"Give an old man chance", the three-time match race world champion Ed Baird (47) demanded before the third event of the prestigious Swedish Match Tour. The American got the chance and grabbed it: After a rather difficult start to the series, the Alinghi crew improved day by day and won all eight races since Friday.
In the final on Sunday, the winner of the two previous St. Moritz Match Races had no chance: The American Mark Mendelblatt was never able to endanger the well-established Alinghi team and showed weaknesses, especially when handling the spinnaker. In the rather weak, but fairly constant winds, Baird played on his match race experience and won 3-0 victories.
"It was a great event," said Baird happily at the award ceremony and thanked his team. "Without Nils Frei and Mike Drummond I couldn't have won here!"
In the small final, the Finn Staffan Lindberg prevailed after three tough duels against the Briton Ian Williams with 2-1 wins.
"That was a high level sailing sport," said race director and America’s Cup winner Christian "Blumi" Scherrer after the final. "The world elite in the match race showed their best side despite the bad weather. And I am glad that we were able to sail all races according to plan."
OC President Roni Pieper was also extremely satisfied with the 3rd St. Moritz Match Race: "The teams showed sailing duels at the very highest level! You can hardly improve that any more." Adrian Wyss from the main sponsor UBS shares this assessment: "The event was a complete success, and the integration into the international Swedish Match Tour has paid off very well."
The event convinced spectators and sailors not only in terms of the sporting quality, but also in terms of organization. "I have actually sailed everywhere, but I have rarely seen such a good organization as here in St. Moritz", said the Australian skipper Peter Gilmour, praising the event. "I would be delighted to be able to sail here again next year."
Results: 1. Ed Baird (USA / Alinghi). 2. Mark Mendelblatt (USA). 3. Staffan Lindberg (FIN). 4. Ian Williams (GB). 5. Ben Ainslie (UK). 6. Peter Gilmour (AUS). 7. Sebastien Col (FRA). 8. Peter Holmberg (Virgin Islands / Alinghi). 9. Eric Monnin (SUI). 10. Mathieu Richard (FRA). 11. Marcel Walser (SUI). 12. Mark Bradford (AUS).
further information: www.stmoritz-matchrace.ch