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19 November 2003, 10:30 am
Day One
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Nippon Cup

Sweden's Magnus HOLMBERG of the SeaLife Rangers, battling flu-like symptoms, won all five of his round robin matches today to establish the early momentum at the ISAF Grade One Nippon Cup 2003.
Under the morning's grey, threatening skies, Holmberg, sailing with his trusted crew of Stefan RAHM, Lars LINGER and Magnus AUGUSSTON, shook off the effects of an illness that forced him to miss last evening's Sail-Off Party, the regatta's official opening ceremony, to establish the early lead.

"Magnus is starting to feel better and I'm sure he'll be back to 100 percent soon," said his long-time tactician Stefan Rahm. "We had a really good day, were lucky with the windshifts and managed to win some very tight matches."

"It was very shifty up-and-down the course and left-to-right as well," continued Rahm. "These boats have quite a bit of resistance in the water and you need to set a game plan, before you take to the course and constantly work hard to maintain your speed. We had very good crew work today and that was a big difference, I think."

Tied at three wins, are Denmark's Jesper RADICH and France's Luc PILLOT. "It was a difficult day with tricky conditions," said Pillot. "We had some very tough matches against Magnus, Jesper and Gavin (Brady). With three points we're quite happy. It could be better, but it could be a lot worse, too."

Local skipper Eichiro HAMAZAKI, Japan's representative in the 470 class at the Sydney Olympics, had the best showing of the three local skippers in the regatta, sitting on two wins after the first five flights.

"It was such a great experience just being on the water with these outstanding international skippers," said Hamazaki. "We were lucky and had some good crew work and came away with two races, hopefully it will continue tomorrow."

Following the first five flights, the second half of the draw took to the water. However, due to a fast fading breeze, they were only able to complete one flight of racing before the Hayama Marina Yacht Club race committee suspended sailing for the day.

In the afternoon's abbreviated action, seven-time regatta winner Peter GILMOUR of Australia and his Pizza-La Sailing Team won their only match, dispatching Great Britain's Andy GREEN of British Green Racing.

"I think the Race Committee did a good job getting the racing away and it was also very good that they sent us in because there was no wind out there," said Gilmour. "It's great to be back racing again and to have the Nippon Cup back, expanded from eight to twelve teams.

"It will be interesting to see if we get all the (round robin) racing through, because the days are so short, we may need to have some of those 7 am starts we've had in the past."

The Nippon Cup 2003 features a single round robin with the top four skippers advancing to Saturday's first-to-three points semi finals. Semifinal winners advance to Sunday's first-to-three wins finals, while the losers square off in the petit finals.

Round robin action resumes on Thursday morning at 9:30 am local time.

Round Robin Standings

Skipper Wins Losses
1.Magnus Holmberg, SWE/SeaLife Rangers 5 0
2.Jesper Radich, Denmark 3 2
=Luc Pillot, FRA/Team Pillot 3 2
4.Gavin Brady, Oracle BMW Racing 2 3
=Eiichiro Hamazaki, Japan 2 3
6.Dean Barker, NZ/Omega Match Racing Team 1 0
=Paolo Cian, ITA/Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team 1 0
=Peter Gilmour, AUS/Pizza-La Sailing Team 1 0
9.Andy Green, GBR/Team Racing Green 0 1
=Staffan Lindberg, FIN/Team Henri Lloyd 0 1
=Yautaka Funazawa, Japan 0 1
12.Takao Ninomiya, Japan 0 5

Shawn McBride (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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