Sani Resort, Greece — Under clear blue skies, perfect winds and within the watchful gaze of the gods on Mt Olympus as well as enthusiastic spectators afloat and ashore, Staffan Lindberg and his Team Alandia – GP Batteries from Finland have claimed victory in the inaugural edition of the ISAF Grade 3 Sani Cup, the lead event on the 2015 Hellenic Match Racing Tour. Lindberg’s 2-0 dominance in the Final against runner-up Team Nespresso skippered by perennial Greek 470 champion Panagiotis Mantis was in contrast to Nespresso’s undefeated dominance of the 12-team field in the single round robin, which was run from the event’s start on Friday through today.
Despite being the top-ranked team in the competition, Team Alandia struggled on the first day, winning only a few of their matches against lesser-ranked teams. And yesterday’s unsettled weather and rain showers produced wind conditions too light to allow for the completion of more than just a few flights, so the Finns were confined to the beach all day while awaiting their turn in the rotation.
“It was hard sitting out yesterday,” Lindberg said, “but fortunately we came together today to pull through, even in some tough matches. The setting of this place is fantastic, really relaxing, the organizers have been incredibly friendly and hospitable. This was our first time to Greece, we did not know what to expect, but are really glad we came here to sail.”
Winning the Petit Final for 3rd place was Team Solgar Ursa Minor, led by skipper Jason Spanomanolis, who was second in the HMRT 2014, first in the Greek Match Race nationals in 2013 and 2014. His victory had to be earned after losing the first match in a hard-fought three-match contest with Camilla Ulrikkeholm from Denmark, the world’s top-ranked team in the women’s rankings, and winner of the WIM Series in 2014.
In all, teams from five countries – Finland, Greece, Denmark, Sweden and Turkey – were represented this year, with plans to expand the international presence here next year.
“We are extremely pleased with our first running of the Sani Cup,” said Leonidas Zisiadis, executive producer on behalf of Sani Resort for the Sani Cup. “For our guests, our sponsors, the sailors and all involved, we have proven the concept of this event as being able to provide intense world-class match racing in an environment of luxury and relaxation.”