Saturday, 9 October 2010

WMRT: Williams misses cut on Repechage tie-breaker

Ian Williams. Image copyright Charles Anderson/RBYC.

by Talbot Wilson

A complex tiebreaker count-back knocked Great Britain’s Ian Williams out of the medal rounds in the Argo Group Gold Cup. He lost a three-way tiebreaker and failed to make the cut to move up to the Quarter-Finals from the ‘last chance’ repechage round-robin Friday morning.

The Group 4 six-team sail-off ended in a three-way tie between Williams, Kiwi Adam Minoprio’s BlackMatch Team and Great Britain’s three time Olympic gold medalist Ian Ainslie’s Team Origin. Ainslie beat Minoprio, Williams beat Ainslie, and Minoprio beat Williams. Each team had 4 wins and 1 loss.

Williams follows Minoprio. Image copyright Charles Anderson/RBYC.

Originally the event organizers and the umpires decided to stage a sail-off with the three teams. Each skipper drew a letter. Minoprio drew ‘A’, Ainslie drew ‘B’ and Williams was left with ‘C’. Under the scheme, Minoprio would sail Ainslie and the winner would qualify for the Quarter-Finals. The loser would then sail Williams and the winner of that match would advance while the loser would fall into the 5-8 bracket.

But Williams objected and filed a request for redress. Under the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) Chief Umpire Shane Borrell convened the international jury to here the request. They concluded that there was a three-way tie in the repechage group and that the repechage round was in fact part of Stage 1 of the event, sailed as Group 4.

Williams vs. Minoprio. Image copyright Charles Anderson/RBYC.

Under the RRS tiebreaker rule C11.1a as applied to the three competitors, Ainslie came out on top with two wins. He automatically moved up to the Quarter-Finals. Minoprio and Williams were still tied. The same tiebreaker rule was then applied again; and since Minoprio beat Williams in the only match they had sailed against each other so far, Minoprio took second place in the repechage. Minoprio moved up to the quarters and Williams lost their last chance.

Weather mark. Image copyright Charles Anderson/RBYC.

The set back for Williams and his Team GAC Pindar sponsored by Argo Group was enormous. He was ranked #4 on the Tour going into the Argo Group Gold Cup and hoped to pick up valuable Tour points in Bermuda.

“It is farcical,” said Williams, “that you could be knocked out based on a race you didn’t sail. It all came down to who won in Group 2 and we were not in that group. That’s basically it.”

Minoprio who moved up said, “I feel that no decision would have been ideal, but I think in the end it was the fairest decision they could make. I am glad that it went in our favor although it was too bad it had to be decided in this way, but it was fair.”

Ben Ainslie moves up to quarterfinals. Image copyright Charles Anderson/RBYC.

Ainslie added, "I feel really sorry for Ian, but I have been in that situation before. It is sometimes impossible to break a tie to suit everyone. The jury has to work with what they have got. You have to take it on the chin and move on.”

Prize purse for the Argo Group Gold Cup is $100,000 and the winner takes home $50,000 of that. Second place takes $20,000, third takes $10,000 and fourth $7500. Fifth through eighth split the rest.

Competition continues Saturday morning with the Quarter-Finals at 8:00.

Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Jesper Radich (DEN) Gaastra Racing Team
Taylor Canfield (USA)
Eric Monnin (SUI) Swiss Match Racing Team
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Reuben Corbett (NZL) Black Sheep Racing
Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch Racing

There will be boatloads of talent on the water today (Saturday). Mirsky is ranked #3 on the World Match Racing Tour. Radich is ranked #8 and won the Gold cup in 2002. Monnin has been in the Gold Cup Sunday racing six times in seven Gold Cups. Berntsson won the Gold Cup in 2008. Ainslie ranks #5 on the Tour and he stands as the defending champion of this classic regatta in Bermuda. Minoprio has been runner-up twice here and is hungry for a win. And the young hot shots, Canfield and Corbett have everything to win and nothing to loose. [Note from SailRaceWin: These are World Match Racing Tour current positions, not ISAF Rankings. Per ISAF, Minoprio is ranked #1 and Ainslie #2.]

Argo Group Gold Cup
World Match Racing Tour