Jesper Bank begins defense of Danish Open, Stage 2 of the World Match Racing Tour 11/8/06

Local hero Jesper Bank (pictured left) began his defense of the Danish Open, Stage 2 of the 2006-’07 World Match Racing Tour, with a perfect 4-0 record in Denmark yesterday.

Bank, the Danish skipper of United Internet Team Germany for the America’s Cup, is clear atop the leaderboard, but trailed closely by Frenchman Sebastian Col. The new helmsman for France’s Cup team Areva Challenge went 4-1 in morning racing. Ian Williams of Great Britain lies third in the 12-team field with a 3-1 record.

The opening day of the 10th annual Danish Open saw a wide range of conditions. Winds in the morning were from the south/south-west between 12 and 14 knots, with gusts slightly higher. The six crews in the morning racing promptly ran off five flights (15 races) within three hours.

After lunchtime the winds shifted to the west and dropped to around 8 knots, waning to 5 knots later in the afternoon. Only four flights (12 races) were held in about four hours of racing. Bank posted his undefeated record in the shifty afternoon winds.

“It’s a similar field to last year,” said Bank. “I think there were more Cup guys last year, but there are more top 10 teams this year. They’re well-trained and the margins are very small.”

Bank lost six races to Dorte O. Jensen yesterday in practice, but that hardly showed today. “Jesper will be fine,” Jensen predicted this morning before racing began. “He’ll get settled and work his way through the round robin.”

Jensen, 33, of Gudme, Denmark, is the reigning women’s match-racing world champion. Her championship last May was her fourth women’s Worlds title. This week, however, she’s sailing with a male crew instead of her female crew.

“We put a crew together for the worlds to see if we could get a good result,” Jensen said. “This is a great opportunity. I’ve been sailing with this team on and off for the past two years. I prefer to sail with a male crew. I have an agreement to sail with them as much as possible.”

Provisional Standings (after 9 of 22 scheduled flights)
1. Jesper Bank (DEN) United Internet Team Germany, 4-0 (Crew: Henrik Blakskjaer, Thomas Jacobsen, Matti Paschen, Jan Schoepe)
2. Sebastian Col (FRA) Areva Challenge, 4-1 (Crew: Christophe André, Jean-Francois Cuzon, Gilles Favennec, Teva Plichart)
3. Ian Williams (GBR) Williams Sail Racing, 3-1 (Crew: Morten Henriksen, Mark Nichols, Simon Shaw, Mark Williams)
4. Björn Hansen (SWE) Team, 3-2 (Crew: Mathia Bredin, Oskar Ljung, Johan Qviberg, Anton Wester)
4. Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team, 3-2 (Crew: Nils Bjerkås, Niklas Carlzon, Martin Krite, Daniel Wallberg)
4. Sten Mohr (DEN) BMW ORACLE Racing, 3-2 (Crew: Haydon Goodrick, Tony Kolb, Kasper Helweg Larsen, Jan Neergaard)
7. Simon Minoprio (NZL) Vision Yachting, 2-2 (Crew: Willie Beavis, Charlie Carter, Luke Cross, Stew Gray)
8. Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN) Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia, 1-2 (Crew: Rasmus Kostner, Chris Pedersen, Chresten Plinius, Frederik Sparvath)
8. Dorte O. Jensen (DEN) Team Sjælsø Gruppen, 1-2 (Crew: Jeppe Blak, Niels Gramkov, Thomas Hartvig, Henning Lambertsen)
10. Mads Ebler (DEN), 1-4 (Crew: George Bry, Niels Kinch, Roar Teglers, Søren Tønder)
11. Peter Wibroe (DEN) Team Wibroe, 1-4 (Crew: Joachim Carlsen, Phillip Guhle, Kristoffer Olesen, Jeppe Rasmussen)
12. Mathieu Richard (FRA) Saba Sailing Team, 0-4 (Crew: Greg Evrard, Olivier Herledant, Philippe Saliou, Yannick Simon)