Sunday, 29 March 2009

Congressional Cup: BlackMatch Fall Short in California

Minoprio trails Berntsson, against whom he lost out in the tiebreaker for the final four places. Image copyright Rich Roberts.

by David Swete

After winning five straight matches in a phenomenal effort on Thursday, we needed only one win on Friday to progress through to the semi-finals. Meanwhile, Johnie Berntsson needed to win all three of his matches to progress and in true Swedish style, Johnie did just that while we suffered three losses and fell short of qualifying at our first Congressional Cup.

At the start of the day Britain's Ben Ainslie was also in contention to qualify, however, he too suffered losses as all of the luck went Johnie's way. Friday just wasn't our day, epitimised in our race against Francesco Bruni when we forced a penalty on him during the pre-start and got the side of the course we wanted, only to be left high and dry when a lucky right hand wind shift filled in on the Italian team and they managed to gain enough of an advantage to do their penalty turn on the finish line and take the win.

We had our chances and things just didn't go our way, but after a fantastic week here in California we remain positive and have definitely learnt from the experience of having the legendary Rod Davis on board. Local guru Steve Flam, who has also won two Congressional Cups as tactician, was also amazing to have on board and we would like to thank these two guys as it was an honour to sail with them this week.

BlackMatch would like to congratulate Johnie Berntsson, Terry Hutchinson, Mathieu Richard, Francesco Bruni and their crews for reaching the semi-finals and we are looking forward to viewing some great action out on the water. Although we have been knocked out of the main event we still have the infamous fleet race to compete in and with Adam's older brother, Simon, taking the fleet race out over the past two years, we are hoping to emulate this and finish on a positive note.

We would like to again thank our sponsors FedEx Express and Line 7 who have stuck by us throughout our campaign. To the RNZYS, Emirates Team New Zealand and everyone else, thank you also for your support. We would also like to say a special thank you to the FedEx Express team who came out and watched us on Friday. It was a shame we couldn't pull through for you but it was great to have a fan club all the way over here in America.

Standings: After 2 Round Robins

1. Terry Hutchinson 15.0
2. Mathieu Richard 13.0
3. Francesco Bruni 13.0
4. Johnie Berntsson 10.0
5. Adam Minoprio 10.0
6. Ben Ainslie 9.0
7. Sebastien Col 7.5
8. Staffan Lindberg 7.0
9. Philippe Presti 4.0
10. Brian Angel 1.0

BlackMatch Racing
Congressional Cup

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