Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Adam Minoprio congratulates a humble Johnie Berntsson, winner of the 2008 Bermuda Gold Cup. Image copyright Charles Anderson.
by David Swete
On Sunday we faced a focused Johnie Berntsson in a gruelling final, but after showing so much promise against Ben Ainslie in yesterday's semi-final, we went down 3-1 to a deserving champion. The Swedish team were on fire today, pouncing on any mistake we made and unfortunately for us we made a few too many, finishing up 2nd in the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup.
Our first match was a prime example of a match that was in our hands but we let it slip. After forcing a penalty on them during the pre-start we were even off the start line only to miss out on the first shift which gave them a slight advantage.
Close racing between Minoprio and Berntsson during the final. Image copyright Charles Anderson.
By the top mark it was so close that the Swedes luffed us to defend their lead and also to try and clear their penalty. While we were to windward they tacked and bore away inside us to do their penalty turn. We thought that they tacked in our water as we had to avoid contact however the umpires saw it differently and it was back to an even playing field although we had a one boat length advantage.
We held that advantage until the final upwind when the tenacious Berntsson clawed his way back and we failed to defend the starboard side of the course at the top of the upwind leg. This allowed them back into the game; an opportunity that they jumped on managing to gain a small lead going into the final downwind which they defended to take the victory.
We totally dominated the second race. Adam demolished Johnie in the start, forcing two penalties on him and pushing him over the start line to gain an unassailable lead.
Our next two pre-starts did not go our way, although we had very close matches. Johnie had slight advantages off the start line in both races and sailed very consistently to go 3-1 up and become the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup Champion.
We were very happy to make it through to our first World Tour final, especially at such a prestigious event. Our second placing here in Bermuda not only means we will gain invaluable ISAF world ranking points, but it also promotes us to 4th on the World Match Racing Tour, level on points with Australian Torvar Mirsky.
Our result here also guarantees us entry into the final World Tour Event, the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia and we are looking forward to returning to Malaysia after competing in the New Zealand Match Racing Nationals in November. BlackMatch would like to congratulate Johnie and his team on an excellent victory, they sailed extremely well this week and we have to take our hats off to them, awesome sailing and well deserved.
From Adam, Dave, Tom and Nick we would like to say a very big thank you to our friends and family and we hope we have done you proud after an arduous year. We would also like to thank our sponsors FedEx Express, especially our friends David Ross from FedEx Asia and Ross Munro from Line 7 New Zealand. To the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, thank you for your support and the privilege of representing you this year.