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11 March 2005, 03:10 pm
FONSECA Defeats GRAEL
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Match Race Brasil 2005
Salvador, Bahia, Brasil

In a thrilling first-day confrontation, Brazilian skipper André "Bochecha" FONSECA defeated back-to-back champion and two-time Star class Olympic champion, Torben GRAEL (BRA).
The tie was one of the hardest-fought regattas of the tournament's first day, at the Bahia Yacht Club in Salvador, Brazil.

The excitement started at the very beginning of the regatta, when GRAEL's crew received a 270-degree turnaround as a penalty for an irregular manoeuvre. The skipper opted to pay the penalty at the end of the tie and was passed by FONSECA near the finish line.

The end of the regatta was so even that FONSECA's crew waited until the umpire's decision to celebrate the triumph. 'From the very beginning we knew that GRAEL would have to pay the penalty and we worked to maintain his advantage to a minimum level,' explained FONSECA. 'We ended winning by a narrow margin, just to spice up a little'.

Nominated by GRAEL for the crew of Brasil 1, the first Brazilian boat to sail in the Volvo Ocean Race, FONSECA could not hide his joy about beating his mentor. 'Torben is the main star of the event and everybody wants to defeat him,' admitted the skipper. 'He's truly a professor.'

Extremely competitive, the owner of, a sailing-record, five Olympic medals GRAEL did not like the defeat. He argued that the early penalty was too strong and protested the umpire's decision (denied right away). 'It was a tiresome day. We spent the whole day in the water to sail only one regatta and then to lose due to a penalty…' said GRAEL. 'But it's always like this. Everybody enters the competition trying to defeat me, since I'm the champion'.

The first day regattas were prejudiced by the inconstant winds, which obligated the umpires to change the lanes three times, and the strong currents that make maneuvering very hard. 'I'm sure that Salvador will be the toughest leg of Match Race Brasil 2005,' said a smiling FONSECA. 'However, these difficulties are a part of our lives and I enjoy to sail and to have fun while at it'.

Also very happy was Daniel GLOMB (BRA), who finished the first day in the lead. His crew defeated Joca SIGNORINI and Argentinean Torkel BORGSTROM. 'We sure hope that the streak keeps going,' he said. 'We had a great day, and we worked a lot to overcome the Argentinean'.

Four Spanish members of the Desafio Español Syndicate that will challenge for the 2007 America's Cup are in the LOPEZ-VAZQUEZ crew at Match Race Brasil, Salvador leg. 49er World champion LOPEZ-VAZQUEZ is excited about sailing in a match race competition, the same system as the America's Cup.

'This will certainly be a great experience. I'm having the first chance to sail along three of my future crewmates,' he said, referring to fellow Spaniards Aureliano NEGRIN, Pedro MAS and Victor MARINO. 'And it's very good to face opponents like Torben GRAEL'.

Fourth in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, LOPEZ-VAZQUEZ is back sailing after a year recovering from a serious injury in his left leg. The injury prevented him in trying for a spot in the Spanish team to Athens 2004. 'It's very good to be back sailing with my sea mates,' said the two-time winner of the IMS 500 'Copa del Rey de España'.

Results

SIGNORINI 0 x 1 GLOMB
ADLER 0 x 1 BORGSTROM
SIGNORINI 0 x 1 ADLER
BORGSTROM 0 x 1 GLOMB
GRAEL 0 x 1 FONSECA
VASQUEZ 0 x 1 SALDANHA

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Images:© Hector Echebaster
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