Gilmour advances to regatta semifinals

MARSTRAND, Sweden -- Peter Gilmour of Australia and the Pizza-La Sailing Team became the first repeat champions of the Swedish Match Tour when they defeated Ed Baird of St. Petersburg, Fla., 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the Open Regatta at the Swedish
Match Cup on Saturday.

Gilmour and Baird were tied with 102 points coming into the eighth and final stage of the Swedish Match Tour. Baird, seeking his first tour championship, had to finish in the top four with Gilmour behind him. Gilmour just had to beat Baird, no matter where they finished overall.

Gilmour not only beat Baird for the championship but also advanced to the semifinals of the regatta.

In winning the season title, Gilmour earned a $60,000 bonus and a BMW valued at $85,000.

"This is a great result for us," Gilmour said. "It's the last event that Pizza-La is sponsoring us, and it's a superb outcome for them."

Pizza-La, a Japanese gourmet pizza company, has sponsored Gilmour's match-racing team since 1995.

The crews split the first two races to set up the winner-take-all race for the championship, which Gilmour won.

The boats collided during the prestart, and each crew was penalized.

"I was happy with our start but not happy with the umpire call," said Baird, who also sails for America's Cup champion Alinghi of Switzerland.