Gilmour said. "The people of Croatia are great."
Gilmour overhauls Baird for tour lead in Croatia
The Australianâ™s fifth ACI H1 Match Race Cup is also his seventh career Tour victory
Saturday 28 May 2005
Info Swedish Match Tour
Peter Gilmour (AUS), of Pizza-La Sailing Team, today became the new leader of the Swedish Match Tour leaderboard and the career victories list when he won the ACI H1 Match Race Cup.
Gilmour and crew Rod Dawson, Mike Mottl, Kazuhiko Sofuku and Yasuhiro Yaji defeated Philippe Presti (FRA) 3-2 in a tightly fought series. Prestiâ™s crew included Thierry Fouchier, Fred Guilmin, Pascal Rambeau and Mathieu Renault.
Gilmour, with 112 points, overtook Ed Baird (USA), of Team Alinghi, for the lead of the 2004-â™05 season. And Gilmourâ™s seven career victories are tops on that list.
Bertrand PacÃ© (FRA), of BMW Oracle Racing, placed third, while Baird finished fourth. PacÃ© beat Baird 2-0 in the Petit Final.
"Weâ™ve just been looking to improve on last yearâ™s performance,â? said Gilmour, 45 years old. "We werenâ™t very happy with how we sailed the second half of last year. Now weâ™ve got two wins and a second in the last three events.â?
Those finishes have put Gilmour in position to become the first repeat champion of the Swedish Match Tour. He leads Baird by 10 points (after trailing by 23 points at the beginning of May) with one event to sail, the Swedish Match Cup (July 4-10).
"Him finishing fourth and us first is a surprise,â? said Gilmour. "We just hoped to finish one place ahead of him.â?
Gilmourâ™s victory was his fifth championship at the ACI Cup, which is also tops on that list. "Thatâ™s a real pleasure,â? Gilmour said. "The people of Croatia are great.â?
In the final Gilmour opened a 2-0 lead. He won the first match when Presti was penalized twice at the leeward mark, and the second when he completed a 270-degree penalty turn on the finish line.
Presti, who upped his level of aggression in the semifinals and final, rallied to make it 2-2. He won the third flight when Gilmour received a pre-start penalty and the fourth when he completed a penalty turn on the finish line.
That set up a winner-take-all final match, but it was anticlimactic compared to the first four flights, which were marked by close racing and many leebow tacks.
With the west/southwesterly seabreeze blowing around 8 knots, down from its high of 10 knots earlier in the day, Gilmour started the final match to the left and Presti to the right.
"The right had been favored all day,â? said Presti, 39 years old. "We thought it was still favored in the last race. We saw a big puff on the left, but thought the wind would drop and swing right.â?
Presti, by his own admission, guessed wrong. When Presti tacked to starboard and towards the left side, Gilmour was crossing in a 10-knot puff about three boatlengths ahead. He led by 30 seconds at the windward mark, and was never threatened the rest of the way.
"I guess it was bad eyes,â? said Presti, laughing off the loss.
"Philippe started very well today,â? said Gilmour. "He pushed us to the right all the time. By hook or by crook we were going to win the left in the last match, and we did.â?
Gilmour advanced to the final by beating Baird 3-1 in one semifinal match. Presti got there by beating PacÃ©, also 3-1. Ironically, Gilmour and Presti just barely advanced to the semifinals. They had to win their final races in the round robin and count on others losing to advance.
Yesterday Presti said he enjoyed racing PacÃ© because of his aggressive nature. But it was Presti who turned up the aggression in the semifinal, taking the fight to PacÃ© and not backing down from his countryman.
"In the round robin we were happy to be here, happy to race,â? said Presti. "But when we got to the semifinal we knew we had to pick it up and we did.â?
Gilmour said he was surprised to beat Baird by such a lopsided score. "Ed is the quintessential smooth and consistent sailor. You have to be all that and more to beat him,â? said Gilmour, who beat Baird in five of their six matches this week.
â¢ Swedish Match Tour Standings (After 7 of 8 stages)
1. Peter Gilmour (AUS) 112 points
2. Ed Baird (USA) 102 points
3. Russell Coutts (NZL) 70 points
4. Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN) 45 points
5. Philippe Presti (FRA) 44 points
6. Staffan Lindberg (FIN) 38 points
7. James Spithill (AUS) 35 points
8. Bertrand PacÃ© (FRA) 34 points
â¢ ACI H1 Match Race Cup Final
(3) Peter Gilmour (AUS) d. (4) Philippe Presti (FRA), 3-2
ACI H1 Match Race Cup Petit Final
(1) Bertrand PacÃ© (FRA) vs. (2) Ed Baird (USA), 2-0
â¢ ACI H1 Match Race Cup Semifinals
(3) Peter Gilmour (AUS) d. (2) Ed Baird (USA), 3-1
(4) Philippe Presti (FRA) d. (1) Bertrand PacÃ© (FRA), 3-1
â¢ ACI H1 Match Race Cup Final Standings â¢ Prize Purse: $40,000
Skipper (Country) Team, Record, Prize Money
1. Peter Gilmour (AUS) Pizza-La Sailing Team, 18-11, $15,000
Crew: Rod Dawson, Mike Mottl, Kazuhiko Sofuku, Yasuhiro Yaji
2. Philippe Presti (FRA) le DÃ©fi, 17-12, $8,000
Crew: Thierry Fouchier, Fred Guilmin, Pascal Rambeau, Mathieu Renault
3. Bertrand PacÃ© (FRA) BMW Oracle Racing, 20-6, $6,000
Crew: Eric Doyle, Zach Hurst, Dirk de Ridder, Brad Webb
4. Ed Baird (USA) Team Alinghi, 15-11, $4,000
Crew: Jordi Calafat, Lorenzo Mazza, Dean Phipps, Piet Van Nieuwenhuyzen
5. Mathieu Richard (FRA), 11-9, $2,400
Crew: Greg Evrard, Olivier Herledant, Frederic Rivet, Yannick Simon
6. Staffan Lindberg (FIN), 11-9, $2,000
Crew: Nils Bjerkas, Johan Karlsson, Carl-Johan Uckelstam, Daniel Wallberg
7. Kelvin Harrap (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand, 10-10, $1,600
Crew: Rod Davis, Andrew McLean, Richard Meacham, Rod Salthouse
8. BjÃ¶rn Hansen (SWE), 8-12, $1,000
Crew: Mathias Brendin, Fredrik Ekman, Anders Jonsson, Johan Tempelman
9. Flavio Favini (ITA) Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team, 6-14
Crew: Marco Constant, Flavio Grassi, Antar Vigna, Jon Ziskind
10. Dario Kliba (CRO), 5-15
Crew: Kosti? Hrvoje, Zvonko Jela?i?, Prlenda Nikola, Celi? Slaven
11. Ian Ainslie (RSA) Team Shosholoza, 4-16
Crew: Charles Nankin, David Rae, Mark Sadler, Ante Vanjak