The Argo Group Gold Cup, stage 7 of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) is underway at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Hamilton, Bermuda. Racing continues until Sunday 9th October.
While the 2011 ISAF Match Racing World Championship cannot be decided at the Argo Group Gold Cup, which is the second last event on the Tour, it can probably be lost here. It’s a minefield for the nine World Match Racing Tour card holders as they are competing against another 15 wildcards and qualifiers.
For Peter Gilmour (AUS) of Yanmar Racing, this event is very important. Gilmour is currently fourth on the WMRT leader board behind Ian Williams (GBR–Team GAC Pindar sponsored by the Argo Group), Francesco Bruni (ITA-Bruni Racing) and Torvar Mirsky (AUS–The Wave Muscat).
Gilmour, four times ISAF World Match Racing Champion, has won the Gold Cup three times - in 1995, 1997 and in 2003.
Prophetically Gilmour said yesterday pre-event, ‘the Argo Group Gold Cup with over 24 competing teams, is the perfect event for young match racers to make a name for themselves by taking some big names down.’
Today, two first up wins were the perfect start for Peter Gilmour and his YANMAR Racing crew of Yasuhiro Yaji, Thierry Douillard and Simon Shaw.
Gilmour led Bermuda local Lance Fraser, after his opponent incurred a prestart penalty and Gilmour also led from start to finish against another British skipper, Sam Pearson (Team Wight Match).
Then a stumble as Gilmour and his crew, after a poor start, were beaten by Ruben Corbett (AON Racing Team).
YANMAR Racing’s next match was against Taylor Canfield (ISV).
Sensationally, Canfield came in from the wrong side, incurred a penalty and lost the start.
Peter Gilmour was shaking his head as he explained. ‘After Taylor made his entrance error and incurred a penalty, we got a good start position and you’d think from there we should have been fine.
‘But conditions were fluky; the breeze caved into his side, we stopped and he rounded the top mark ahead of us. We were all over him down the run and on the beat but we made a little error at the top mark for the second time, after he had rounded just ahead.
‘That mistake, and for him a good puff from the left, saw him suddenly seven or eight lengths in front of us, and with probably enough time to do his penalty turn.
‘It was very close. We may have had him but our spinnaker touched his bow as we crossed and we were penalised.
‘The only consolation is that he beat Torvar Mirsky and Johnnie Berntsson (SWE -Johnie Berntsson Sailing Team) too today - one of those stellar days in a career.
‘YANMAR Racing is now 2-2, so the races ahead are pretty important against Torvar, Berntsson and Phil Robertson (Waka Racing). There are four Tour card holders in this qualifying group compared with two in each of the other two groups, so we have a fair bit on.’
Optimism though from YANMAR Racing mainsheet hand Yasuhiro Yaji, who has experienced many such tough days over the last two decades on the match racing circuit with Gilmour. He has been there when his Australian skipper squeaked out the round robin wins to go on and win many titles.
'Conditions were lighter than we’d have liked today’ said Yaji. ‘The wind was from the north, coming through the city and it was very fluky, as we found to our dismay against Canfield. Later in the week the conditions are looking stronger so we just have to get there.
‘We are at the must win stage, otherwise we will have to fight through the qualifiers via the repechage.’
When the dust settled at the end of today’s second Qualifying Session, Chicago sailor Taylor Canfield had won against three Tour card holders.
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, Torvar Mirsky and Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing were all beaten by Canfield, the young Chicago skipper who finished sixth at this event in 2010.
Results after Qualifying Session Two - Group Two:
Johnie Berntsson Sailing Team 3-1
Taylor Canfield (ISV) Team ISV 3-1
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 3-1
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 2-2
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat 2-2
Reuben Corbett (NZL) AON Racing Team 1-3
Lance Fraser (BER) Freelance-Digicel 1-3
Sam Pearson (GBR) Team Wight Match 1-3
The third qualifying session gets underway at 0900 local time (-4hrs GMT) on Thursday 6 October.
For more news and information on YANMAR Racing, please visit http://www.yanmar.co.jp/en/racing/
To discover more about the World Match Racing Tour see http://www.wmrt.com
And to discover more about YANMAR Marine go to http://www.yanmarmarine.com/