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Australia and Japan in Nations Cup stand-off as Denmark and Brazil look to breeze through

Whilst Denmark took a big step towards the finals and underlined their status as favourites in both the Open and Women’s competition of the ISAF Nations Cup in Middelfart, Denmark, Australia and Japan were locked at one-all in their semi-final. Three points are needed to qualify for the final. Denmark’s men and women and Brazil’s women won both their semi-final races relatively easily.

A day of bright sunshine and stable but typically swinging 8-10 knot breezes on the beautiful Fænøsund, out of Middelfart Marina, ended in high drama in the Open with Australia, one-nil up, trying to execute a penalty turn just before the finish line and the arrival of Japan. They seemed to make it but the judges thought otherwise. The decision was they had not allowed their spinnaker down below the level of the gooseneck (where the boom joins the mast) before they turned head to wind.

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VIDEO: Denmark's Sailing Prince beats Crown Prince at ISAF Nations Cup 2013

The match-racing centre in Middelfart, Denmark hosted Frederik the Crown Prince of Denmark for a very special match-race. It was all part of the show for spectators who had come to watch some of the world's top young sailors compete for the ISAF Nation's Cup.

The Crown Prince was skippering his four-man crew of Denmark’s Olympic legends; Jesper Bank (Olympic gold medallist, in soling in Barcelona 1992 and in Sydney 2000), Thomas Jacobsen (Olympic gold in soling in 2000), Henrik Blakskjær (Olympic gold medal in the soling in 2000) and Peter Lang (Olympic bronze medal in London in 2012). 

Their opponents were the young guns of Danish match-racing Nicolai Sehested and his crew; Thomas Hedegaard, Jesper Blom, Søren Secher and Peter Popp Wibroe. They had an unbeaten record in the competition going into the royal exhibition match. 

In the competition proper two teams made it through to the semi-finals. Australia's David Gilmore went through as did Denmark's Sehested and his crew.

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Denmark and Australia through to Nations Cup Semi-final

Denmark’s Nicolai Sehested and Australia’s David Gilmour skippered their countries into the semi-final yesterday at the Nations Cup in Middelfart, Denmark.

Australia were unbeaten in all five matches to jump to the top of six-nation Group B. They finished the round-robin stage level on 8 points out of 10 with Brazil’s Henrique Haddad, who won four races for the second consecutive day. But Gilmour qualified by virtue of having beaten Haddad on Thursday.

That victory in the second flight of the day was particularly satisfying for Gilmour as his new team began to gel and they were able to turn Haddad’s aggression against him, laying a second, vital, penalty as the Brazilian came back. As he himself predicted Japan’s Wataru Sakamoto, who won four of five on Wednesday in the Match28 boats, struggled in the larger DS37s and won only two of five on Thursday. But he will still qualify for the repechage with Australia’s Ashlen Rooklyn. Canada’s Peter Wickwire and America’s Dustin Durant did not make the cut.

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