OneWorld Challenge skipper Peter Gilmour and his Pizza La match race team and Mascalzone Latino helmsman Paolo Cian and his crew advanced to the semifinals of the Swedish Match Tour's inaugural UBS Challenge yesterday in Newport, RI.
Gilmour and Cian will meet American Ed Baird and Team Musto and Great Britain's Chris Law and the Outlaws, respectively, who qualified out of Group B on Friday.
Gilmour continued his round robin dominance today winning three of four matches to easily advance.
"We sailed pretty solidly all week and today as well," said Gilmour. "Fortunes are won and lost pretty easily, race-to-race in this game. The guys all stayed level and we approached each race as it came.
Looking ahead to his semifinal opponent Baird, Gilmour offered, "Ed's team is racing very well right now, we'll have to do our best to win and won't be able to afford any mistakes at all."
Cian was part of a logjam on the Group A leaderboard to start the day but, after losing his first match of the day to Gilmour, rattled off three consecutive wins to sail on.
"I'm very confident in my crew, they sailed fantastically all week," said Cian. "It was very tight all week and it will be no less difficult tomorrow as all the other teams who have advanced are veterans and match racing masters."
Local skipper Ken Read of Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes Challenge entered the day with his back against the wall. Read won his first match against Jean-Claude Monnin of the Alinghi Team but slipped against Denmark's Jes Gram-Hansen. Read and his crew rallied to win their final two matches, against Luc Pillot of Le Defi Areva and Gilmour, but it was too little too late and Read was blocked out of the semifinals.
"We're a bit disappointed, but the week was awesome overall," said Read's tactician Terry Hutchinson. "When you sail against this type of competition you need to come out firing on all cylinders and today was the only day this week we really did that and to end on a high-note of sorts is gratifying."
Following the conclusion of the round robin the race committee held the sail-offs for places five through eight. Andy Green of the GBR Challenge, who finished fourth in Group B defeated Gram-Hansen, who finished third in Group A while Read, who finished fourth in Group A defeated OneWorld Challenge's James Spithill to determine seeding.
In the sail-offs for fifth and sixth Read then defeated Green to claim the $8,000 share of the prize purse and a bit of satisfaction while Spithill upended Gram-Hansen after the Danish skipper copped a penalty on the final beat.
The winds peaked at 12 knots mid-afternoon before settling into a steady 9 knot southwesterly for the remainder of the day.
The Swedish Match Tour's UBS Challenge concludes on Sunday with the semifinals to be followed by the finals.
Final UBS Challenge Standings
5. Ken Read-Team Dennis Conner-$8000
6. Andy Green-Prada Challenge-$7000
7. James Spithill-OneWorld Challenge-$6000
8. Jes Gram-Hansen-DEN/Team Victory Lane-$5000
Green def. Gram-Hansen
Read def. Spithill
Sail-off for 5th Place
Spithill def. Gram-Hansen
Sail-off for 7th Place
Spithill def. Gram-Hansen
Group A Round Robin Standings
1. Peter Gilmour-USA/Team Pizza La-12-2-12
2. Paolo Cian-Mascalzone Latino-10-4-10
3. Jes Gram-Hansen-DEN/Team Victory Lane-10-4-10
4. Ken Read-Team Dennis Conner-9-5-9
5. Luc Pillot-Le Defi Areva-7-7-7
6. Mason Woodworth-USA-4-10-4
7. Jean-Claude Monnin-Alinghi Team-2-12-2
8. Ben Cesare-USA-2-12-2
Group B Round Robin Standings
1. Chris Law-Great Britain/Team Outlaws-10-4-10
2. Ed Baird-USA/Team Musto-9-5-9
3. James Spithill-OneWorld Challenge-9-5-8
4. Andy Green-GBR Challenge-8-6-7.6
5. Andy Lovell-USA-6-7-6
6. Jesper Radich-Denmark-6-7-6
7. Gavin Brady-Prada Challenge-5-9-5
8. Dawn Riley-K-Challenge-3-11-3
Complete results from yesterday's racing are as follows:
Group A Round Robin 2 Results
Read def. Monnin
Pillot def. Cesare
Gram-Hansen def. Woodworth
Gilmour def. Cian
Gram-Hansen def. Read
Cian def. Cesare
Woodworth def. Monnin
Gilmour def. Pillot
Cesare def. Monnin
Cian def. Woodworth
Gilmour def. Gram-Hansen
Read def. Pillot
Woodworth def. Cesare
Read def. Gilmour
Gram-Hansen def. Pillot
Cian def. Monnin
Group B Round Robin 2 Results
Green def. Lovell
Baird def. Brady
Law def. Radich
Spithill def. Riley