Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat was the first team to reach the finals at the 2011 Argo Group Gold Cup. The #3 skipper on the World Match Racing Tour met Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing in the semi-finals and put the Kiwis away three nil.
Earlier in the day Mirsky had a three nil win over 2010 Gold Cup runner-up Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners. Mirsky hopes to carry his momentum into the finals on Sunday to put his name on the King Edward VII Gold Cup for the first time.
'It went really good for us,' Mirsky said. 'We had an edge to our game and everything just lined up. This is the best we’ve ever done in Bermuda.'
Phil Robertson thought that the first race was decided on a penalty call. 'We made a move that was either going to go well or badly and it went badly. We were outsailed from there. Mirsky kicked our you know what in the end.'
In Quarter Final action earlier in the day, Robertson had defeated #1 ranked Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar/Argo Group 3-0. In the semis he couldn’t get a handle on Mirsky’s powerful starts and great downwind sailing. Mirsky’s crew includes Graeme Spence, Kinley Fowler and Kyle Langford.
The second finalist to qualify was 2006 Gold Cup champion Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team. Berntsson went 3-1 beating Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing.
This was a rematch of the Repechage sail-off on Friday. Today, Berntsson was ahead on the last leg of their first match, but carried a penalty downwind. He had worked hard to extend his lead and gain precious seconds to execute his penalty turn at the finish line. It was deja-vu all over again for Bruni as Berntsson executed a perfect circle around the pin and crossed two feet ahead just like his win over Bruni in the repechage tiebraker.
In the fourth and final match, Johnie pulled a double gybe near the end of the last downwind leg to take the flag and move into the finals.
'Being in the finals is the goal,’ Berntsson quipped. 'We had to have great crew work with our hands full on that gybe maneuver. I had the main to control and the tiller between my legs. ' The wind was a gusty northeaster again and Berntsson’s crew— Johan Barne, Oscar Angervall, and Bjorn Lundgren.— were on their game today.
Gracious in defeat, Francesco Bruni commented, 'Johnie did a fantastic job… stretching out when he was ahead and always pushing from behind.'
Berntsson had defeated Staffan Lindberg’s (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team 3-1 in the Quarters to be the third team in the Semi-finals. Bruni also came through the tiebreaker in the Repechage, with a 3-1 win over Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team to reach the semi-finals.
Fifth through eighth places were also decided today. In the first flight Match 1, Jesper Radich defeated Staffan Lindberg. In Match 2, Mathieu Richard defeated Ian Williams. The two winners matched off and Richard won handily to take fifth place and move Radich into sixth. In the loser’s bracket, Williams won the match for seventh. Lindberg was eighth.
The Petite Finals for third and fourth place and the Finals of the 2011 Agro Group Gold Cup and the youth Opti event, the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup, are scheduled for Sunday. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club will also host the annual Family Festival of Sail at the club and Barr’s Bay Park next door.
The winner of the Gold Cup takes $50,000 of the $100,000 prize purse. Second place wins $20,000 and third takes $10,000. The remainder is divided among the fourth through eighth place teams.
More information on WMRT here
Argo Group Gold Cup website