the action was right under their noses. In fact, the yachts got so close that the crowd had stand up because the low seawall obscured their view.

Throughout the day the umpires found it hard to call a foul when a luff seemed to go beyond head to wind, simply because the westerly breeze flicked all over the place as it blew off the land. That did not stop BANK using the tactic repeatedly however.

BRADY had to attack from astern in his third clash with SCHÜMANN as he trailed narrowly around the first weather mark.

'I wasn't aggressive enough at first because I was waiting for too good an opportunity,' said BRADY. That meant he came hard and fast the second time, throwing a series of six false jibes at SCHÜMANN.

BRADY incurred a penalty when he failed to notice his observer's arm drop momentarily to show the overlap was broken. While the umpires have a good view, ironically the people who most need to look in three directions simultaneously (at their opponent, the breeze and the observer) are the ones least able to: the helmsmen.

BRADY took SCHÜMANN beyond the leeward mark and despite being a penalty down he managed to retain his starboard-tack right of way as the pair beat back to the windward mark. If he had not, BRADY might have been red flagged to take his penalty turn immediately because he headed back up the course with a nice advantage to windward of SCHÜMANN.

BRADY's crew extended on the next two legs to the extent they were able to take their turn on the finish line, win and go up 2-1.

SCHÜMANN won the round robin after scoring strong wins in his last three races against Jesper RADICH (DEN), of Desafío Español, BARKER and Thierry PEPONNET (FRA), of K-Challenge (FRA), to close with a 9-2 record.

This earned the German triple Olympic gold medalist the right to select his semi final opponent and SCHÜMANN went into the huddle with Matt MITCHELL, Peter VAN NIEKERK, Claudio CELON and Yann GUNIOT.

'It took a while and at first we couldn't all agree, but in the end we decided to race the team of Gavin,' said SCHÜMANN.

Also going through tied with an 8-3 record were BARKER and BANK. BANK's losses to BARKER and RADICH dropped him from top of the leaderboard for the first time in three days.

PEPONNET will rue an expensive morning in Shovshoved. The Frenchman's usual match race style is full of guile and subtlety. 'My first priority is to get a good result and avoid mistakes,' said PEPONNET, one of three Olympic gold medalists (including SCHÜMANN and BANK) gracing the field. 'We try and sail in a conservative mode and rely on our reflexes rather than ask too many questions of the umpires.'

Trouble was, the umpires were much too much involved. Against BANK, PEPONNET twice collected two penalties approaching and rounding the windward mark. He then incurred a pre-start penalty against BRADY and was required by a red flag to take it immediately before losing his last race to SCHÜMANN. This dropped PEPONNET out of contention with a 6-5 record.

In the seventh place sail-off, RADICH beat PEPONNET 2-0.

Weather permitting - and the forecast for today is for light winds off Copenhagen - organizers plan to run the sail off for fifth and sixth along with the conclusion of the semi finals before the final is run.

Semi Finals
(First to 3 points)

Gavin BRADY (NZL), BMW Oracle Racing (USA) vs. Jochen SCHÜMANN (GER), Alinghi (SUI), 2-1
Dean BARKER (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand, vs. Jesper BANK (DEN), United Internet Team Germany, 2-1

7th and 8th Place Sail-Off

Jesper RADICH (DEN), Desafío Español, d. Thierry PEPONNET (FRA), K-Challenge (FRA), 2-0

Danish Open Round Robin Standings
(After 22 scheduled flights)

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

Sean McNeill (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Jesper BANK, Dean BARKER and Gavin BRADY practice downwind sailing in Skovshoved:© Stephanie Lamy
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