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Hansen returns victorious to WMRT

Published on July 8th, 2023

Veteran Swedish match racer Björn Hansen and his Extend Commerce Sailing Team of Mathias Bredin, Philip Kai Guhle, and Nils Bjerkås have clinched their seventh win of GKSS Match Cup Sweden, held July 4-8 at the tourist island hotspot of Marstrand off Sweden’s west coast.

As the second championship event of the World Match Racing Tour, Hansen defeated USA’s Chris Poole/ Riptide Racing 2-1 in the Final with Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson (SWE, Berntsson Sailing Team) finishing in third place.

Paired against Estonian Mati Sepp/ Clean Energy Sailing Team in the first semis, Hansen and crew defeated Sepp with two straight wins to secure their place in the final.

In the second semi-final, Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson took the first win against Poole before Poole and team were able to come back with two straight wins to finish 2-1 and advance to the final to meet Hansen.

In the first-to-two points final, Hansen picked up two penalties in the first race allowing Poole an early lead. But Hansen leveled the score 1-1 in the second race.

Requesting to change boat for the deciding race, the two teams split tacked from the start. On the downwind leg, Hansen was able to roll past Poole and reach the leeward gate ahead, opting for the right hand side of the course as they led upwind.

Edging ahead of Poole, Hansen was able to maintain the lead and cross the line to finish 2-1 and secure the title.

“Just an amazing finish,” commented Hansen on his return to match racing. “We are so pleased to be back in Marstrand and win the event again. Chris and the team had a great event and we knew it would not easy in the final.”

It had been seven years since Hansen had last competed on a World Match Racing Tour, and while his past victories in Marstrand were on board the DS37 monohull, this year he had to master the tweaky, faster, asymmetric-rigged Fareast 28Rs being used.

The boats offered their share of excitement in the quarterfinals when Poole and Denmark’s Jeep Borch/ Borch Racing found themselves in an early collision which entangled both boats and caused a dismasting on Poole’s boat.

Finishing their last races of the round-robin qualifying stage, USA’s Chris Poole and Denmark’s Jeep Borch/ Borch Racing found themselves in a collision which entangled both boats and caused a dismasting on Poole’s boat.

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Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion.

Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL), and Ian Williams (GBR).

Since inception, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors.

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