James Spithill, Mathieu Richard, Ed Baird and Jesper Radich have emerged at the top of scoreboard on the third day of the ISAF Match Racing World Championship in Italy

The atmosphere was heating up last night at the end of day three of the ISAF Match Racing World Championship in Italy.

Only four skippers out of the competing 12 will qualify for the semi-finals that will begin once round two is over.

The Race Committee was able to complete 7 flights out of the 14 of round two, again in great sailing conditions on Lake Garda – sunny with a southerly breeze of 20-plus knots, known locally as the ‘ora’. The Committee also completed match one of flight 8, then the wind dropped and the competitors had to return to shore.

The four skippers currently best placed are: James Spithill and Mathieu Richard with 13 victories, followed by Ed Baird and Jesper Radich with 12 points. French skipper Mathieu Richard had a great day, scoring 5 wins and defeating Russell Coutts in the last match (flight 8). James Spithill, too, managed to beat 5 of his opponents, while Jablonski and Radich scored 4 wins each.

At the end of his long day, Richard said: “I am very happy and satisfied with today’s results, especially with the match against Coutts, the outcome of which was uncertain until the end. I was able to fully enjoy the victory only after crossing the line.” Ed Baird said: “I am very happy to be in the leading group, the aim of our crew is to race at this level in every match.” Coutts and Baird gave the umpires a headache when they approached the bottom mark in flight 6, both incurring in a penalty. With a spectacular mark rounding, Baird got the lead and was able to cash in another impressive victory. Racing will resume today with the remainig flights of round robin two.

Results (at the end of day 3)

James Spithill, Australia – 13 wins, 4 losses

Mathieu Richard, France – 13 wins, 5 losses (1 extra race sailed)

Ed Baird, USA – 12 wins, 4 losses

Jesper Radich, Denmark – 12 wins, 5 losses

Karol Jablonski, Poland – 11 wins, 5 losses

Russell Coutts, New Zealand – 11 wins, 7 losses (1 extra race sailed)

Bjorn Hansen, Sweden – 8 wins, 9 losses

Jes Gram-Hansen, Denmark – 7 wins, 10 losses

Paolo Cian, Italy – 6 wins, 12 losses

Staffan Lindberg, Finland – 5 wins, 12 losses

Mikael Lindqvist, Sweden – 2 wins, 14 losses

Ian Williams, UK – 2 wins, 15 losses