Friday, 10 October 2008

Bermuda Gold Cup action from BlackMatch

Fresh Breeze action against the out of control Canadian Team, seconds before the boom broke on Adam Minoprio's (BlackMatch Racing) boat. Image copyright Charles Anderson.

by David Swete

Tuesday, 7th October was the opening day of racing at the King Edward VII Gold Cup World Tour Event. This regatta has an awesome history with a host of legendary past winners including Kiwis Russell Coutts, Chris Dickson and Rod Davis.

It is sailed in Caribbean waters on the stunning Hamilton Harbour in the very classical International One Design Yachts. The Gold Cup is not only unique for its location and beautiful yachts, but it also has a format unlike any other match racing event which allows 24 teams to compete.

Teams are divided into 3 groups of 8 and after racing each other in a round robin, only the top 2 teams from each group proceed through to the quarterfinals. 3rd and 4th from each group are left to battle it out in a repechage series to decide the remaining two quarterfinalists while the bottom four from each group go home.

We got off to a great start today in fresh conditions, winning our first two matches of the day, only to break our boom in our last match whilst we had a significant lead over the Canadian team. This defeat was a little hard to swallow as prior to the race we had a boat swap and were extremely concerned with the condition of the boom, we raised the issue with the race organisers but were told to start anyway and unfortunately were not granted redress when the boom failed.

In our match against Danish hopeful Rasmus Viltoft we totally dominated after Adam nailed a text book start, not only forcing a penalty on our opposition but also forcing them to be over at the start. Our opening match of the day against American Andy Horton, was however a little closer. We again nailed the start and led off the start line, but still coming to terms with the tricky IOD Yachts meant we lacked a little boat speed upwind and trailed going into the first downwind.

We had an excellent spinnaker set and managed to roll over the top of the US team on the run to the bottom mark but received a penalty when he luffed us violently and we failed to keep clear. On the next few legs we had sorted our speed issues out to extend significantly and position ourselves nicely to do our penalty turn while keeping our starboard right of way. On completion of our penalty the Americans had closed the game back up but we forced them to tack and took them past the top mark. It was a hectic final downwind as they threw everything at us but we defended our lead well to take a narrow victory.

We are looking forward to tomorrows racing and are confident we can keep building on our good start at this regatta and take on the higher ranked skippers in our group.

A special thank you to our sponsors, FedEx Express and Ross Munro from Line 7, their ongoing support is making this opportunity possible for the BlackMatch boys. To the RNZYS and everyone else thank you for your support.

BlackMatch Racing

No comments: