The Swedish Match Tour’s Danish Open 2002 opened today with what many competitors called “perfect match racing conditions” in Skovshoved Harbor, just north of Copenhagen.
Denmark's Lars Nordjberg, a product of event host, KDY/SKS Match Race Center, finished the first day with a perfect record of 3-0, after completing the afternoon's portion of racing, while Sweden's Mattias Rahm and his Team Stora Enso set the pace among the morning group registering a 4-1, record.
"The breeze was great today," said Nordjberg. "We're sailing against a lot of guys we're familiar with this week so we expect to have a good result. My crew sailed perfectly today and we managed to start really well which is important in these conditions."
Racing in the same group as Nordjberg today was Great Britain's Chris Law and the Outlaws. Law notched a record of 2-1, with his only defeat coming at the hands of Denmark's Jes Gram-Hansen and his Team Victory Lane, who also opened the regatta with a 2-1, record.
Following his victory at the UBS Challenge two weeks ago Law expects a strong showing this week even though he has never been particularly successful at this event or in these boats, the event-supplied DS 37 Match Racers.
"I've never been very successful in these boats, never reached a semifinal either here or at the Swedish Match Cup," admitted Law. "We've always had a good time though, so maybe this year we'll try and have a little bit less fun and post a better result."
In the morning's action, after dropping their first match to local skipper Henrik Jensen, Rahm and his crew of Claes Dahlberg, Mikael Bjorndal, Pontus Meijer and Niklas Carlzon rattled off four wins in a row to finish 4-1 on the day, one point better than fellow Swede Michel Lindquist, Finland's Staffan Lindberg and Jensen, who finished at 3-2.
"It was perfect racing conditions today," said Rahm. "There were 10-15 degree wind shifts which gave us something to work with. I'm very happy with our boat handling and how we moved around the racecourse. We identified the left side of the course as being favorable and made our home there the last three races and that was a big advantage for us."
Rahm, making only his second appearance on the Swedish Match Tour, hopes for a better result than at last month's Swedish Match Cup, when he and his crew fell one point short of advancing to the championship round.
"We have been training a lot in these boats back in Gothenberg (Sweden) in anticipation of this event," said Rahm. "(Michael) Lindquist and (Scott) Walton joined us the last couple of days before we came up here and we were all able to have some very competitive match racing practice. Of course, there is always a fear that you'll come in over-prepared, with a false sense of security, so we're going to take this event one race at a time."
On two wins, and no doubt disappointed with his start to the regatta is local favorite Jesper Radich. Radich and his crew are currently ranked fourth on Swedish Match Tour 2002/3 and want nothing more than a good result this week to not only capture their hometown regatta but also solidify their position in the overall rankings.
Australian Scott Walton, sailing with a local crew, had a difficult morning, finishing 0-5.
Perfect conditions marked the first day of Danish Open 2002. Bright blue skies, warm sun and a northerly wind gusting to 14 knots which laid the race course parallel to the Skovshoved Harbor seawall, right in front of the Danish Open grandstands and pavilion.
The racing format for the Danish Open 2002 begins with a round robin with each of the 12 teams sailing each other once. Following the round robin the four highest scoring teams qualify for the first-to-two-points semifinals. The two teams to advance from the semifinals then advance to the first-to-three-points finals.
The Danish Open 2002 continues at 10am on Friday. For all the latest news and results log on to www.swedishmatchtour.com.
ROUND ROBIN LEADERBOARD
Skipper Wins Losses
1. Lars Nordjberg, Denmark 3 0
2.Mattias Rahm, SWE/Team StoraEnso 4 1
3.Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Victory Lane 2 1
4. Chris Law, GBR/The Outlaws 2 1
5.Henrik Jensen, Denmark 3 2
6.Michael Lindquist, Sweden 3 2
7.Staffan Lindberg, Finland 3 2
8.Jesper Radich, Denmark 2 3
9. Bjorn Hansen, SWE/Team GOL Sailing 1 2
10.Richard Mathieu, France 1 2
11.Gustav Nilsson, Sweden 0 3
12.Scott Walton, Australia 0 5
Round Robin Results
Lindquist def. Walton
Lindberg def. Radich
Jensen def. Hansen
Radich def. Walton
Lindberg def. Jensen
Rahm def. Lindquist
Lindberg def. Walton
Jensen def. Lindquist
Rahm def. Radich
Lindquist def. Lindberg
Rahm def. Walton
Radich def. Jensen
Jensen def. Walton
Rahm def. Lindberg
Lindquist def. Radich
Law def. Hansen
Mathieu def. Gram-Hansen
Nordjberg def. Nilsson
Gram-Hansen def. Law
Nordbjerg def. Mathieu
Hansen def. Nilsson
Law def. Mathieu
Nordjberg def. Hansen
Gram-Hansen def. Nilsson