Saturday, 27 August 2011

Knickerbocker Cup : Zoke KiwiMatch Lead after Day One

by Andrea Watson

Mother Nature is trying the patience of everyone here at the Knickerbocker Cup this year. Manhasset Bay is known for its fluky winds and variable conditions, but this year the bay as full of surprises. Teams selected for the morning flights faced unstable winds, a lightening storm delay mid-day, and squalls from all points on the bay. But by the end of the day, Race Committee had completed 10 flights and leaders emerged from the mess of weather.

Laurie Jury, Zoke Kiwimatch, NZL, is the story of the day. He may have lost the battle at the Detroit Cup in a close final to Australian Jordan Reece, he is winning the war here at the Knickerbocker Cup. His 5 for 5 after 10 flights and this is his first time racing the Swedish Match 40s. “It was a most exciting day. We had a lost of close races and everything went our way. We were able to sail the boat smoothly.” Paul Cuneo, Color Commentator, added “their crew work was flawless. Jury was on fire!”

Sally Barkow was on fire too. After waiting all morning for the first group of racers to finish their flights, she was loaded for bear. Her first match against front runner Jury was proof of her determination to better her record of past appearances at the Cup. An early penalty forced Barkow to take some serious action. According to Chris Love, Director of Video Production, “As she was leading Jury coming into the windward mark, Barkow luffed up and tried to draw Jury in to either draw a penalty or get him out of position so she could extend to get rid of hers At first Jury was reluctant to engage but then he took an opportunity to go over the top. Sally kept him on the hook, made him tack and then tried to duck his stern, but didn’t quite make it.” Contact! Her bow bumper snagged his back stay which broke when the boats separated. Game Jury.

A furious Barkow turned the loss into an intensity that brought her wins for the remainder of the day. She quickly dispensed with William Tiller, Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL), Nicholai Sehested, TRE-FOR Match Racing (DEN), and Jordan Reece, True Blue Racing (AUS). One of the highlights of the day was the Tiller-Barkow race. Just after rounding the second windward mark beginning the final downwind leg, Sally was about 1.5 boat legs behind and expertly rolled Tiller to windward. The wind fell out of his chute and Barkow blew by him and he couldn’t catch up.

Shawn Bennett, Team Bennett (USA) is another team to watch closely. He won an automatic entry into the Knickerbocker Cup this year for his big win at the USMRC at Detroit YC last year. In extremely difficult wind conditions, he managed to pull off four wins with 5 matches during the morning flights.

PRO Sue Reilly, speaking about the leeward gate, used for the first time at the KCUP, had this to say, “I was surprised with the amount of boats that split sides at the gate. Other events that have used a gate 90 - 95% of the time both boats round the same gate. I don’t know what the stats were today, but it was more than I had expected. Dave Perry might be on to something.”

With the thread of a direct hit by Irene, RC is scrambling to finish the Round Robin quickly in the event the Harbor Master closes the bay to all activity. They will try to finish the Round Robin on Friday, but with wind conditions predicted to be light (the calm before the storm?) it will take some magic from Sue Reilly and her committee to get this done. For Reilly, this should be no problem.

Many thanks go to Dawn Riley, Executive Director, Oakcliff Sailing Center, for the use of their Swedish Match 40s.

Results after 10 Flights: (Wins-Matches Raced)

1. Laurie Jury (NZL) (5-5)
2. Sally Barkow (USA) (4-5)
3. Shawn Bennett (USA) (4-5)
4. Taylor Canfield (ISV) (3-5)
5. Nicolai Sehested (DEN (3-5)
6. Jon Singsen (USA) (3-5)
7. Reuben Corbett (NZL) (2-5)
8. Ollie-Pekka Lumijarvi (FIN) (2-5)
9. Robbie Allam (GBR) (1-5)
10. Jordan Reece (AUS) (1-5)
11. Bruce Stone (USA) (1-5)
12. William Tiller (NZL) (1-5)

Knickerbocker Cup