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5 July 2005, 09:43 am
Semi Finalists Decided
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Swedish Match Cup 2005
Marstrand, Sweden

The ladies started the ISAF Grade 1 Swedish Match Cup in Marstrand yesterday with the first four flights of the round robin. After three more flights this morning, the round robin is over and the semi finalists have been decided.
In this morning's races defending champion Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) continued her form from yesterday with three straight wins to guarantee her place in tomorrow's semi finals. After winning her two opening races Linda RAHM (SWE) faced number one sailor in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, Claire LEROY (FRA) in the last flight. Victory for the French sailor was her third of the day and means BJÖRLING tops the round robin standings with LEROY behind her in second place. 2003 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion, Malin MILLBOURN (SWE), holds the other semi final place, after wins in the first two flights today. The results from this morning are still subject to any protest hearings.

Shortly before the finishing line in the final race yesterday, RAHM overtook defending champion, BJÖRLING with just a few metres remaining in their match.

'It was a tough race against Marie, but very important for us to win,' said RAHM, who qualified for the event after winning the ISAF Grade 4 Swedish Match Cup Qualifier back in May and is racing in Sweden with crew, Suzanne NYBERG, Victoria ENGSTRÖM, Helena BARNE, Anna NORDLANDER and Therese HJALMARSSON.

'We made some really good starts and the team worked very well onboard,' RAHM continued and then went on to admit that mistakes had been made in the match against BJÖRLING but that the mistakes by the other team had been even worse.

RAHM's only loss came in the second flight when she went down to last year's runner up Lotte MELGAARD-PEDERSEN (DEN). After a good start RAHM made a mistake and had to steer out of the way at the first windward mark, a mistake which was quickly seized upon by the Dane.

'We gave the victory away there,' admitted the RAHM, although her victories against number three in the Rankings, Nina BRAESTRUP (DEN), MILLBOURN and BJÖRLING mean she can still be more than satisfied with her performance yesterday.

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Marin MILLBOURN looks
set for a semi final place after
an impressive opening two days
© Dan Ljungsvik
MILLBOURN has returned to GKSS after a stay at KSSS (The Royal Swedish Yacht Club) in Stockholm, and for this event has borrowed the crew of Malin KÄLLSTRÖM (SWE), who for the moment is on maternity leave. This sees her sailing with Karin DAHLBERG, Anna SKARENHED, Lotta HARRYSSON, Nina BARNE and Marie ÖBERG.

'Our expectations are more than fulfilled even if we didn't operate the new boats very well later in the afternoon,' said MILLBOURN, after starting the day with two wins before suffering two losses.

The new boats that MILLBOURN is referring to are the Swedish Match 40's, designed by famous Swede Pelle PETTERSON and built by Swedish Maxi Yachts. They have already been raced in other events on the match racing circuit - in Cascais for the ISAF Grade 1 Portugal Match Cup last year and on Elba Island, Italy for the ISAF Grade 1 Toscana Elba Cup this spring - and they are also used by America's Cup syndicates for training. For the ladies the Swedish Match Cup is their first competition in the new boats.

'They are really good boats but different to sail comparing to the DS 37 that we used to race with before. You are forced into less aggressive sailing now, otherwise it will come back on you,' commented MILLBOURN, who is hoping for more wind in today's races that will see the conclusion of the round robin.

In the match up between the top two in the Rankings, LEROY and BJÖRLING, the Swede came up on top. LEROY also lost to BRAESTRUP in the second flight but wins over MELGAARD-PEDERSEN and MILLBOURN saw her amongst the group of five sailors at 2-2 overnight. After an incredibly competitive first day, Sandy HAYES (USA) is the only competitor who looks to be in danger of falling out of the running after four straight defeats to BJÖRLING, MILLBOURN, MELGAARD-PEDERSEN and BRAESTRUP.

Women's Standings
(Provisional - 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

Joakim Hermansson (As Amended By ISAF). Image, RAHM leads BJÖRLING in their match yesterday:© Dan Ljungsvik
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