Russell Coutts and Jochen Schumann, both here sailing for the Swiss America’s Cup syndicate Alinghi, are already through to the quarterfinals of the Swedish Match Gold Cup in Marstrand, Sweden

Alinghi sailors Russell Coutts and Jochen Schumann have qualified for the next round of the Swedish Match Gold Cup, being contested in Marstrand, Sweden. Coutts returned yesterday evening with three straight wins, over OneWorld’s James Spithill, Dane Jesper Radich and Swedish Match series winner Magnus Holmberg.

Russell Coutts’ 6-1 scorecard after the round robin series confirmed his presence in the next round. Team mate Jochen Schumann, unbeaten yesterday, dropped his first race to the Dane Jes Gram-Hansen to finish 6-1, and go through.

Gram-Hansen himself matched the 6-1 results posted by Alinghi, beating the out-of-sorts Bertrand Pacé and local amateur Johnie Berndtsson as well as Schumann, to go through to the quarterfinals.

The fourth place in Group A was awarded to series winner Magnus Holmberg. His 3-4 scoreline was identical to Jesper Radich’s but Holmberg beat the Dane in the fifth flight and therefore takes the final spot.

While Coutts and Schumann left the dock, Gram-Hansen was still celebrating his quarterfinal berth. “It’s great being a bunch of amateur guys and having a chance to race against these America’s Cup teams. It’s a great experience for us and will make us better sailors in the long run.”

Holmberg struggled for form and knew that he went through by the narrowest of margins. “We had a very nervous day today. We made it very tough for ourselves. I need to thank our Danish friend (Jesper Radich) for paving the way for us (by defeating James Spithill).”

Group B qualification will be completed today.