Reigning World Champion Ian WILLIAMS of Great Britain defeated Frenchman Seb COL in the final of the Danish Open to win stage five of the 2008 World Match Racing Tour and extend his lead at the top of this year's World Championship standings.
An estimated 30,000 people have come to see the sights and sounds of Frederikshavn this week as the town played host to the fifth stage of the World Tour. The Danish Open ended on Sunday with Ian WILLIAMS
(GBR) of Team Pindar, the reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion
, taking first place in a best of three final against Sébastien COL
(FRA) of the French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge.
In the deciding match of the semi-final, WILLIAMS trailed Johnie BERNTSSON
(SWE) all the way round the course until the final run. After splitting gybes halfway down the run, when the pair met again BERNTSSON gybed in front of WILLIAMS but the extra speed that WILLIAMS carried enabled him to roll over BERNTSSON and slide around his bow and book his berth in the finals, his second of the year.
With the score in the other semi final at 2-1 COL could hear the final calling, but a feisty Torvar MIRSKY
(AUS) wasn't going to let him have it all his own way. After racking up a penalty early in the race COL needed to produce something special and he extended well throughout the race and opted to take the penalty at the finish line. As COL took the penalty spin MIRSKY was heading right for him and before the penalty was completed MIRSKY had to avoid a collision putting a penalty back onto COL and handing the race to MIRSKY to level the score.
COL bounced back in the deciding match and lead MIRSKY all the way round the course to push MIRSKY to the petit final and elevate himself to a showdown with WILLIAMS in a repeat of the final of the Korea Match Cup. In Korea it was COL that was victorious, winning 3-1. Could COL repeat his performance and take down the Tour leader?
A fully pumped Team Pindar attacked the finals with gusto sailing a faultless series to win 3-0.
COL said, "On the first two races we picked the wrong side, we thought left but the best was right. We made the finals easy for Ian, to many errors were made. We finish the event happy though because when we started we have a new team and we made it to the final, which is very positive."
A jubilant Simon SHAW from Team Pindar said, "Today we were on fire. Ian was sailing the boat really fast. We started where we wanted, we sailed where we wanted, we sailed the way we wanted, we got the shifts right. There was no stopping us."
After the match WILLIAMS was highly praising of his crew, "We got it right today. For the first time this year we really felt like World Champions. We won five straight matches today, which in this field is no mean feat. Mal PARKER worked out well here trimming the jibs and spinnaker. Our speed this week and especially today was amazing. The team were fast, they were smart, we were right on the money. Now we need to carry the momentum in to St Moritz next week to extend our lead at the top of the Tour leaderboard."
In the petit-final the results went to one all after BERNTSSON equalled the score by winning the second race against MIRSKY. BERNTSSON then went on to win the third match which secured him $13,000 of the total $100,000 prize purse.
The prizegiving was held in the late afternoon sunshine in the midst of the thousands of spectators who have enjoyed the racing this week. "It's been a great event and we look forward to doing it all again next year,"
said Erik SØRENSEN, the mayor of Frederikshavn.
1. Ian WILLIAMS
(GBR), Team Pindar $ 32,000
2. Sébastien COL
(FRA), French Match Racing Team/K Challenge $16,000
3. Torvar MIRSKY
(AUS), Mirsky Racing Team $13,000
4. Johnie BERNTSSON
(SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team $10,000
5. Mathieu RICHARD
(FRA), French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit $9,000
6. Peter WIBROE
(DEN), Wibroe Sailing Team $8,000
7. Adam MINOPRIO
(NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing Team $7,000
8. Magnus HOLMBERG
(SWE), Victory Challenge $5,000
9. Jesper RADICH
(DEN), Radich Racing Team
10. Mads EBLER
(DEN), Team AWL Grip
11. Bjorn HANSEN
(SWE), Alandia Sailing Team
12. Andrew ARBUZOV
ISAF Match Racing World Championship microsite - www.sailing.org/matchworlds