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Southern Spars

Argo Group Gold Cup - Semi Finals delayed

by Talbot Wilson and Laurie Fullerton on 13 Oct 2013
Semi final racing in the Argo Group Gold Cup. © Charles Anderson /Argo Group Gold Cup
Argo Group Gold Cup - In the very light and shifty conditions, the Semi Finals were delayed after only one race in each match. Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) BART/Argo Group defeated Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX in a runaway. Ainslie was masterful in picking his way through the shifts and taking the best of the puffs.

The sole race between Argo Group Gold Cup defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone and Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa went to Bruni by maybe a bow roller. In the three-lap puff hopper, the lead changed on wind shifts, penalties. Then with Canfield in the lead approaching the final windward mark on starboard, he had a windless mark rounding and a slower spinnaker set.

Bruni came rolling up the port tack layline on a good puff for the day, made a gentle rounding and a perfect, quick set. He took the inside on starboard heading downwind. Canfield was ahead, but to leeward. Bruni made gains on the puffs before they moved down to Canfield. Bruni was able to nip Canfield at the finish to take a point. Best to three wins.

Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team took fifth place by defeating Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing in the first match between skippers who had lost the Quarter Finals. Hansen then faced Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar who had earlier defeated Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA. Hansen took the win and put Williams into fourth place. Swinton then defeated Robertson taking seventh place and leaving eighth for the young Kiwi.

The committee was finally able to get off the 7-8 place match between Swinton and Robertson, but because of the poor racing conditions and the lateness in the day the PRO David Campbell-James decided to look for better racing conditions on Sunday. Racing may start as early as 9:00 ADT to get all the races in… Semi Finals, Petite finals and the big one for the Gold Cup and $50,000.

The forecast for the final day of the Argo Group Gold Cup is for Winds north-northeasterly 8 to 12 knots, veering east-northeasterly 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Quotes of the Day:

Taylor Canfield: 'The first and only race today was frustrating in that we were never able to get up to speed. We had a lead change where we were five boats behind and he rolled into us and we led throughout the next lap.

'We were pretty far ahead of him and we rounded in good pressure. He rounded shortly after us and he was on our tail with the last shift and he rolled over the top of us. It was very tough to lose it in the last second after leading most of the race.
'Tomorrow should be a fresh start for us and although it would be nice to have had that one, we will come back tomorrow morning and get right back at it.

Francesco Bruni: 'We got the win today against Taylor and this is only the second time perhaps that we have met on the race course. He is young and I am somewhat like an older diesel engine and he is like a fast sports car so that is something we are up against.

'He has improved a great deal and we were here at the Gold Cup two years ago when he was sailing. Right now, he is a dangerous opponent…we were leading at one point during the regatta and he turned it around on us very quickly. We will have tough races ahead of us with him.'
Iain Percy: 'For the Ainslie Team it was really a funky odd day on the race course. It was very difficult for the race committee. We won the only race. We are really going to have to start it all over again tomorrow with hopefully a better day of racing.'

Adam Minoprio: 'It was a tough first race as there was a point where there was absolutely no breeze at the top mark. As much as we tried to close in we just weren’t able to get that wind pressure to give us any speed. Going up against Ben Ainslie is a challenge. He has really not been away from match racing for that long and he is a top competitor at every level. He and his team don’t have any weaknesses - so all we can hope for is that we can capitalize on any mistakes and use that to our advantage.'

Meet the Semi Finalists:

Sir Ben Ainslie from Lymington, England is fresh out of the 34th America’s Cup where he was the spirit of the now famous Oracle AC72 comeback from the brink of sudden death. He has won the Agro Group Gold Cup twice, in 2009 and 2010. Ainslie is the most successful sailor in Olympic history having won four gold and a silver medal. Sailing with Ainslie are Iain Percy, Matt Cornwell, and Christian Kamp.

Francesco Bruni, from Palermo, Sicily was the America’s Cup tactician for Luna Rossa and will play a key role in their next challenge. He is one of the most complete, eclectic and winning active Italian sailors in 30 years of the sport. He has won 7 world, 5 European and 15 Italian championships in different classes: from Laser to Offshore, from Star to 49er. He has also reached first place in ISAF's Match Racing World ranking. He has raced with Team Luna Rossa in three America's Cup campaigns (2003, 2007, 2013). Bruni’s crew is Pierluigi de Felice, Xabi Fernandez and Nick Hutton.

Taylor Canfield from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands blasted away the competition at last year's Argo Group Gold Cup and is the defending champion. Having picked up an Alpari World Match Racing Tour card for 2013, he is currently tied for second on the Tour and is #1 in the ISAF Open rankings. He won the Tour’s Chicago Match Racing Regatta. Taylor and the USone team from the Chicago Match Race Center are defending the King Edward VII Gold Cup title. Sailing with Taylor are Rod Dawson, Dan Morris and Hayden Goodrick.

Adam Minoprio from Auckland, New Zealand is a former ISAF #1 Open ranked sailor. He was 2009 World Champion and is back as a Tour Card Holder for the 2013 season. He has had success this season finishing second in Germany, third in Korea and sixth in Sweden.

Minoprio returned to match racing after competing in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race where he finished second. In Argo Group Gold Cup competition, Minoprio finished second in 2009, and fifth in 2010 and 2012. Maybe here in 2013, it is his turn to hoist the cup. Joining Minoprio on the boat are Dave Swete, Nick Blackman and Tom Powrie.

Updated results are at Event website

Semi Final Racing continues at 9:00 ADT Bermuda weather forecast:
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