Sunday, 12 October 2008

Eight Teams Rise to the Top in Bermuda

Johnie Berntsson of Sweden makes the quarterfinals in Bermuda. Image copyright Charles Anderson.

by Dobbs Davis and Talbot Wilson

After the seventh and last flight of the Round Robin, six of eight teams have qualified today to advance to the Quarter-final round in the King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group, with a five-flight Repechage round amongst six teams also determining the final two slots. Among these are two undefeated teams from the UK, reigning World Champion Ian Williams and his Team Pindar along with Olympic Gold Medallist Ben Ainslie and his Team Origin. These two will meet, respectively, Mattias Rahm (SWE) and his Stena Bulk Sailing Team and Tour newcomer Keith Swinton (AUS) of Black Swan Racing when sailing resumes tomorrow morning.

Ian Williams got through to the quarterfinals at the 2008 Gold Cup. Image copyright Charles Anderson.

Other teams qualified from the Round Robin include Mathieu Richard and his French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit, Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Sebastian Col and his French Match Racing Team/K Challenge, and on count back, Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing Team. Racing today was once again in ideal 6-12 knot conditions in Hamilton harbor.

Despite the top-two qualifying positions of their rivals, Rahm and Swinton may have an initial advantage coming into this first-to-three point series for having had to battle an additional five flights of racing in the Repechage round.

“We definitely feel the extra competition has helped hone our skills coming into tomorrow,” said Rahm, though rival Williams jokingly pointed out that while Rahm may have won every match today, he lost every match yesterday, “so I wonder which Rahm we’ll face tomorrow?” Williams then remarked “No, I think he will bring their A game, so it will likely be a tough fight.”

Ian Williams and Team Pindar round in the lead. Image copyright Charles Anderson.

Ironically, it was against fellow qualifier Swinton that Rahm had one of his tougher matches in the Repechage. During their initial pre-start encounter, Rahm hesitated just a little too long on port tack to avoid Swinton, and the two collided, earning Rahm a penalty from match umpires Brad Dellenbaugh (USA) and Bob Duffy (BER). Rahm went on to get off the start without further incident and extend to enough of a lead to peel off his penalty and take the match. But a post-race hearing to determine fault due to the damage caused to the International One Designs (IOD’s ) used for this event determined partial blame to go to Swinton as well as Rahm, with the unusual outcome of Rahm being assessed a ¼ point scoring penalty and Swinton a ½ point penalty.

Keith Swinton sails against Mattias Rahm on Hamilton Harbour. Image copyright Charles Anderson.

“It definitely was confusing to us,” said Swinton, “but it makes sense after we went through the hearing.” A Perth native and late entry to the Gold Cup, Swinton is making his first appearance at a Tour event and by qualifying for the quarter finals is certainly turning a few heads.

After three days of racing at the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group in Hamilton harbor, the field is narrowing as sailors vie for the coveted honor of becoming the king of this great match-up. With the frontrunners going into the quarter-finals tomorrow primarily from England, France and Sweden current World Champion Ian Williams from the UK (7-0) and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist in the Finn Class Ben Ainslie (7-0) of the UK are topping the scoreboard.

Results after Two Stages:


Ben Ainslie (GBR) V Keith Swinton (AUS)
Ian Williams (GBR) V Mattias Rahm (SWE)
Sebastien Col (FRA) V Adam Minoprio (NZL)
Mathieu Richard (FRA) V Johnie Berntsson (SWE)


Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 5-0
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing, 4-1
Eric Monnin (SUI), 3-5
Andrew Horten (USA), 2-5
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 1-4
Donald Wilson (USA), 0-5

Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin, 7-0
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit, 6-1
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 5-2
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 4-3
Chris Van Tol (USA) Van Tol Match Racing Team, 1-6
Takumi Nakamura (JPN) Team Albatross, 2-5
Brian Angel (USA) King Harbour Yacht Club, 2-5
Sally Barkow (USA) Team 7 Racing, 1-6

Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar, 7-0
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing Team, 5-2
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing, 3-4
Andrew Horton (USA), 5-2
Rasmus Viltoft (DEN), 3-4
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team, 2-5
Erik Koppernaes (CAN), 1-6
Jon Singsen (USA), 1-6

Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, 6-1
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K Challenge, 5-2
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 3-4
Donald Wilson (USA), 4-3
David Perry (USA), 3-4
Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA) ETM Match Racing, 2-5
Eric Monnin (SUI), 3-4
Blythe Walker (BDA), 2-5

World Match Racing Tour

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