Repechage Round Underway At Argo Gold Cup

October 9, 2015

With six of the eight quarterfinalists set at the $100,000 Argo Group Gold Cup, all eyes are on the Repechage Round to see which two crews will join the action slated for Friday.

At the end of today Chris Steele’s 36 Below Racing from New Zealand and Keith Swinton’s Black Swan Racing from Australia have the edge. They’re each at 2-0 with two of seven scheduled flights completed.

Keith Swinton’s Black Swan Racing from Australia eyes a spot in the Quarterfinal Round of the Argo Group Gold Cup. [Photo by Charles Anderson/RBYC photo.]

AGGC PR 06_Oct 8-1

“Today was more tactful, with the wind lighter than yesterday,” said Steele, who’s competing at the Argo Group Gold Cup for the second time. Steele sees his place in the repechage as somewhat unlucky, given that he lost three races in which he had control But he was undone by penalties in each instance.

“I’d rather be assured of a spot in the quarterfinals, but the repechage gives us more practice in these boats,” Steele said of the International One-Design sloops. “My crew and I are sailing together as a group for the first time, and these boats are so different to anything any of us sail. The dynamics change with the wind strength. So we’re happy to get the extra practice.”

Besides Steele and Swinton the Repechage Round also includes two America’s Cup teams, Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan and Francesco Bruni’s Artemis Racing, World Match Racing Tour regular Johnie Berntsson’s racing team [the event’s reigning champion from Sweden], Blythe Walker’s Team RenRe from Bermuda, and two other younger teams – Chris Poole’s Riptide Racing from the U.S. and Reuben Corbett’s racing team from New Zealand.

Six teams have already qualified for the quarterfinals, based on finishing in the top three in their respective groups in the rounds robin. The teams from Group A include Phil Robertson’s WAKA Racing, Eric Monnin’s Swiss Match Race Team and Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar.

Robertson has previously finished fourth in 2011. Today he and his crew went 3-0 to overtake Monnin for the group win. He called the Argo Group Gold Cup the hardest event he’s sailed this year.

“We got penalties on two of our opponents and that made it a little easier because we were behind in each race,” said Robertson. “We were getting off the line alright but playing it safe on the racecourse. The left side was a little more favored and we were trying to get there.”

The teams from Group B are Taylor Canfield’s US One, Björn Hansen’s Nautiska Racing and Adam Minoprio’s BlackMatch.

Hansen, racing in Bermuda for the 12th time, found his footing today after being the last skipper to arrive in Bermuda. He landed Tuesday night after his travel plans from Europe were delayed by Hurricane Joaquin, and had a hasty practice session yesterday morning.

Hansen posted a 4-0 record today to finish second in Group B at 5-2. Even more impressive is that his crew has a new tactician this week, Massimo Bortoletto of Italy, who used to sail with Francesco Bruni.

“Massimo is the 100th sailor in our crew since the team was founded in 1997,” said Hansen. “The communication’s been a little difficult since he’s an Italian speaking English in a Swedish crew, but he’s been very calm. Except for when we raced Bruni. Then he was very nervous throughout the race, so it’s a good thing we beat him.”

“He shouldn’t have been nervous,” said Bruni, a past champion who’s now helming for Artemis Racing and standing 1-1 in the Repechage Round. “I’m very rusty at match racing. You can’t just come back after not having done it for a few years. I’m not thinking quickly enough.”

The Argo Group Gold Cup is sponsored by the Argo Group, an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products in areas of the property and casualty market. Additional sponsors include the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Bacardi, Guy Carpenter, RenaissanceRe, Aon Benfield, and the World Match Racing Tour and Match Racing Association.

Argo Group Gold Cup Group Standings: Repechage Round [after two of seven flights]

  • 1. Chris Steele [NZL] 36 Below Racing, 2-0 – 2 points
  • 2. Keith Swinton [AUS] Black Swan Racing, 2-0 – 2 points
  • 3. Dean Barker [JPN] SoftBank Team Japan, 1-1 – 1 point
  • 4. Francesco Bruni [SWE] Artemis Racing, 1-1 – 1 point
  • 5. Reuben Corbett [NZL] Corbet Racing, 1-1 – 1 point
  • 6. Johnie Berntsson [SWE] Berntsson Sailing Team, 1-1 – 1 point
  • 7. Blythe Walker [BER] Team RenRe, -0-2 – 0 points
  • 8. Chris Poole [USA] Riptide Racing, 0-2 – 0 points

Group A Final Results [after seven flights]

  • 1. Phil Robertson [NZL] WAKA Racing, 5-2 – 5 points
  • 2. Eric Monnin [SUI] Swiss Match Race Team, 5-2 – 5 points
  • 3. Ian Williams [GBR] Team GAC Pinar, 5-2 – 4.5 points*
  • 4. Johnie Berntsson [SWE] Berntsson Sailing Team, 4-3 – 4 points
  • 5. Dean Barker [JPN] SoftBank Team Japan, 3-4 – 3 points
  • 6. Chris Poole [USA] RipTide Racing, 3-4 – 3 points
  • 7. Blythe Walker [BER] Team RenRe, 2-5 – 2 points
  • 8. Joachim Aschenbrenner [DEN] Aschenbrenner Racing Team, 1-6 – 1 point

Group B Final Results [after seven flights]

  • 1. Taylor Canfield [ISV] US One, 7-0 – 7 points
  • 2. Björn Hansen [SWE] Nautiska Racing, 5-2 – 5 points
  • 3. Adam Minoprio [NZL] BlackMatch, 5-2 – 4.5 points*
  • 4. Chris Steele [NZL] 36 Below Racing, 4-3 – 4 points
  • 5. Keith Swinton [AUS] Black Swan Racing, 3-4 – 3 points
  • 6. Francesco Bruni [SWE] Artemis Racing, 2-5 – 2 points
  • 7. Reuben Corbett [NZL] Corbet Racing, 2-5 – 2 points
  • 8. Nicolai Sehested [DEN] Tre-For Match Racing, 0-7 – 0 points

[* Penalty assessed for causing damage. Visit the Argo Group Gold Cup website for more information. View race-by-race results at the World Match Racing Tour website.]

Argo Group Gold Cup Crew List

Skipper: Joachim Aschenbrenner [21, Fredensborg, Denmark]
Team: Aschenbrenner Racing Team
Crew: Jeppe Ditlev [bow], Jonas Funk [mainsheet], Hans Christian Wegge [headsails trimmer]

Skipper: Dean Barker [43, Auckland, New Zealand]
Team: SoftBank Team Japan
Crew: Chris Draper [tactics and mainsheet], Jeremy Lomas [headsails trimmer], Kazuhiko Sofuku [bow]

Skipper: Johnie Berntsson [43, Stennungsund, Sweden]
Team: Berntsson Sailing Team
Crew: Jakob Gustavson [headsails trimmer], Robert Skarp [tactics and bow], Carl Uckelstam [mainsheet]

Skipper: Francesco Bruni [42, Palermo, Italy]
Team: Artemis Racing
Crew: Christian Kamp [headsails trimmer], Luke Parkinson [bow], Iain Percy [tactics and mainsheet]

Skipper: Taylor Canfield [26, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands]
Team: USone Sailing Team
Crew: Garth Ellingham [tactics and mainsheet], Hayden Goodrick [bow], Mike Rehe [headsails trimmer]

Skipper: Reuben Corbett [27, Kerikeri, New Zealand]
Team: Corbett Racing
Crew: Tom Dawson, Jay Halligan, Robert Nyberg

Skipper: Björn Hansen [47, Mariehamm, Aland Islands, Sweden]
Team: Nautiska Racing
Crew: Massimo Bortoletto [tactics and mainsheet], Mathias Bredin [bow], Phillip Kai Guhle [headsails

Skipper: Eric Monnin [40, Zurich, Switzerland]
Team: Swiss Match Race Team
Crew: Simon Brugger [headsails trimmer], Jean-Claude Monnin [pit], Marc Monnin [bow], Mathieu
Richard [tactics and mainsheet]

Skipper: Adam Minoprio [30, Auckland, New Zealand]
Team: BlackMatch
Crew: Andrew Burgess, Nick Blackman, Tom Powrie

Skipper: Chris Poole [25, Falmouth, Maine, USA]
Team: RipTide Racing
Crew: Sam Barron-Fox [mainsheet], John Colburn [bow and trimmer], Chris Kennedy [bow and trimmer]

Skipper: Phil Robertson [28, Auckland, New Zealand]
Team: WAKA Racing
Crew: Sylvain Barielle, Sam Bell, Luke Payne

Skipper: Nicolai Sehested [25, Copenhagen, Denmark]
Team: TREFOR Match Racing
Crew: Brad Farrand [headsails trimmer], Jonas Hviid [bow], Peter Wibroe [mainsheet]

Skipper: Chris Steele [22, Auckland, New Zealand]
Team: 36 Below Racing
Crew: Stewart Dodson, Adam Negri, Justin Wong

Skipper: Keith Swinton [29, Perth, Western Australia]
Team: Black Swan Racing
Crew: Ted Hackney [headsails trimmer], Henry Kernot [mainsheet], Björn Lundgren [bow]

Skipper: Blythe Walker [47, Hamilton, Bermuda]
Team: Team RenRe
Crew: Adam Barboza [mainsheet], Somers Kempe [headsails trimmer], Will Thompson [bow]

Skipper: Ian Williams [38, Lymington, England]
Team: GAC Pindar
Crew: Chris Main [tactics and bow], Gerry Mitchell [headsails trimmer], Mal Parker [mainsheet]


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  1. It is fantastic seeing soooooo much happening in our waters!