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Law Triumphs in Marstrand

July 6, 2003
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Stuart Streuli

The wheels almost came off for Chris Law today in the Swedish Match Cup final. The 51-year-old British skipper blazed into the final on a run of 10 wins in 11 races, and then won the first two races in the best-of-five final match against Poland’s Karol Jablonski. But then Law picked up a penalty in the pre-start of the third race, which cost him that race, and then was manhandled by Jablonski in the fourth start, which resulted in a wire to wire for the Polish team.

“I threw one away to the umpires,” said Law of the third race. “That annoyed me and it put me off my game in the fourth start and Karol nailed me.”

Law has always been known as a streaky match racer and it appeared as if his run of good fortune might be at an end. But he was able to shake off the two losses and quickly give himself the advantage in the final start, holding Jablonski well out to starboard of the starting line and then leading him back to cross the line a boatlength ahead.

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On the first upwind leg Law was able to build his lead by connecting the patchwork of puffs and shifts and then nailing the layline from a long way out, while Jablonski overstood. If there was any one thing that seem to separate Law from the pack this week, it was his ability to always make the most out of the breeze, no matter which direction it came from.

“All week, we haven’t match raced in the classic sense of covering,” said Law, who turned 51 yesterday and raced with a crew of four guys from the Swedish Victory Challenge syndicate. “We looked at the wind more than our opponent.” He went on to add that once he got a lead in the final race, he went back to the textbook, covering Jablonski on the remaining five legs. The tactic allowed the Polish team to creep closer and on the final run and they were almost able to take the lead, but Jablonski eventually ran out of runway as Law crossed the line to win the regatta and the $35,000 first prize.

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| Stuart Streuli|

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| Chris Law (right) leads Karol Jablonski toward the leeward mark during the match in the finals of the Swedish Match Cup.* * *|

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Earlier in the day, both Law and Jablonski had quickly finished off their respective semifinal matches. Each held a 2-0 lead from Saturday’s racing and each won their first race today, sending Peter Holmberg and Jesper Bank into the petitie finals. The two sailors, who battled in Auckland as the helmsman for Oracle BMW Racing and Victory Challenge, respectively, split the first two races. The third race came down to the final run, with Holmberg crossing the line just in front of Bank. “It was a very tricky day, the toughest so far,” said Holmberg. “It really tested how you work together as a crew.”

2003 Swedish Match Cup Final Standings (and prize money)
1. Chris Law ($35,000) 2. Karol Jablonski ($17,750) 3. Peter Holmberg ($10,875) 4. Jesper Bank ($8,625) 5. James Spithill ($7,125) 6. Jesper Radich ($6,250) 7. Peter Gilmour ($5,625) 8. Mattias Rahm ($4,375)

2003 Swedish Match Tour Final Standings (with points and prize money)
1. Jesper Radich/Team Radich (DEN) 109 pts. $60,000
2. James Spithill/Team Spithill (AUS) 96 pts. $40,000
3. Jes Gram-Hansen/Team Victory Lane (DEN) 84 pts. $25,000
4. Chris Law/The Outlaws (GBR) 76 pts. $20,000
5. Karol Jablonski/Jablonski Sailing Team (POL) 66 pts. $18,000
6. Ed Baird/Team Musto (USA) 57 pts. $15,000
7. Magnus Holmberg/Team StoraEnso (SWE) 50 pts. $12,000
8. Paolo Cian/Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team (ITA) 47 pts. $10,000

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