Sweden’s Magnus Holmberg begins his defence of the Swedish Match Grand Prix title with a win at Marina di Ravenna’s Trofeo Roberto Trombini

“It’s been really tough all week,” said Magnus Holmberg after winning the final of the Trofeo Roberto Trombini, event one in the new Swedish Match Grand Prix series. His fluent performance in the finals on Sunday, against a dervish-like Dean Barker and his Team New Zealand crew, used every ace in the match racing deck.

Barker took the first race but picked up a penalty at the leeward mark in the second. Approaching the windward mark, he was almost back on terms when he picked up a second penalty after failing to give way to Holmberg. The second penalty turn was enough for Holmberg to make up the eight seconds’ difference and pull clear to win by three seconds.

Barker’s aggression won the third race but Holmberg’s dogged consistency brought him the next two, to win 3-2. Holmberg was racing here for Team StoraEnso and the Swedish Victory America’s Cup Challenge: both will be delighted to see this impressive 3-2 win, and the one against Russell Coutts in the semifinals where Holmberg bounced back from 0-2 to win 3-2.

Holmberg was modest about his weekend’s work: “From the quarterfinals against Russell to the last race today. It’s fair to say we were a bit lucky. It’s hard to say what the biggest difference was against Dean,” said Holmberg yesterday. “The last two starts we were able to get to the right side of the course which was favoured. Stefan (Rahm), our tactician, did an excellent job all day reading the conditions and pointing us the right way.”

Barker was disappointed but generally very positive: “Sailing on the Swedish Match Tour helps us with the racing side of our preparation (for the defence),” said Barker. “After winning the ACI Cup in May we had a shocking result last week (13th at the Swedish Match Cup). We want to do as much racing as we can and take what we learn back to Auckland.”

Trofeo Roberto Trombini, Marina di Ravenna
Final Standings1. Magnus Holmberg (Team StoraEnso)2. Dean Barker (Team New Zealand)3. Peter Holmberg (Oracle Racing)4. James Spithill (OneWorld Challenge)5. Russell Coutts (Alinghi Challenge)6. Nicola Celon (ITA)7. Morten Henriksen (illbruck Challenge)8. Paolo Cian (Mascalzone Latino Challenge)9. Andy Green (GBR Challenge)10. Francesco de Angelis (Prada Challenge)11. Luc Pillot (FRA)12. Frederico Strocchi (ITA)