Advertisement

Peter Holmberg Creates July 4th Fireworks in Marstrand

July 4, 2003
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Stuart Streuli

A few thousand miles from home, Peter Holmberg gave himself and his crew a little Fourth of July present today. The U.S. Virgin Islander and former Oracle helmsman won three straight races before noon at the 10th Swedish Match Cup to send his team onto the quarterfinals and Paolo Cian packing. The added benefit of going early and winning was having most of the day to enjoy the rapidly improving weather in Marstrand, Sweden, and watch some intense battles on the water as the 10 other teams involved in the knockout round battled well into the afternoon for slots in the final eight.

“[It was] excellent,” said Holmberg, who’s racing with Paul Cayard as his tactician, and former Oracle teammates Moose Sanderson, Robbie Naismith, and Jared Henderson. “We were glad we had to sail some because we just assembled this team and wanted to get some practice. We didn’t want to win the round robin [and have the day off].”

With the wind coming out of the NE, and over the rocky island of Marstrand, in the morning–it backed to the north later in the day–the ability to change the game plan on the fly was crucial. “Upwind, Paul just floats, side to side,” said Holmberg. “This place is very much like Bermuda. The puffs land on the water. All the normal things involved in winning a race you have to do, but when the winds are so variable it calls for some good communication and quick decision making. We did a good job in two races and in the middle race, Paolo Cian sailed well and he almost beat us.”

Advertisement

Following Holmberg into the semifinals were Jesper Radich, Peter Gilmour, Karol Jablonski, Chris Law, and Jesper Bank. Radich, the current tour points leader, was the last to make the quarterfinals, as he rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to veteran Magnus Holmberg and won the fifth race in the first-to-three series by a couple of boatlengths. The win puts Radich and his team one step closer to the tour championship and a $60,000 cash prize. Now, the only way he can lose first place is if he finishes eighth and Spithill finishes first.

“I had some bad starts in the first two races,” said Radich. “My plan was to move closer to the line and do more aggressive moves. That seemed to work out well.” Upwind, Radich said his team stuck to their plan of trying to get the right side, where there seemed to be more consistent pressure, and avoiding too much maneuvering near the mark, which was tucked into the wind shadow created by the rocks which provide such a good natural grandstand for the event. Magnus Holmberg–who founded this event in 1994, but has yet to win it–noted that the momentum seemed to shift in the third race, when he and his team got the time wrong for the start and were just over the line. “It seemed we weren’t too worried after losing that third race,” he said. “But maybe it gave Jesper and his team some confidence and they sailed better.”

When asked what specifically he felt Radich was doing better in the final three starts, Magnus Holmberg said, “I think it was a bit of both [time on distance and positioning]. he seemed to have a bit better timing and in the fourth race I made a bad mistake. I tried to get him on a port-starboard situation before the start and ended up getting locked out of the layline to the pin.”

Advertisement

Veteran Peter Gilmour pulled a few tricks out of his bag to defeat local Staffan Lindberg, a Finn who trains at the GKSS, or Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club, and is currently ranked 13th on ISAF’s match-race rankings. One trick in particular may have earned him the right to move on. Down 2-1 in the match, Gilmour approached the first windward mark on port with a slim lead. Initially he made a bit of a mistake, tacking on Lindberg’s leebow when he should’ve crossed and tacked to windward. But thinking on his feet, the wily Australian quickly rectified the situation.

|

|

Advertisement

| |

|

|

Advertisement

| |

| Stuart Streuli|

| |

|

|

| |

| Peter Gilmour (at right) moments after he duped Staffan Lindberg into his trap and saddled the Finn with a penalty for not having room at the windward mark. Gilmour won the race.* * *|

| |

|

|

|

“So we opened the door up for him to get a little bit closer to us,” said Gilmour, who is back on tour with his Pizza-La Team after nearly a year layoff because of the OneWorld America’s Cup campaign. “I really just wanted to set a trap, and I was really hoping on the experience versus inexperience, and he would sort of go for. Essentially we luffed into the two boatlength circle with no overlap and him coming in with a lot more speed, couldn’t help but see the opening there and went for it.”

Lindberg momentarily took over the lead, rounding inside of Gilmour, but was quickly penalized by the umpires. Since the foul resulted in a shift of advantage, the Finnish skipper had to do the turn immediately. Gilmour clamped down for the rest of the race and then dominated the deciding race to close out the series.

The results of the other knockout matches were Jablonski over Johnie Berntsson 3-2, Bank over Andy Beadsworth, 3-1, and Law over Mikael Lindqvist 3-1. The quarterfinal pairings for Saturday morning will be James Spithill vs. Jablonski, Gilmour vs. Peter Holmberg, Mattias Rahm vs. Bank, and Law vs. Radich. Saturday afternoon, the women will sail their finals, with Marie Björling and Malin Källström competing for first prize, and Malin Millbourn and Annette Ström sailing for third.

For complete results and more photos, www.swedishmatchcup.com

Advertisement

More Racing

Advertisement