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16 September 2005, 10:31 pm
BAIRD And SPITHILL Turn The Screw To Move Towards Final Berth
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ISAF Match Racing World Championship 2005
Calpe, Spain

Ed BAIRD (USA) showed he is the back-to-back reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion for a reason yesterday with six straight wins in Calpe, Spain catapulting him from a lowly seventh place to a 2-0 lead in his semi final match against Paolo CIAN (ITA). James SPITHILL (AUS) also produced a faultless display to win all three of his remaining round robin matches and then go 2-0 up in his semi final against Mathieu Richard (FRA).
Perfect conditions, with a wind of 15-20 knots, made it possible to complete the eight remaining flights of the round robin plus two matches of the semi finals. SPITHILL, CIAN, BAIRD and RICHARD moved on to the semi finals, with the Australian and the American dominating the day. SPITHILL, who topped the round robin leaderboard with eight points, chose to race against RICHARD, in fourth with seven wins. So CIAN, so impressive in the early flights in Calpe, had to face BAIRD.

SPITHILL beat RICHARD in the first match, whilst BAIRD avenged his round robin defeat to CIAN. The next match saw a repetition of the first leaving SPITHILL and defending champion BAIRD, going for a record fourth World title, clear favourites for the final. The best of five matches will be decided tomorrow, as the Committee decided to stop racing at 2000 hours. The first match was raced in 12 knots, while at the second one the wind had increased to 20 knots with squalls of 25 knots.

In the first match of the day's first flight Björn HANSEN (SWE) beat Sebastien COL (FRA) to add a point to his list. Nevertheless this point would be the last one for the Swede, who didn't put on the performance necessary to make it through to the semifinal. COL , who started the day in second place, could not convert a match and ended his Championship with 5 points. Ed BAIRD, reigning World Champion, seems to have emerged from a dull beginning and today has added four victories to his credit. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) closed the flight by getting a point against RICHARD.

At the next match Ed BAIRD strode through again, this time by putting HANSEN out of the game. WILLIAMS got the next point, against COL , whilst Santi LÓPEZ-VÁZQUEZ (ESP) fell against RICHARD. The Spanish finished his first ISAF Match Racing World Championship with just one victory, against SPITHILL. Eugeny NEVGODNIKOV (RUS), who opened the Championship at a blistering pace, ended his Championship today, albeit with a win against Peter GILMOUR (AUS). The flight concluded with Staffan LINDBERG (FIN) taking the first point of the Championship off CIAN.

The next flight started with Philippe PRESTI (FRA) who only had two points from the previous days, adding one more to his score. Then he started a winning strike that left him finishing the Championship with 5 points.

Flight six saw GILMOUR, SPITHILL and PRESTI defeat RICHARD, WILLIAMS and COL respectively, and gave two skippers their entry into the semi-finals. A jubilant match for CIAN and SPITHILL. It was then left to three skippers to battle it out for the final two places - RICHARD, WILLIAMS and BAIRD.

CIAN notched up a point by beating Col. Then it was RICHARD's turn to get another point on the board after handing a beating to PRESTI. The next match had the two heavyweight racers and most experienced skippers at the Championship, the world number one Peter GILMOUR face the defending World Champion Ed BAIRD. Victory went to BAIRD, with his semi-final slot determined.

The final flight of the day was decisive. RICHARD's victory against CIAN gave the young Frenchman who sits in third on the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, his passport to the semifinals.

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 vs. Mathieu RICHARD, 2-0
Ed BAIRD vs. Paolo CIAN, 2-0

Round Robin

Flight 18

Björn HANSEN d. Sebastien COL
Ed BAIRD d. Santi LÓPEZ-VÁZQUEZ
Ian WILLIAMS d. Mathieu RICHARD

Flight 19

Ed BAIRD d. Björn HANSEN
Ian WILLIAMS d. Sebastien COL
Mathieu RICHARD d. Santi LÓPEZ-VÁZQUEZ

Flight 20

Eugeny NEVGODNIKOV d. Peter GILMOUR
Staffan LINDBERG d. Paolo CIAN

Flight 21

Philippe PRESTI d. Eugeny NEVGODNIKOV
Peter GILMOUR d. Staffan LINDBERG
James SPITHILL d. Paolo CIAN

Flight 22

Philippe PRESTI d. Staffan LINDBERG
Paolo CIAN d. Eugeny NEVGODNIKOV
James SPITHILL d. Björn HANSEN

Flight 23

Peter GILMOUR d. Mathieu RICHARD
James SPITHILL d. Ian WILLIAMS
Philippe PRESTI d. Sebastien COL

Flight 24


Paolo CIAN d. Sebastien COL
Mathieu RICHARD d. Philippe PRESTI
Ed BAIRD d. Peter GILMOUR

Flight 25

Mathieu RICHARD d. Paolo CIAN
Staffan LINDBERG d. Ian WILLIAMS
Ed BAIRD d. Philippe PRESTI

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Round Robin Standings

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. Eugeny NEVGODNIKOV (RUS), 5-6
7. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), 5-6
8. Sebastien COL (FRA), 5-6
9. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), 5-6
10. Philippe PRESTI (FRA), 5-6
11. Björn HANSEN (SWE), 4-7
12. Santi LÓPEZ-VÁZQUEZ (ESP), 1-10
Miriam Torres/ISAF. Image: Ed BAIRD has Championship in sight, © Nico Martinez
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