by Dobbs Davis
2014 Detroit Cup - In the first of four days of match race sailing at the 2014 Detroit Cup, Australia’s Sam Gilmour and his Neptune Racing Team from Australia have taken the early lead. Gilmour leads a field of twelve teams from six countries racing here through Sunday in this ISAF Grade Two event in this second stop of the USA Grand Slam match racing series.
2014 Detroit Cup
Gilmour has six wins and only one loss thusfar for an 86% success record, an impressive feat for a first-time competitor to this event, which is raced in Bayview YC’s fleet of equally-matched Ultimate 20’s. Gilmour is the second-highest ranked skipper at 11th on the ISAF Open Match Race Ranking List, behind Pierre-Antoine Morvan of France who is ranked at seventh in the world.
Gilmour and several other competitors were last week in Chicago on the first stop of the Grand Slam series at the Chicago Grand Slam, but another top contender for the lead today is not a regular player on the world circuit. Matt Graham and his Rowdy Racing team from host Bayview YC is ranked 67th in the world, quite far from Gilmour and Morvan, but has amassed an impressive five - one win-loss record, nearly equal to Gilmour in this Round Robin stage of the competition.
'With four little guys on our team,' said Graham, 'we were very aggressive in the roll-tacks, and I know that helped our speed. Our mark roundings were also good with that extra set of hands. In the sets and drops.'
2014 Detroit Cup
Conditions today were generally light, with a five - eight knot easterly that came and went with partially cloudy skies, but race managers still completed 10 flights of the 16.5 needed to finish the Round Robin. And a regular feature of racing here in the Detroit River is the constant two - knot river current that moves through the course area positioned for easy spectating in front of the grounds of the Bayview YC. This caught out some teams unaccustomed to this strong current.
'We don’t have this in home,' said Maximillian Soh of Team Red Dot from Singapore. 'We’re used to having the tide shift every six hours, not stay constant!' Soh said in jest at the post-race press conference. Like some teams, Soh had a rough zero - three start to his day, but then reversed that tide to become even up on his current three - three record.
Another team with a tough start was Dustin Durant from Long Beach YC, who in his first match with Chris Poole hit his boat against Poole’s boat so hard in a pre-start maneuver that the resulting damage not only eroded into his damage deposit, but cost him a full point. So in losing that match to Poole, Durant had a score of - one -one.
'I was proud of my team for keeping their cool and bouncing back from that incident,' said Durant. 'Coming back to win the next three was really important for our morale.'
Live streaming video coverage of the 2014 Detroit Cup can be viewed on the event website and is being provided by Isao Toyoma with commentary from veteran match racer and umpire Dobbs Davis.
Tomorrow match race action resumes at 10:00 EDT from the Bayview YC, with the completion of the Round Robin expected by day’s end before progressing to the Quarter-Finals on Saturday.
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2014 Detroit Cup Result: