Photos/Report: Argo Group Gold Cup

October 6, 2012

Semi-final pairings have been drawn at the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup for racing scheduled for today [Oct 6] at 11am Bermuda time. Taylor Canfield (ISV) with the best record in the final four chose to race Eric Monnin (SUI).

Top Alpari Match Racing Tour and and top ISAF ranked match racer Ian Williams (GBR) and Tour Card Holder Johnie Berntsson (SWE) are the other pair in the first to three point matches. The two winners will move on the the Finals on Sunday.

The overall winner picks up $50,000 of the $100,000 prize purse. Second place gets $20,000, third gets $10,000 and fourth takes $7,000 and the remainder is divided by the other four Quarter Finalists.

The Quarter Final matches are knock outs with first to three in each of the matches moving on the the Semi Finals on Saturday. Tomorrow may be a little more dicy than today. Bermuda Weather predicts winds variable 5 knots, becoming southeasterly in the afternoon, then veering southerly late night..

Slideshow of yesterday’s Argo Group Gold Cup action:

Canfield’s Team Chicago Match Race Center was the first Semi Final qualifier Friday morning in the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. He defeated David Chapman (AUS) 3-0 getting two early matches in while other matches were postponed or abandoned.

Canfield was seeded third in his qualifying group, but topped that field with 8 points. He clearly out-sailed the young Aussie today. Chapman, ranked 91 by ISAF, was the only lower seeded skipper to break into the Quarter Finals. Canfield played the shifts and puffs and kept his boat moving through the frightfully light air coming over the buildings of downtown Hamilton.

“We were comfortable in our pre-starts today.” Canfield said. “We had our timing down well and were able to get off the line ahead of Chapman and that helped us a lot today. It was shifty, but we kept a constant conversation going on the boat. The wind is always shifting on Hamilton harbor so you really have to stay on it constantly. The team did a great job.”

Eric Monnin (SUI) Oklays Corum Sailing Team was next to climb through, defeating Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team by 3-1

After two matches they were even, but Monnin picked up the pace as the wind began to move to the right and stabilize somewhat. He took the next two matches to move on.

This is Monnin’s fourth trip to the Semi Finals. After the race he commented, “The conditions today we were really challenging and lucky that the wind conditions just went our way against Steffan.”

Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar, currently the top ranked skipper on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and top ranked by ISAF, was next through taking three straight from Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Argo Group. Williams was at the top of his form. He took all the starts, hit all the shifts, found puffs where they hadn’t been before and led from start to finish in all three races.

“It’s never easy racing against Adam Minoprio,” Williams said. “We really feel we dominated the starts. And tactician Bill Hardesty did a great job calling every shift. Overall the team did a fantastic job. We did rely heavily on Bill to call the shifts. What the rest of us do is just keep the boat going fast… keeping us fast means we have a lot more options. So, sailing fast is key.

The closest action in the Williams-Minoprio match was in the pre-start. Williams led the Kiwi on a tour through the mooring field behind the starting line. He went between two mooring balls and came so close to one boat that he almost hooked his backstay on the anchor of the bow on a cruiser.

The two Swedish skippers Johnie Berntsson, Berntsson Sailing Team, and Bjorn Hansen, Mekonomen Sailing, had a rematch from their final race on Thursday. The pair exchanged wins to stand 1-1 but then Berntssen took the next two in a row.

Berntsson said, “It may have looked easy sometimes but we had many times where the control shifted today. It was very much about what came with the next shift. So, we had our work cut out for us today.”

Full listings of the results in each group, in the Quarter Finals and the pairings for the Semi Final matches that begin at 10:00 Saturday may be found at argogroupgoldcup.com/.

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