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30 August 2008, 04:00 am
WILLIAMS Maintains Control At Danish Open
Ian Williams and Andrey Arbuzov battle it out off the coast of Frederikshavn
Ian Williams and Andrey Arbuzov battle it out off the coast of Frederikshavn

Danish Open 2008
Frederikshavn, Denmark

Reigning World Champion Ian WILLIAMS continues to lead the way at the Danish Open, where there are still eight teams with a chance to make the semi-final cut on stage 5 of the World Match Racing Tour.
The second day of racing at the Danish Open saw true champagne sailing conditions with wind ranging between 10 to 20 knots and clear blue skies. Race officials took advantage of the conditions and completed 10 flights in the day's schedule. With a northerly breeze that made life very difficult for the sailors no match was a done deal right until the end. The big question of the day is 'will seven wins be enough to make the cut?'

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) ended the day 7-3. "Seven wins should be enough to get into the countback but I'm not sure that it will be good enough for us to get through. We'll need to go out there and disappoint the locals tomorrow and beat Peter WIBROE," said an optimistic WILLIAMS.

Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) was pleased with his win loss record of 6-2 for the day. "We had a good day and sailed better and better every race. It was not an easy morning but we kept improving. The tactics today were great as it was very tricky. The wind was shifty and the pressure was up and down a lot. We didn't focus so much on the opponent; we looked for the wind instead. It was nice to beat Ian WILLIAMS. We got a good shift and pressure and managed to sail away from him. The round is not finished yet so we will be happy to make the final four," said a contented RICHARD.

Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) finished the day on 5-3 and considering two of his crew were ill on Thursday night he felt the day went well. "With two of the guys a bit crook today was a bit of a struggle. We felt pretty comfy with the conditions today with the wind around 10-12. Yesterday's bigger breeze was a bit of a handful. It was hard today no one gets it right all the time and you had to follow your own race. It was a bit like hurdling where you were jumping between patches of breeze and trying to stay ahead. We had a good win against Jesper RADICH. It was a big moment, a do or die race if you like.

"We got the first shift off the line and got ahead but up the second beat we got an over rider on the jib sheet that we had to cut out and lost some time. Jesper caught up and so we had to dial him down pretty hard, we were right on the edge of a penalty. We managed to keep the right but he rounded the mark on our hip and after a bad gybe he got the march on us. We just kept the overlap and carted him off to the bottom corner of the course, just missing the obstruction line along the shore. We had to take him a long."


Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) ended the day 6-4. "It's all really close and definitely too hard to call. We have a few new guys in the team this week and Staffan RAHM hasn't sailed in a year so we are trying to pull it all together, I also need to try and improve my starts," said a relaxed HOLMBERG, "We had a close match with Johnie BERNTSSON. He got a penalty for hitting the start mark but edged ahead and led us around the course. It was really close down the last run he tried to hook us to offload the penalty but we managed to soak below him and get to the line leaving him still carrying the penalty."

Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) finished 4-4 which leaves him with plenty to do. "We mucked up a few today including one against Ian WILLIAMS when he passed us upwind. It was very shifty and harder to read today than yesterday, we sailed a lot more defensively" said MINOPRIO. "We had a good race against Peter WIBROE. We were ahead but he caught a good shift and passed us. We fought hard downwind and he luffed and hit us and a result got his second penalty of the match which gave us the lead along with the win. It was a bit of a scramble though."

Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE) also finished 4-4 so Saturday is crunch time for the Swede. "I think it is still open, nobody has straight wins but we must win all three tomorrow if we are to make the cut. It would have been nice to end today 5-3 but we are where we are. We have a new crew combination but they are working very well. We like the conditions and it has been exciting racing. It is vital to work the pressure and if you are ahead to push your opponent away from the breeze. We focused on trying to sail our own race and keep a loose cover when ahead. We are also going to try not to involve the umpires as we have had some tight manoeuvres that have resulted in decisions going against us." said BERNTSSON.

Local hope Peter WIBROE (DEN) currently has six wins and knows that his match with WILLIAMS tomorrow is critical. Trimmer Philpe GUHL said, "We need to get better starts. When we were behind we gained on the other team all the way around and had really close finishes with Torvar MIRSKY and Sebastien COL. We are really happy with our speed and I think if we can get an even start with Ian tomorrow we can win. We feel great and are looking forward to it."

With four flights left to run there are still eight teams with a chance to make the cut but even those that can't qualify for the semi-finals will be pushing hard until the end and have every chance of ruining someone's day.

Standings After Day 2

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar 7-3
Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge 6-4
Peter WIBROE (DEN), Wibroe Sailing Team 6-4
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit 6-2
Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team 5-3
Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K Challenge 5-3
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing 4-4
Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team 4-4
Jesper RADICH (DEN), Radich Racing Team 4-6
Mads EBLER (DEN), Team AWL Grip 3-5
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team 2-7
Andrew ARBUZOV (RUS), 2-8

Follow the racing live on the internet and review all the action from the event with TracTrac - http://www.tractrac.dk

ISAF Match Racing World Championship microsite - www.sailing.org/matchworlds

Yvonne Reid
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