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10 August 2005, 03:01 pm
Racing Starts Tomorrow
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Danish Open 2005
Skovshoved, Denmark

Representatives from ten America's Cup teams are preparing in Skovshoved, Denmark for the beginning of the ISAF Grade 1 Danish Open. Olympic gold medallist Jesper BANK (DEN) leads the home charge as racing begins in Denmark tomorrow.
Hosted by the Royal Match Race Center in Skovshoved, about 20 minutes north of Copenhagen, the ninth annual Danish Open features twelve teams competing in DS 37s. Racing begins tomorrow and continues through until the final, which is scheduled for Sunday.

The field of twelve crews is headlined by America's Cup class helmsmen such as Jesper BANK (GER) of United Internet Team Germany, Dean BARKER (NZL) of Emirates Team New Zealand, Gavin BRADY (NZL) from BMW Oracle Racing (USA), Jesper RADICH (DEN) of Desafío Español and Alinghi's (SUI) Jochen SCHÜMANN (GER).

Overall the field includes ten America's Cup teams, a qualifier and wild card entry, but neither of the two recent winners of the Danish Open.

Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) and Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN) have exclusively held the winner's circle in Denmark since 2000. HOLMBERG has won three times in 2000, 2001 and 2003 and GRAM-HANSEN twice in 2002 and 2004, but neither is entered this year.

HOLMBERG is busy preparing his Victory Challenge (SWE) syndicate for an America's Cup regatta in Malmö, Sweden, in two weeks. GRAM-HANSEN and tactician Rasmus KOSTNER recently signed with Italy's Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team (ITA). They do not start with the team until next month, but will only be spectators in Denmark.

This year sees an increased level of prize money as part of a concerted effort from event organizers to raise the standard of the event. 'We've made a strategic decision to expand and grow the event,' said Morten LORENZEN, a co-founder of the event who this year resumed his previous role of organizer after a three year absence.

LORENZEN said the increased prize money is the most notable of their changes, but efforts behind the scenes have focused on landing new sponsors. This year the Danish Open has six primary sponsors and has also received support from BMW.

LORENZEN's biggest victory on the sponsor front was landing Danske Bank, Denmark's largest bank and a sponsor he has been trying to attract for a number of years.

'The realization process is to get them to understand the bigger scheme,' said LORENZEN. That scheme includes giving them title sponsorship of a boat and benefits such as corporate outings.

LORENZEN was also pleased that the Danish Open has gained access to Denmark's main television broadcaster, which has two networks that reach 80 to 85 percent of the viewing public in Denmark.

On the water it is difficult to pick a favourite for the event. France's Philippe PRESTI is the highest placed sailors in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings at number five and will be looking to go one better than the second place he secured at the ISAF Grade ACI H1 Match Race Cup earlier in the year. BANK narrowly missed out on victory at the ISAF Grade 1 Match Race Germany earlier in the year when he lost to Peter GILMOUR (AUS) in the final. Jesper RADICH (DEN) is leading the Desafío Español team whilst fellow Dane, Henrik JENSEN came through the qualifying round and Lars NORDBJERG (DEN) was the wildcard entry.

Chris LAW (GBR) is one of the most experienced match racers on the circuit and will have members of South Africa's America's Cup syndicate Team Shosholoza crewing for him. In BRADY and BARKER, New Zealand presents a formidable lineup. BARKER has showed the best form of the twelve competitors this year, winning the ISAF Grade 1 Congressional Cup and finishing third at the recent ISAF Grade 1 Swedish Match Cup.

Danish Open Entrants
(America's Cup team - ISAF World Match Race Ranking)

  • Philippe PRESTI (FRA), Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA) - 5
  • Dean BARKER (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand - 18
  • Lars NORDBJERG (DEN) - 19
  • Jesper BANK (DEN), United Internet Germany - 56
  • Gavin BRADY (NZL), BMW Oracle Racing (USA) - 76
  • Henrik JENSEN (DEN), Team Jensen - 80
  • Jesper RADICH (DEN), Desafío Español - 85
  • Jochen SCHÜMANN (GER), Team Alinghi (SUI) - 101
  • Chris LAW (GBR), The Outlaws - 107
  • Flavio FAVINI (ITA), Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team (ITA) - 192
  • Thierry PEPONNET (FRA), K-Challenge (FRA) - 585
  • Pierre MAS (FRA), China Team - 1241
Sean McNeill (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Philippe PRESTI and Chris LAW in their match for seventh and eighth last year:© Per Heegaard
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