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17 September 2005, 07:11 pm
SPITHILL Claims World Title
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ISAF Match Racing World Championship 2005
Calpe, Spain

James SPITHILL (AUS) is the new ISAF Match Racing World Champion, winning in Calpe, Spain thanks to his round robin score after a storm washed out his final with defending champion Ed BAIRD (USA). Earlier in the day the two finalists had completed 3-0 victories in their semi final matches before the rain struck Calpe and brought the Championship to a frustrating conclusion.

Luna Rossa (ITA) helmsman SPITHILL with crew Andy FETHERS (AUS), Joe NEWTON (AUS) and Michele IVALDI (ITA) showed why he was one of the favourites for the title, impressing from day one and beating the early pace setter Paolo CIAN (ITA) yesterday to win the round robin. BAIRD came good in the latter stages of the Championship after a disappointing start, which at one stage saw him on a 1-4 record. However a magnificent run of nine straight victories saw him claim a semi final berth and then whitewash CIAN 3-0 in the last four. SPITHILL also dole out a 3-0 defeat to Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) in his semi final, but with a terrific final lined up, the weather intervened, meaning SPITHILL's win over BAIRD in the round robin was to prove a World title winning victory.

In today's two semi final matches CIAN got the right side of BAIRD at the start and led for most of the race, but an impressive tactical manoeuvre by the American left the Italian behind on the second upwind mark and unable to haul in his rival. SPITHILL completed a comprehensive victory over RICHARD in a problem-free win.

A heavy storm made impossible for the teams to race the finals, after the last match of the semi finals so, as SPITHILL and BAIRD had the same number of points from the semi finals, the highest placed sailor in the round robin took the honours.

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James SPITHILL (second from left)
and his winning crew
© Nico Martinez
The new ISAF Match Racing World Champion commented, 'We were looking forward to the finals as two years ago, in our first World Championship, we got to the finals and BAIRD beat us, so we wanted the revenge, but anyway, we are really happy with the results. We had a really hard beginning, the day we lost against [Peter] GILMOUR [(AUS)] and against the Spanish was a really hard one for us, but the guys did a really good job by overcoming such bad results, that was really satisfying for me.'

CIAN claimed the bronze medal thanks to his superior round robin record to RICHARD. The Italain said, 'We faced the best teams all over the world, so the bronze medal is great for us, but of course, as we were leading the whole time the qualification series sometimes we thought we could win, but still we are very happy.'

For a complete list of all the news from the ISAF Match Racing World Championship CLICK HERE.

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Results

Semi Finals

James SPITHILL d. Mathieu RICHARD, 3-0
Ed BAIRD d. Paolo CIAN, 3-0

Round Robin

1. James SPITHILL (AUS), 8-3
2. Paolo CIAN (ITA), 8-3
3. Ed BAIRD (USA), 7-4
4. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), 7-4
5. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), 6-5
6. Philippe PRESTI (FRA), 5-6
7. Sebastien COL (FRA), 5-6
8. Eugeny NEVGODNIKOV (RUS), 5-6
9. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), 5-6
10.Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), 5-6
11. Björn HANSEN (SWE), 4-7
12. Santi LÓPEZ-VÁZQUEZ (ESP), 1-10

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Final Standings

1. James SPITHILL (AUS)
2. Ed BAIRD (USA)
3. Paolo CIAN (ITA)
4. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA)
5. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR)
6. Philippe PRESTI (FRA)
7. Sebastien COL (FRA)
8. Eugeny NEVGODNIKOV (RUS)
9. Peter GILMOUR (AUS)
10. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN)
11. Björn HANSEN (SWE)
12. Santi LÓPEZ-VÁZQUEZ (ESP)

Miriam Torres/ISAF. Image, ISAF Match Racing World Champion James SPITHILL:© Nico Martinez
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