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Berntsson v Minoprio in Bermuda Gold Cup Final

by Dobbs Davis/World Match Racing Tour on 12 Oct 2008
Minoprio defeats Ainslie in semi finals - King Edward V11 Gold Cup WMRT © http://www.worldmatchracingtour.com

The upsets continue here in Hamilton Harbour as Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and his Berntsson Racing Team and Adam Minoprio (NZL) and the Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing team advance to tomorrow’s Final round at the King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group. Berntsson decisively defeated fellow Swede Mattias Rahm and his Stena Bulk Sailing Team on a straight 3-0 score, while Minoprio took it all the way to the fifth match to defeat Ben Ainslie (GBR) and his Team Origin.

This is the first World Match Racing Tour final for both teams, where they will vie for the top prize of US$50,000.

'We’re certainly excited to get to our first Tour Finals,' said Minoprio, after having gotten to the Semi’s in two, it feels great to finally have a chance at the top prize. In jest, Minoprio added 'And we plan to make all that we can at having got past one of the world’s top sailors!'

Berntsson’s apparent romp over Rahm was in contrast to their intense rivalry, as the two trained together in preparation for this event at their home club in Sweden, the Royal Gothenburg Sailing Club (GKSS), so their matches were indeed tight fights, especially in the pre-starts. Nonetheless, Rahm has had an up and down cycle of success here in Bermuda, winning and losing three matches each day in alternation. 'We were always challenged by Mattias, he has a very good team with a lot of experience, but the breaks just went our way today,' said Berntsson.

'Tomorrow is our winning day in the cycle, so we should make it 3-0 [in the Petit-Finals] against Ben,' said Rahm.

Ainslie had been a senior afterguard member and back-up helmsman of Emirates Team New Zealand in the last America’s Cup, and Rahm had been a member of the Swedish Victory Challenge.

Sailing conditions today were nothing less than ideal for match race sailing, with sunny skies and shifty 8-12 knot conditions making for close matches in all flights of both the afternoon Semi-Finals and morning Consolation round for 5th-8th place.

Hundreds of water-borne and shore-based spectators lined the course, with many attending as part of the Bermuda Festival of Sail, a public event centered in Barr’s Park adjacent to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club to celebrate Bermuda’s history of sailing.

Also running concurrent to the Gold Cup is the RBYC’s Junior Gold Cup, sailed in Optimists and attracting 40 entries, with 12 youth champions from outside Bermuda competing here, so all ages and talents are represented this weekend in the Festival of Sail.

In Consolation Round action, reigning World Champion and current World Tour leader Ian Williams (GBR) and his Team Pindar first got past Mathieu Richard and his French Match Racing Team/French Team Spirit in one match, then went on the meet young Keith Swinton (AUS). In his first Tour event, Swinton remarkably not only emerged from the pack of 24 teams here to make the Quarter-Finals, but defeated Tour runner-up Sebastian Col and his French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge today, only to finally fall to Team Pindar to finish 6th overall.

FINALISTS
Adam Minoprio (NZL) vs Johnie Berntsson (SWE)

SEMI FINAL RESULTS
Adam Minoprio (NZL) vs Ben Ainslie( GBR), 3-2
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) vs Mattias Rahm (SWE), 3-0

FIFTH TO EIGHTH
5th Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar
6th Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
7th Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge
8th Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit

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