America’s Cup crewmen Paolo CIAN (ITA) and Andy GREEN (GBR) finished joint first at the end of the opening day’s racing in the 2003 Laureus Regatta yesterday.
They will compete for a place in Tuesday's final along with Thierry PEPONNET (FRA) and Jochen SCHUEMANN (SUI).
Former Olympic champion PEPONNET, twice a competitor in the America's Cup, finished third with SCHUEMANN, a four-times Olympic medallist and a key member for Alinghi in the America's Cup, back in fourth.
"It was a great day's racing,"
said GREEN, who was one of the starting helmsmen of the GBR Challenge for the 2002-03 America's Cup. "What more could you ask for - good weather, good crews and good boats."
The regatta is one of several high-profile sports events being staged in the lead-up to the fourth annual Laureus World Sports Awards, to be held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo on the evening of May 20.
The Laureus Regatta, presented by Mercedes-Benz AMG and the Italian watch company Officine Panerai, is dedicated to Laureus World Sports Academy member Sir Peter Blake, who died tragically in 2001 after being attacked by pirates on a sailing expedition to the Amazon.
The match-racing Laureus Regatta, which is sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation and organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco from Le Meridien Monte Carlo, took place in Nautor's new One Design Class, the Swan 45. The competing skippers moved around the boats, which were hosted by equally celebrated yachtsmen. Celebrities and Laureus Hosts will had the opportunity to take part in the action.
It was a bitter-sweet day, though, for America's Cup veteran Peter ISLER (USA) and his wife JJ. Peter had the satisfaction of comfortably beating his wife, an Olympic silver medallist at Sydney in 2000, in one of the early races but the duo both failed to qualify for the final day of competition.
"When you know someone as well as you do your own wife, it's very difficult to match race because there's so much psychology involved,"
said Peter Isler, an America's Cup winner with Stars and Stripes in 1988. "And I'm sure it will be like that forever more!"
The winning skipper on Tuesday will receive the Panerai Trophy and a sparkling new Mercedes CLK200 Cabriolet, while each owner will receive a specially crafted limited edition Officine Panerai watch.