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30 August 2003, 06:45 pm
Perfect conditions for the final showdown
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Ed Baird celebrates©Guido Cantini

2003 ISAF Match Racing World Championship
Riva del Garda

Ed Baird won today the ISAF Match Racing World Championship beating James Spithill 3-1.
With his crew composed of Thomas BURNHAM, John ZISKIND and Andy Horton, BAIRD defeated by 3-1 Australian skipper James SPITHILL.

Semi Finals Report

Spithill was able to score 3 consecutive wins against French skipper Mathieu RICHARD, while American Ed BAIRD was able to beat by three races to two the defending world champion from Poland, Karol JABLONSKI.

All the matches were very close, sailed in the typical morning breeze of Lake Garda from the north known as "peler".

The second match between Baird and Jablonski provided a good show, as Baird crossed the starting line late but was able to recover, gaining on his opponent and overtaking him in the last downwind run.

Match two between Spithill and Richard provided some good action, too, when Richard, in the lead, got a penalty in a very close mark rounding.

In the final match between Baird and Jablonski, tied 2-2, Baird chose and won the right at the start and was able to keep the lead successfully throughout the match, winning the crucial point.

The finals will be sailed this afternoon once the southerly breeze "ora" kicks in. The first skipper to score 3 points will gain the title of match racing world champion.
Mathieu Richard and Karol Jablonski will compete in the petit-final for third and fourth placement. The first skipper to score 2 points wins the petit-final.

At the end of the day the ten best placed skippers will sail the S. Pellegrino fleet race.

SEMIFINALS

FLIGHT 1
Jablonski def. Baird
Spithill def. Richard

FLIGHT 2
Baird def. Jablonski
Spithill def. Richard

FLIGHT 3
Baird def. Jablonski
Spithill def. Richard

FLIGHT 4
Jablonski def. Baird

FLIGHT 5
Baird def. Jablonski

Finals Report

The finals were sailed this afternoon with the typical southerly breeze of lake Garda known as ³ora², blowing at 15-20 knots.

Spithill won the first race, overtaking Baird in the last downwind run.

In the second match Baird and Spithill arrived at the first windward mark together, but Baird was able to round ahead and keep the lead throughout the race.

In match three the umpires inflicted a penalty with red flag to Spithill, who therefore had to complete the turn immediately. Baird thus gained his second win.

In the fourth and crucial match, it was Baird¹s turn to get a penalty in the pre-start. However, the American skipper was able to take the lead and slowly extend it throughout the race. Right on the finish, Baird completed the penalty turn and won his third race by a fraction, ahead of James Spithill. With his score of 3-1 Baird wins the ISAF Match Racing World Championship.

At the end of the finals, Baird said: "Fantastic! What a great day. My crew worked really hard throughout the year to reach this level and help me, too, get to this point. This week everything we trained for worked really well.
Today's matches were really tough. In race one we were ahead but in the last run downwind we got too close in the spectator fleet and we ended up in their wind shadow. Then we won the two following matches and got a penalty in the last pre-start. However, we were able to round the first mark ahead and this enabled us to keep the lead and win the race. Today was just the kind of day when it is important to round the first mark in front, as you were then able to extend the lead. We will have a big party tonight and for
the future I hope to have as much fun as I had this week!".


The petit final was won by Karol JABLONSKI, who defeated 2-1 French skipper Mathieu RICHARD. At the end of the day the ten best placed skippers competed in the S. Pellegrino fleet race. Italian Paolo Cian won the race, followed by Russell COUTTS and Karol JABLONSKI.

FINAL STANDINGS

Ed Baird, USA World Champion
James Spithill, Australia Silver medal
Karol Jablonski, Poland Bronze medal
Mathieu Richard, France 4th
Jesper Radich, Denmark 5th
Russell Coutts, New Zealand 6th
Bjorn Hansen, Sweden 7th
Jes Gram-Hansen, Denmark 8th
Paolo Cian, Italy 9th
Staffan Lindberg, Finland 10th
Ian Williams 11th
Mikael Lindqvist 12th

RESULTS OF EACH FLIGHT SAILED TODAY FINALS

FLIGHT 1
Spithill def. Bair
FLIGHT 2
Baird def. Spithill
FLIGHT 3
Baird def. Spithill
FLIGHT 4
Baird def. Spithill

RESULTS OF EACH FLIGHT SAILED TODAY PETIT FINAL

FLIGHT 1
Jablonski sconf. Richard
FLIGHT 2
Richard sconf. Jablonski
FLIGHT 3
Jablonski sconf. Richard

RESULTS OF THE S. PELLEGRINO FLEET RACE

Paolo Cian
Russell Coutts
Karol Jablonski
Ed Baird
Jes Gram-Hansen
Jesper Radich
Staffan Lindberg
James Spithill
Bjorn Hansen
Mathieu Richard
Alessandra Ghezzi (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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