Sunday, September 16, 2007

James Spithill to face Sébastien Col at Latium Match Cup final

[World Match Racing Tour] Can Sébastien Col take down an undefeated James Spithill? Spithill continued his winning streak out on the water on Saturday as he sailed through to the final with 3 straight wins against Sten Mohr. The young Australian is now undefeated in 11 straight races.

“Sten pushed us hard in every race and the lessons learned from today will be invaluable for tomorrow’s final” said Spithill.

Mohr reflected on Saturday’s racing commenting that his starts weren’t all there. “We tried hard but felt like we had an uphill battle all day. We had learned a lot from the previous rounds but weren’t able to step it up enough to beat the undefeated team. It was great to be in the semi finals and I look forward to making it to the final at future World Match Racing Tour events”.

Racing was a lot closer in the other half of the semi final draw and the match came down to the fifth and final race. Sébastien Col of Areva Challenge took the first race from Magnus Holmberg of Victory Challenge. Holmberg rebounded with 2 wins to take a 2-1 lead.

The pre-start of the third race commenced and then stopped quickly as Col hooked the committee boat anchor line and the race was postponed. Upon restarting, the umpires immediately penalized Col. An umpire initiated hearing had decided to give redress to Holmberg for an action of the Race Committee. The redress was the penalty. When explaining the decision later Col was asked what he would think if it was the other way around and Holmberg had been penalized. Col’s response was typically understated “We would be very happy”.

Race four saw Col pull off a spectacular passing manoeuvre at the leeward mark, rolling Holmberg on starboard gybe four boat lengths away from the mark and then slipping around his bow to claim water at the buoy.

With the scores level Col had that déjà vu feeling going into the final race and was not about to give up.

Col said “We found ourselves in the same position as yesterday in being down a race, we drew strength from that and were determined to comeback”.

Going in to the final race it was all to play for.

“Seb had a good start and we had a bad one, they stayed ahead. They sailed well and deserved to win” said Holmberg.

“We have been getting better and better after each race however we know tomorrow will be hard. We are here to learn and hope to do well. The starts will be key” said Sébastien.

When asked to predict on tomorrows final Spithill said “ coming from an Italian team I know it’s bad luck to talk about the future and my good friend Francesco D’Angelis wouldn’t even attempt to answer that and I can only agree”.

In racing for 5th through 8th places, Paolo Cian defeated Peter Gilmour and then Ian Williams to place 5th and Williams 6th. Gilmour placed 7th leading Ainslie all around the course, relegating Ainslie to 8th place.

Spithill is yet to loose any races. Could the pressure of the final throw the undefeated youngster? Good winds are forecast for tomorrow and everything is set for a spectacular showdown between two stars of the younger match racing generation. The start is scheduled for noon.

Final pairings:

Sébastien Col vs James Spithill

Petit Final:

Magnus Holmberg vs Sten Mohr


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