During competition Saturday morning at the Argo Group Gold Cup, skippers 5-8 from the Quarter Finals sailed a knock-out series to determine their finishes. Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Argo Group got to choose his opponent and selected the young Aussie David Chapman. That left Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team to race Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team in the other consolation match.
Racing in the Semi Finals of the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup sailed out of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Hamilton Bermuda. This is Stage 7 of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
In the first-to-one point series, Minoprio handily defeated Chapman. He moved on to the second flight against Hansen, who had defeated Lindberg in their match. The conditions were once again light and shifty. The winners were those who won the starts and then played the puffs up and down the course.
In Flight 2, Minoprio defeated Hansen, ranked second on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, and won $5,500 of the $100,000 purse for the Gold Cup. Minoprio was on his game Saturday after losing three straight to Ian Williams in the Quarter Finals Friday.
Bjorn Hansen finished in sixth place for $4,000, Lindberg was seventh for $2500 and Chapman took eighth for $1,000.
After getting in just two flights the winds died, and the Semi Final first-to-three series was postponed until Sunday.
Taylor Canfield (ISV) Team Chicago Match Race Center with the best record in the finals chose to race Eric Monnin (SUI) Oklays Corum Sailing Team. In the first flight there were several lead changes on the shifty course. Sometimes the racers seemed to be going almost the same direction on different tacks. Canfield took the first race by a good margin.
'It was very difficult today to even see the breeze or where it was coming from,' Canfield said. 'I think Eric Monnin did an excellent job coming from behind in the second race to take the win.'
Canfield had taken the lead from Monnin in Flight 2, but Monnin got it back on a wind shift up the right side of the course where the direction and pressure seemed to be best in both races. Monnin took the win in a close finish as Canfield was charging in on a fresh downwind puff.
Monnin commented on the day saying, 'Today was a bit too much of what we wanted because we do generally like light air. This was a little too light. As soon as we were in the lead, there was actually more opportunity for the person behind to catch up, so there were a lot of lead changes today between Taylor and us. The 1-1 score today reflects what was happening on the water.'
Johnie Berntsson, (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, took two wins from Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar, the current Tour leader. Berntsson’s performance was nearly flawless as he won both starts and pushed Williams to the left both times and took the middle and right side of the course upwind. Williams will need to win the last three in a row to move on to the Finals.
Berntsson commented, 'I am happy to be sitting here 2-0 going into the remainder of the semi-finals. It was very light wind and we needed to come back and keep control today. We did not always get to be where we wanted to be at the starts. We are just glad to have the 2-0 and are looking forward to good racing tomorrow.'
Williams made the second race close as he rode a fresh breeze down the final leg. Berntsson finally got the same puff and was able to protect his lead and finish first.
'It wasn’t a great day for us, Williams admitted. 'Throughout the week we have had good days and bad days. Today just wasn’t a good day. The conditions today were very hard because we could not see the breeze forming on the water. We put too much emphasis on trying to see the breeze on the water and that is where we should have focused elsewhere I think.
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.
Look for a better day for the conclusion of racing. Sunday’s forecast is for winds south-southeasterly five to 10 knots... Isolated showers with mainly fair visibility.
The semi-finals will continue at 10:00AM Sunday. One race of the Petite Finals will be sailed before noon and then the Junior Gold Cup final race will be sailed on Hamilton Harbour. The remainder of the Petite finals and Finals will start at 2:00PM local time (ADT/GMT-3).
World Match Racing Tour website
Argo Group Gold Cup website