Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Detroit Cup : Australia Wins, Kiwis Complete the Podium

Jordan Reece, Henry Kernot and Harry Thurston with the Detroit Cup. Image copyright Isao Toyama.

by Kevin Schrage

In an impressive display of determination, patience, and skill beyond his 19 years, Australian Jordan Reece and his team of Henry Kernot and Harry Thurston have won the ISAF Grade 2 Detroit Cup in an exciting 5-match Final at the Bayview YC. The team defeated Kiwi Laurie Jury in an exciting Final that went to all five matches in the first-to-three point series.

Close finals between Laurie Jury's Zoke Kiwi Match and Jordan Reece (AUS). Image copyright Isao Toyama.

Reece started the day early, defeating Brad Funk to earn their place in the Semi-Finals, then came back from being one match down in the first-to-two point series to defeat Kiwi Reuben Corbett, and then went up by two in the first match of the first-to-three match Final.

But then Jury roared back, dominating the next two matches to bring the series even up, and forcing a conclusion to the fifth and final match. All matches featured contentious lead changes and fights at nearly every mark rounding in perfect 10-14 knot conditions on the Detroit River.

Close finals between Laurie Jury's Zoke Kiwi Match and Jordan Reece (AUS). Image copyright Isao Toyama.

The final match started with Reece rounding the first top mark first by two lengths, but as was seen throughout this series sailed in Ultimate 20's the trailing boat is at an advantage in gybing into the passing lane on the downwind legs. So Jury took the lead going into the bottom mark, and got to the favored left side to double his lead at the final top mark.

The problem is that Jury went to the wrong mark, opting to go to the default mark rather than the mark signaled at the start of the match, so Reece, trailing by several lengths and rounding the proper mark, managed to sail downwind unmolested to the finish and into victory.

Close racing in the petit final between Reuben Corbett's Aon Racing (NZL) and Matt Steven's Wellington Spirit (NZL). Image copyright Isao Toyama.

The Detroit Cup is the second stop on the four-stage US GRAND SLAM Series, a series of four consecutive ISAF Grade 2 match race events composed of last week's Chicago Grade 2 Invitational, this week's Detroit Cup, next week's Knickerbocker Cup, and the following week's concluding Oakcliff International. Winner of the series will get an invitation to next year's ISAF Grade 1 Congressional Cup in Long Beach.

Brad Funk (USA) had his match racer wife, Anna Tunnicliffe, on the foredeck. Image copyright Isao Toyama.

Jury may have lost the battle, but is winning the war now, leading the Grade 2 US GRAND SLAM series with two runner-up finishes in Chicago and now Detroit, with 160 points.

Results (top 8)

1. Jordan Reese (AUS)
2. Laurie Jury (NZL)
3. Reuben Corbett (NZL)
4. Matthew Steven (NZL)
5. Brad Funk (USA)
6. Taylor Canfield (ISV)
7. Nicolai Sehested (DEN)
8. William Tiller (NZL)

Detroit Cup