by Luiz E. Kahl
In an thrilling first-to-three point Final, Josh Junior and his team of Matt Steven and James Sandall have taken victory in the Detroit Cup, second stop on the ISAF Grade 2 US Grand Slam Series. The Wellington, New Zealand-based team defeated runner-up Taylor Canfield only in the fifth and final match after first leading 2-0 in the series.
2012 Detroit Cup
Unlike all previous days of the four-day event that featured 12 teams from six nations, the wind today held steady enough to have no delays in completing the format of Finals and Petit Finals, with a 6-12 knot southerly providing perfect conditions for close racing. This prompted the Final Four teams to be particularly aggressive in their pre-starts, the site for most of today’s penalties.
Yet the first flag flown was not for a penalty, but for being over early at the start, as Junior was forced to re-round the pin end while Canfield started clear at the other end of the start. But with the strong river current favoring Junior, he got back quickly into the match, took the lead, and went on to score the first point.
AJ9D0113 - 2012 Detroit Cup
The next match it looked like Canfield would win the favored pin end, but with Junior pushing hard to leeward while the two were luffing, Canfield was deemed to have not kept clear and was accordingly penalized – not once, but twice. Forced to do one penalty turn after the start, Canfield could not recover, and found himself down 2-0 in a must-win situation for the third match.
The pre-start looked as though Junior would be on his way to another win, but Canfield kept it close, and in a luffing move on the first beat managed to get a penalty, this time on Junior. Canfield then took the lead, but Junior was close behind at the top mark, poised to take it back on the run. After gybing inside after the set, Junior tried to roll over Canfield, but could once again not keep clear when Canfield defended with a hard luff. Another blue flag then appeared from the umpires, forcing Junior to drop their spinnaker and do their turn, never able to recover to challenge for the lead.
In the fourth match, the action was again close at the pre-start, with both boats being called over early but Canfield able to pull out ahead, hold the lead, and sail to tied score for the fifth and final match.
AJ9D0138 - 2012 Detroit Cup
In this match, Junior came out strong off the start and forced Canfield over to the far right corner of the course, where both apparently hooked weeds on their keels at the north end of Belle Isle, leaving Junior to come out ahead. The drag from the weeds was apparently so bad that Canfield’s team dropped their spinnaker early before the bottom mark, went head to wind, and backed down while the Kiwis sailed away into victory.
In Petit Final action, David Gilmour from Australia won the first match against Stephanie Roble, and was leading most of the second match until the final few lengths of the last downwind leg to the finish when rolled by Roble. Claiming she had the right to gybe to the pin end of the finish, Roble gybed to port but Gilmour held fast on starboard. The penalty went against Roble, as she was not within the required two lengths, thus ceding the match and third place to Gilmour.
Josh Junior and team - 2012 Detroit Cup
Detroit Cup website