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Ainslie and Williams in Bermuda quarter finals

by Talbot Wilson on 10 Oct 2008
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan RAcing makes his debut on the World Match Racing Tour - King Edward V11 Gold Cup WMRT © http://www.worldmatchracingtour.com

The Quarter-final line-up in the Bermuda Gold Cup was completed yesterday. World Champion Ian Williams faces Mattias Rahm of Sweden and Ben Ainslie meets Keith Swinton of Australia. Sebastien Col of France meets Kiwi Adam Minoprio and France's Mathieu Richard goes against Johnie Berntsson of Sweden.

Among these are two undefeated teams from the UK, reigning World Champion Ian Williams and Team Pindar along with Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Ainslie and Team Origin. These two will meet, respectively, Mattias Rahm and Stena Bulk Sailing Team and Tour newcomer Keith Swinton of Black Swan Racing when sailing resumes Friday morning.

Other teams qualified from the Round Robin include Mathieu Richard and French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit, Johnie Berntsson, Sebastian Col and French Match Racing Team/K Challenge, and on count back, Adam Minoprio, Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing Team. Racing Thursday was once again in ideal 6-12 knot conditions in Hamilton harbor.

Despite the top-two qualifying positions of their rivals, Rahm and Swinton may have an initial advantage coming into this first-to-three point series for having had to battle an additional five flights of racing in the Repechage round.

'We definitely feel the extra competition has helped hone our skills coming into tomorrow,' said Rahm, though rival Williams jokingly pointed out that while Rahm may have won every match today, he lost every match yesterday, 'so I wonder which Rahm we’ll face tomorrow?' Williams then remarked 'No, I think he will bring their A game, so it will likely be a tough fight.'

Ironically, it was against fellow qualifier Swinton that Rahm had one of his tougher matches in the Repechage. During their initial pre-start encounter, Rahm hesitated just a little too long on port tack to avoid Swinton, and the two collided, earning Rahm a penalty from match umpires Brad Dellenbaugh (USA) and Bob Duffy (BER). Rahm went on to get off the start without further incident and extend to enough of a lead to peel off his penalty and take the match.

But a post-race hearing to determine fault due to the damage caused to the International One Designs used for this event determined partial blame to go to Swinton as well as Rahm, with the unusual outcome of Rahm being assessed a ¼ point scoring penalty and Swinton a ½ point penalty.

'It definitely was confusing to us,' said Swinton, 'but it makes sense after we went through the hearing.' A Perth native and late entry to the Gold Cup, Swinton is making his first appearance at a Tour event and by qualifying for the quarter finals is certainly turning a few heads.

After three days of racing at the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group in Hamilton harbor, the field is narrowing as sailors vie for the coveted honor of becoming the king of this great match-up. With the frontrunners going into the quarter-finals Friday primarily from England, France and Sweden current World Champion Ian Williams from the UK (7-0) and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist in the Finn Class Ben Ainslie (7-0) of the UK are topping the scoreboard.

Results after Two Stages:

QUARTERFINALISTS
Ben Ainslie (GBR) V Keith Swinton (AUS)
Ian Williams (GBR) V Mattias Rahm (SWE)
Sebastien Col (FRA) V Adam Minoprio (NZL)
Mathieu Richard (FRA) V Johnie Berntsson (SWE)

REPECHAGE
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 5-0
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing, 4-1
Eric Monnin (SUI) Search.ch, 3-5
Andrew Horten (USA), 2-5
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 1-4
Donald Wilson (USA), 0-5

GROUP 1
Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin, 7-0
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit, 6-1
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 5-2
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 4-3
Chris Van Tol (USA) Van Tol Match Racing Team, 1-6
Takumi Nakamura (JPN) Team Albatross, 2-5
Brian Angel (USA) King Harbour Yacht Club, 2-5
Sally Barkow (USA) Team 7 Racing, 1-6

GROUP 2
Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar, 7-0
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing Team, 5-2
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing, 3-4
Andrew Horton (USA), 5-2
Rasmus Viltoft (DEN), 3-4
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team, 2-5
Erik Koppernaes (CAN), 1-6
Jon Singsen (USA), 1-6

GROUP 3
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, 6-1
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K Challenge, 5-2
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 3-4
Donald Wilson (USA), 4-3
David Perry (USA), 3-4
Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA) ETM Match Racing, 2-5
Eric Monnin (SUI) Search.ch, 3-4
Blythe Walker (BDA), 2-5

Article provided by Dobbs Davis/Talbot Wilson

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