Australia's Peter GILMOUR and his Pizza-La Sailing Team defeated Sweden's Magnus HOLMBERG and the SeaLife Rangers 3-1 today to claim his record eighth ISAF Grade 1 Nippon Cup title.
Today's win was the fifth consecutive Nippon Cup crown and second consecutive ISAF Grade One Win, following a victory at last month's Investors Guaranty Presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup in Bermuda, for the veteran Australian match racer and his crew of Mike MOTTLE, Yasuhiro YAJI and Kazuhiko SOFUKU.
"Congratulations to my crew for their outstanding performance,"
said Gilmour. "They are a great team with an even temperament, I go through my ups and downs, but part of our success is that we work together as a team."
On a brisk day on Shinjuku Bay, Gilmour and his crew battled Holmberg and his long-standing team of Stefan RAHM, Lars LINGER and Magnus AUGUSSTON in a championship bout featuring two of the premier world match racing teams.
After the Swedes took the first match, Gilmour and his team battened down to win the next three in a row to remain the foremost team in the history of this Japanese match racing classic.
"Every race you've been through, whether you've won or lost, you need to analyse the mistakes and improve upon them,"
said Gilmour. "Before (the first) race was even finished, going down the final run, we were discussing it and determining which changes we were going to make in the next match."
"We realised that in order to win we needed to start better, start to the right of Magnus and tail back, not lead back in the upcoming races,"
explained Gilmour. "Winning here is very special for us and unique in that it's in front of the home crowd and it really is wonderful to win here once again."
This year's win was especially pleasing for Gilmour's mainsheet trimmer Yasuhiro YAJI who has been instrumental, and a driving force, in resurrecting and organising this event following a two-year hiatus.
"Everybody who supported me was a big help in making this happen and created an environment that allowed me to concentrate on sailing this week,"
said Yaji, who is also employed by event-sponsor and team sponsor Pizza-La. "Until yesterday all the pressure was on my shoulders, now all the weight is gone, but I still need two weeks off!"
In today's petit-finals racing Gavin BRADY of the Oracle BMW Racing Team dismissed fellow Kiwi Dean BARKER of the OMEGA Match Racing Team 3-0 to grab third place.
"We're a little bit disappointed, we would have liked to have put up a better fight,"
said Barker. "At this level, as you see with Peter and Magnus, crew work is crucial and both Gavin and I have been changing around our crews. We sailed well at times, but we're also learning. We look forward to coming back next year."
Final Nippon Cup 2003 Standings
1.Peter Gilmour, AUS/Pizza-La Sailing Team - $15,000
2.Magnus Holmberg, SWE/SeaLife Rangers - $9,000
3.Gavin Brady, Oracle BMW Racing - $7,000
4. Dean Barker, NZ/OMEGA Match Racing Team - $6,000
5.Paolo Cian, ITA/Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team - $5,000
6.Jesper Radich, Denmark - $4,500
7.Luc Pillot, FRA/Team Pillot - $3,500
8.Staffan Lindberg, FIN/Team Henri Lloyd - $3,000
9.Andy Green, GBR/Team Racing Green - $2,500
10.Yautaka Funazawa, Japan - $2,000
11.Eiichiro Hamazaki, Japan - $1,500
12.Takao Ninomiya, Japan - $1,000