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15 September 2005, 08:55 pm
CIAN Unbeatable Whilst GILMOUR And BAIRD Struggle
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ISAF Match Racing World Championship 2005
Calpe, Spain

Another day of light breeze at the ISAF Match Racing World Championship in Calpe, Spain did nothing to take the wind out of Paolo CIAN's (ITA) sails, as the Italian scored two more victories to maintain his lead. James SPITHILL (AUS) and Sébastian COL (FRA) also won all their matches yesterday, whilst the two three-time World Champions in the field, Ed BAIRD (USA) and Peter GILMOUR (AUS) both went down to another two defeats.
With seven to eight knots winds greeting the competitors at the beginning of the first flight, winning the start proved crucial yesterday, with the across the line generally going on to control the race. By the day's third flight the wind had dropped to four knots sending the Race Committee searching for the breeze all around the Bay of Calpe until 1800 hours local time. Eventually the fourth flight of the day, flight 16 of the round robin, got underway just a stones throw from the beach.

The first match began with overall leader CIAN chalking up another point, Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) this time on the receiving end. HANSEN could not do anything against the impeccable Italian team, who are distinguishing themselves with their error-free racing. Although the start was extremely close, CIAN chose the left side and at the first cross it was the Italian that held the advantage and he went on to make it pay. In the following match, Santiago LOPEZ-VAZQUEZ (ESP) went down to his eighth defeat courtesy of Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) who left the Spaniard standing at the start and never looked back. Philippe PRESTI and number one in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings GILMOUR went head to head in the next match. The Frenchman was dealt a penalty during a frenetic pre-start, and GILMOUR proceeded to sail away from him. Some confusion on the Race Committee boat regarding a change mark led to PRESTI lodging a Red Flag protest but there was no redress forthcoming.

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It was another long day for
Peter GILMOUR as the
Australian suffered another
two defeats in Calpe
© Nico Martinez

PRESTI and CIAN started the second flight of the day. The impressive Italian again won the start, immediately rolling into a covering tack to dominated the race and win by a comfortable margin. In the next match, SPITHILL took on the reigning World Champion BAIRD, also the man who defeated him in the World final two years ago on Lake Garda, Italy. The Australian started well and sailed well to build a good lead on the first leg. There was nothing the American could do to avoid the young Australian adding his third point to the score card. In the following match, WILLIAMS gave a lesson in magisterial match racing at the pre-start to GILMOUR, who is more accustomed to handing them out rather than receiving them. The 28 year old British sailor cleanly beat the experienced Australian, who has been having such a good season this year but is finding it tough going in Calpe.

The following two matches saw World number four Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) increasing GILMOUR's woes by dealing out another defeat to the Australian. Then it was the turn of BAIRD to sample the bitter taste of yet another defeat, leaving him on a 1-4 record as COL scored a win in his opening match of the day.

After the long postponement due to the light winds, SPITHILL scored his second win of the day over Wednesday's star performer Eugeniy NEUGODNIKOV (RUS). COL completed an excellent day, which has seen him rise to second on the leaderboard, by getting the better of Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), whilst BAIRD found some form to begin his fight back by defeating NEUGODNIKOV.

SPITHILL rounded out an impressive display on the water by beating PRESTI in the first match of the final flight to finish 3-0 for the day and 5-3 for the Championship, good enough for third place overall. The /

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Ed BAIRD has been having a tough time
in Calpe with Eugeniy NEUGODNIKOV
dealing out the first of four straight
defeats for the defending champion
© Nico Martinez
pressure was on BAIRD to produce against WILLIAMS, and the World Champion proved he is not out of the reckoning yet by taking his second successive win. RICHARD then rounded out the day by defeating HANSEN.

Commenting on the day's racing CIAN explained, 'Today we sailed just two races, with very light breeze. We won the first race against HANSEN and then the second one against Phillipe PRESTI, the second helmsman of Luna Rossa, we beat them from the start and kept the position the whole race, so we are very happy for that. We have six wins out of six races, so we are pleased with the results. We are sailing better than we thought in the beginning. We really have a good feeling with the boat and with the conditions here in Calpe. We won a Grade 1 event in Italy in July with those boats, the Tom 28, so we are very confident. We are just in the round robin, so it's still early to talk about finals or semi finals.'

Eight flights remain before the round robin will be complete and behind CIAN, things are still looking very tight. Nine of the twelve competitors are within the three to five win bracket and there looks set to be some crunch matches today. CIAN faces both COL and SPITHILL, fourth and fifth place WILLIAMS and RICHARD go head to head in a British French battle and BAIRD goes up against GILMOUR in a match which could well cost one of them a place in the knock out stages.

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

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Results

Round Robin

Flight 13

Paolo CIAN d. Bjorn HANSEN
Ian WILLIAMS d. Santiago LOPEZ-VAZQUEZ
Peter GILMOUR d. Philippe PRESTI

Flight 14

Paolo CIAN d. Philippe PRESTI
James SPITHILL d. Ed BAIRD
Ian WILLIAMS d. Peter GILMOUR

Flight 15

Mathieu RICHARD d. Peter GILMOUR
Sébastian COL d. Ed BAIRD

Flight 16

James SPITHILL d. Eugeniy NEUGODNIKOV
Sébastian COL d. Staffan LINDBERG
Ed BAIRD d. Mathieu RICHARD

Flight 17

James SPITHILL d. Philippe PRESTI
Ed BAIRD d. Ian WILLIAMS
Mathieu RICHARD d. Bjorn HANSEN

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Standings

1. Paolo CIAN (ITA), 6-0
2. Sébastian COL (FRA), 5-2
3. James SPITHILL (AUS), 5-3
4. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), 4-2
4. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), 4-2
6. Eugeniy NEUGODNIKOV (RUS), 4-4
7. Ed BAIRD (USA), 3-4
7. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), 3-4
7. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), 3-4
10. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), 3-5
11. Philippe PRESTI (FRA), 2-3
12. Santiago LOPEZ-VAZQUEZ (ESP), 1-8

Miriam Torres/ISAF. Image, Day three saw more heroics from Paolo CIAN:© Nico Martinez
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