Sunday, 12 October 2008

BlackMatch Reaches Third World Tour Semifinal in Bermuda Gold Cup 2008

Adam Minoprio and BlackMatch Racing beat Sebastien Col's French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge in the quaterfinals of the Bermuda Gold Cup 2008. Image copyright Charles Anderson.

by David Swete

After a day of extremely exciting racing and upsets galore, with the three World Title contenders unceremoniously ousted from the regatta, we managed to win our way through to the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup semi-finals with a convincing 3-1 defeat over world #4 Sebastien Col.

Mathieu Richard and Ian Williams who, along with Col, are battling it out for the World Tour Crown, were also defeated respectively by determined Swedes Johnnie Berntsson and Mattias Rahm. In the other quarterfinal, Team Origin's Ben Ainslie defeated Australian Keith Swinton 3-1, which signalled the end to Swinton's debut on the World Tour. However, whilst bowing out he managed to hand Ainslie his first defeat here in Bermuda.

BlackMatch on their way to defeating World Tour #2 Sebastien Col at the Bermuda Gold Cup. Image copyright Charles Anderson.

All of our races against Sebastien were very close, although Adam was on fire in his pre-starts and managed to convincingly win 3 out of the 4 starts with an even start in the other.

Perhaps the most interesting race against the world class French team was the one we lost. After locking them out at the boat end of the start line, we had a very good advantage off the start line.

They showed great tenacity to inch their way back into the match and on the final upwind we were crossing tacks, making it anyone's game as we approached the final top mark. A dial up occurred at the top mark with us on the inside and Sebastien managed to roll over the top of us leaving a big gap between him and the top mark.

We went for the gap and he luffed hard in a defensive move but the umpires agreed that we were past the mark while he was sailing above his proper course, so they handed him a penalty.

A very interesting situation occurred when the team in front did not have enough room to do their penalty turn so they waited for us in an attempt to force us to make an error.

We drifted slowly towards the finish line, collapsing spinnakers and zigzagging while trying to slow the boats down and wait for someone to make a move. We got a sniff of a chance to roll them and went for it but the French team were equal to the task and their set trap had worked, they sailed us past the pin end of the start line and luffed us head to wind, in doing so they completed their penalty taking a narrow victory.

The BlackMatch Racing team are all smiles about making the semis for the third time in their first year on the World Tour circuit. Image copyright Charles Anderson.

We were ecstatic with our performance in the quarterfinals here in Bermuda and are looking forward to our semi-final against Johnnie Berntsson tomorrow. We would like to congratulate all of the quarterfinalists for making it through this far and we would also like to congratulate the semi-finalists Johnnie, Ben and Mattias.

We would again like to acknowledge our long term sponsors FedEx Express and Ross Munro from Line 7, their ongoing support is making it possible for us to be over here in our quest to win the World Match Racing Tour. To the RNZYS and everyone else, thank you for your support.

BlackMatch Racing

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