Sunday, September 16, 2007

James Spithill dominates Latium Match Cup, undefeated

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] In a performance not seen at any recent World Tour event, James Spithill (AUS) won all three of his matches today in the Final Round to capture the inaugural Latium Match Cup. Spithill’s Luna Rossa team of Joe Newton, Michele Ivaldi, Magnus Augustson, and Andy Fethers bested Sebastien Col (FRA) and his team from Areva Challenge to earn the top prize of €55,000 and 25 points added to his score on the World Tour leader board.

“We obviously came here to win, and we enjoy sailing here in Italy, but to go through undefeated – we didn’t expect that!” said Spithill. “It’s a real testament to the guys on my team.”

While the scores may look like Spithill had an easy time of it, the action on the water was always close. The second match got particularly heated at the top mark, where Col led around by just a boat length, only to have Spithill gybe quickly inside him, evade Col’s aggressive luff, and not only pass the Areva team but draw a penalty on them as well.

Close pre-start action in the penultimate third match also earned Col a penalty when the umpires faulted him for not keeping clear when both boats lay head-to-wind, drifting backwards in the 10-knot seabreeze. Col recovered to win the favored pin end of the line, but could not get past Spithill, who controlled the match from the right on the first windward leg.

“James and his guys showed great form all week,” said Col. “We know when sailing against him we cannot make any mistakes. They’re good, and they keep the pressure on even when you’re in the lead.”

For their runner-up performance, Col and his team will collect €35,000 and 20 points on the Tour leader board.

In Petit Final action, Sten Mohr (DEN) capitalized on mistakes made by rival Magnus Holmberg (SWE), winning the first-to-two point round in two matches. Holmberg and his team from the Victory Challenge earned two penalties in the pre-start of the first match, and having to take one turn right after the start gave Mohr a lead which he kept with relative ease.

Mohr, who has not been active in many Tour events this year, said in jest “Thanks to Magnus for getting those two penalties and letting us get back on the Tour.” His third place earned him €30,000 and 15 points on the Tour leader board.

Of the level of competition at this newest event on the World Tour, winner Spithill said “It’s very, very tough on the Tour now. The guys that are here are the Peter Gilmour’s of today, very talented, very tough, and winning comes down to just the smallest margins.”

Overall Standings:

1. James Spithill (AUS) Luna Rossa – 14-0
2. Sebastien Col (FRA) Areva Challenge – 10-8
3. Sten Mohr (DEN) Rudy Project Sailing Team – 8-5
4. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge – 8.5-7
5. Paolo Cian (ITA) Shosholoza – 5-5
6. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar – 10-7
7. Peter Gilmour (AUS) PST – 7-8
8. Ian Ainslie (RSA) Shosholoza – 3-7
9. Mathieu Richard (FRA) – 6-6
10. Jure Orel (SLO) – 2-8
11. Victor Lanier (FRA) – 2-8
12. Michael Hestbaek (DEN) – 2-8



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