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6 July 2005, 10:30 am
HOLMBERG Earns Second Swimming Title
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Swedish Match Cup 2005
Marstrand, Sweden

The Open Regatta at the ISAF Grade 1 Swedish Match Cup got underway in Marstrand yesterday with group A completing four flights. Although there was not a lot of racing, drama ruled the day and for the second year in a row Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), of America's Cup champion Alinghi (SUI), went swimming during one of his matches.
Two skippers, number one in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, Peter GILMOUR (AUS) and number six, Philippe PRESTI (FRA), lost points after they were penalized by the international jury for causing damage.

The extra curricular activities jumbled the standings at the end of the day. Two skippers, Jesper RADICH (DEN) and HOLMBERG each have three points on 3-1 records.

Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), of Victory Challenge (SWE), won two of three races and has two points. His fourth match against Staffan LINDBERG (FIN) was postponed until tomorrow because of a mainsail problem.

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Bertrand PACÉ and Philippe
PRESTI at the pre-start
© Sean McNeill/
Swedish Match Tour
Bertrand PACÉ (FRA), of BMW Oracle Racing (USA), has two points on a 2-2 record. PRESTI went 3-1, but has two points after being docked one point for his collision with Peter HOLMBERG, the unofficial swimming champion of the Swedish Match Cup.

GILMOUR finished the day 2-2, but has 1.5 points after being docked a half point for a pre-start collision with Lars NORDBJERG (DEN). NORDBJERG and LINDBERG are both yet to get off the mark after failing to win a race.

The winds for the day started from the southeast but quickly shifted to the south and then west/southwest after the crews took to the water around 1230 hours local time. The winds were light and streaky for the first few flights, but a nice twelve knot breeze kicked in for the final flight, and the fun started.

Peter HOLMBERG and PRESTI, of Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge, were the second match in the flight. They had a spirited pre-start and with about five seconds to the start gun HOLMBERG was to leeward of PRESTI at the pin end.

PRESTI thought he could clear HOLMBERG's transom and turned his steering wheel to leeward. The bow turned down, but right into the starboard quarter of HOLMBERG's boat. PRESTI hit so hard that HOLMBERG did a cartwheel out of the boat and into the water.

'I thought, 'Not again',' said Rodney ARDERN, HOLMBERG's main trimmer. ARDERN was not crewing for HOLMBERG last year when he went swimming after a collision with Russell COUTTS. But he had heard about the incident.

'I was going to shut him out,' said HOLMBERG. 'With about five to go I put the bow down. Then I heard the crew yelling, 'No way'. He had pace on. It was a big impact. It was a high risk move and he came up short.'

The impact damaged the starboard quarter of HOLMBERG's boat, opening the hull-to-deck joint. The jury penalized PRESTI one point because the damage was classified as C level damage, which is damage in excess of $1,000.

'The bows are very straight on these boats,' said PRESTI of the Swedish Match 40. 'It's difficult to know where it is in relation to the stern.'

'The boats spin well, they carry momentum,' said ARDERN. 'Because they carry momentum it's tough to judge the spin.'

GILMOUR won his match against NORDBJERG, but was penalized for hitting the Dane in the pre-start. GILMOUR, to leeward, seemed to luff NORDBJERG but hit his leeward quarter. The jury classified the damage as B level, meaning less than $1,000, but which requires the deduction of a half point.

The sailors in Marstrand looking for a result to secure them a top eleven spot in the next release of the Rankings on 13 July, and therefore an invite to the ISAF Match Racing World Championship being held in Calpe, Spain from 12-17 September had a mixed day. At the end of the round robin the top skipper in the group will progress straight to the quarter finals with the next six skippers going on to a second knock out round, whilst the bottom skipper in the group will be eliminated. At the moment LINDBERG, at number nine in the world, and NORDBJERG at number 17, look set for a battle to avoid early elimination with their match in today's final flight looking like it could prove to be the decider. Elsewhere PRESTI, at number six in the Rankings, is going well penalty aside, and world number 16, PACÉ has had a solid start.

Group A racing is scheduled to resume this morning at 1130. Group B will race their round robin on Thursday.

As reported yesterday, the women's round robin came to a conclusion on Tuesday morning, with the four semi finalist already decided before the final flight. Defending champion, Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) will line up with two country women, Linda RAHM (SWE) and 2003 World Champion Malin MILLBOURN (SWE) against the leader of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, Claire LEROY (FRA). The semi finals are due to be sailed this afternoon with the first skippers to three points moving on to Saturday's final.

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Marie BJÖRLING came out on
top of yesterday's round robin
© Dan Ljungsvik
BJÖRLING and her Team Schenker won the round robin with six victories and just one loss to RAHM and consequently can choose their opponent in the semi final.

'We are performing better and better every day and it's going to be great with the semifinals, but we haven't decided yet what team to meet in the semi,' said Team Schenker tactician Anna HOLMDAHL.

BJÖRLING and her crew -HOLMDAHL, Elisabeth NILSSON, Jenny AXHEDE, Anna-Karin ÖJERSKOG and Annika CARLUNGER - opened with victories over Denmark's Lotte MELGAARD-PEDERSEN and Nina BRAESTRUP. In the final race against her club companion MILLBOURN, the competition was much tighter.

At the start MILLBOURN was forced to bring the sails down to make an immediate repair of the inner hold of the boom by the mast, 'There was a crack in the rig just a minute before we were about to sail towards start for the opening of the pre-start against Marie,' said MILLBOURN. 'The girls judged that we would have to take the sails down to repair whatever was wrong, so we had two penalties for not beginning the pre-start in time.'

'We got the sails up again and started on time, but then we had to take one of the penalties immediately by doing a 360 degrees turn with the boat. So, we ended up a long way behind Marie from the start.'

There were problems at the front as well including a large square metre hole in the spinnaker from the first setting. 'We sailed on but we were handling the sail that was left over on the spinnaker very carefully so as not to break it totally in the wind,' said HOLMDAHL.

On the second upwind MILLBOURN captured some windshifts, caught up with BJÖRLING and passed her by. At the start of the last downwind leg, MILLBOURN had a one and a half boat lengths lead. However they were unable to extend their lead sufficiently to take their second penalty. 'We tried to do it shortly before the finishing line, but we didn't have enough lead so Marie could sail by and cross the finishing line first,' said MILLBOURN.

Women's Standings
(After 7 flights)

1. Marie BJÖRLING (SWE), 6-1
2. Claire LEROY (FRA), 5-2
3. Linda RAHM (SWE), 5-2
4. Malin MILLBOURN (SWE), 4-3
6. Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA), 2-5
7. Nina BRAESTRUP (DEN), 2-5
8. Sandy HAYES (USA), 1-6

Open Standings

Group A
(After 4 of 7 scheduled flights)

1. Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Alinghi (SUI), 3-1
1. Jesper RADICH (DEN), Desafío Español (ESP), 3-1
3. Philippe PRESTI (FRA), Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA), 3-1, 2 points**
4. Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge (SWE), 2-1
5. Bertrand PACÉ (FRA), BMW Oracle Racing (USA), 2-2
6. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), Pizza-La Sailing Team (AUS), 2-2, 1.5 points*
7. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), 0-3
8. Lars NORDBJERG (DEN), 0-4

Group B

Ed BAIRD (USA), Alinghi (SUI)
Russell COUTTS (NZL), Coutts Racing
Dean BARKER (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand
Kelvin HARRAP (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand
Iain PERCY (GBR), +39 Challenge (ITA)

Sean McNeill/Joakim Hermansson (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Peter HOLMBERG's head bobs out the water as he swims back to his crew:© Sean McNeill/
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