Comeback Kid

Wednesday, 14 March 2007
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The grand final of the JPMorgan Asset Management Winter Challenge Match Racing Series saw the British teams dominate proceedings at the Queen Mary Sailing Club, Staines this weekend (9-11 March), with ‘comeback kid’ Andy Green taking victory. The round robin on Friday and Saturday saw close racing, and some upsets as the teams battled hard to secure a place in the semi-final. An international field including the only women’s team led by France’s Claire Leroy, lined up against a strong Scandinavian presence consisting of Finland’s Jon Eriksson, world number ten Staffan Lindberg and Sweden’s world number eight Bjorn Hansen, as well five British teams and an entry from Switzerland. The biggest upset of the weekend came during the final round robin match. The pre event favourites, European Champion and 2005 winner Staffan Lindberg (FIN) and Bjorn Hansen (SWE) were tied and went into a deciding knock out race. Hansen took the win, securing his place in the semi-final. Eric Monnin (SUI), and Britain’s Mark Campbell James and Andy Green progressed with ease to the semis, each losing just two races. The final on Sunday saw excellent racing conditions with a southerly 15-knot breeze allowing for some fast and close match racing. Andy Green dominated his semi-final races against Eric Monnin (SUI), taking three straight wins. In contrast, the second semi-final was not as straightforward – Mark Campbell James comfortably won the first race. On the final run of the second race, Hansen had to offload a penalty at the finish with Campbell James coming to the line at speed with the spinnaker flying and they collided. Hansen was awarded a second penalty but in addition Campbell James was penalised for not avoiding a collision and had half a point deducted from his score line. This forced another two races to decide which of the teams made it through to the final. The final two races were equally hard fought, including a tacking duel consisting of over thirty tacks. However, Campbell James had the better of Hansen again and came through to secure the win he needed to book his place in the final. The final was an intense competition between Green and Campbell James, each battling hard for supremacy. Campbell James, sailing with Andy Yates, Andy Clark and Dave Mason, took the first race, with Green’s team of Mark Williams, Jonathan Taylor and Graham Sunderland pulling the lead back in the final run to secure the next. The final tiebreaker was close, the boats were neck and neck until Green rounded the last mark just ahead of Campbell James, an excellent hoist saw the team accelerate away and take the victory and the overall title. On winning Andy Green said, “I’m absolutely ecstatic, it was my mainsheet man Graham Sunderland that convinced me to come and sail at one of the qualifiers earlier in the year. The last time I’ve matched raced like this was at the last Americas Cup in 2003. It’s wonderful to be back, and it has made me remember why I love match racing – it is exciting, fun and tactical. I have been lucky enough to sail with a world-class team, and I owe many thanks to them. “It is great to come and sail these boats, and fantastic that the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) and JPMorgan Asset Management continue to support this international match racing series”. Roger Thompson, Head of Finance at JPMorgan Asset Management, presented the trophies at Queen Mary Sailing Club, “We are delighted to be here, the racing today has shown the wealth of talented sailors that are looking to come to these events and it is absolutely what we want to be a part of. “This series is part of JPMorgan’s wider commitment to world-class sailing and the team spirit and measured risks that we have seen out on the water today reflect the values and ethics that JPMorgan represent.” Final Rankings 1 - Andy Green (GBR) 425, Jonathon Taylor, Graham Sunderland, Mark Williams 2 - Mark Campbell James (GBR) 26, Andy Yates, Andy Green, Dave Mason 3 - Eric Monnin (SUI) 18, Loris Von Siebenthal, Marc Monnin, Jean Claude Monnin, Simon Brugger 4 - Bjorn Hansen (SWE) 8, Mathias Hermansson, Pontus Meijer, Mattias Bredin 5 - Staffan Lindberg (FIN) 10, Daniel Walberg, Magnus Hansson, Carl Johan Uckelstam 6 - Jon Pinner (GBR) 178, Christian Hamilton, Tom Haywood, Jeremy Fowke 7 - Nick Cherry (GBR) 52, Nick Houchin, Tom Odell, Connor Myant 8 - John Greeland (GBR) 117, Tim Burnel, Charlie Cumberly, Nick Butt 9 - Jon Eriksson (FIN) 63, Pasi Palmu, Jan Marrsson, Peter Anton 10 - Claire Leroy (FRA) 193, Opheile Thoron, Elodie Bertrand, Morgane Gautier, Marie Riou The Winter Challenge Series is part of JPMorgan Asset Management’s commitment to world-class sailing in the UK. In addition to extending its title sponsorship of the Round the Island Race to 2010, the company are now sponsors of Ben Ainslie and Shirley Robertson, Britain’s two double Olympic gold medallists.

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