Adam Minoprio reaches final of Bermuda Gold Cup
Hello from BlackMatch during the semi final stage of the Bermuda Gold Cup,
There were many surprises today on and off the water today, the first was the realization that our semi final opponent was not in fact Johnnie Berntsson from Sweden, but three times Olympic Gold Medalist and America's Cup Helmsman Ben Ainslie. After last nights press conference it was announced that we were to take Johnnie on in the semi final, it was not until this morning when Team Origins Coach spied a change in the notice of race that indicated we were to take on the British team, which also included Olympic Star Gold medalist Ian Percy. It was an unenviable position to be in taking on a team with such talent but when facing a 2-1 deficit that saw Ben on match point, we really stepped our game up to take out the next two pressure matches and qualify for the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup final.
Adam Minoprio beats Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie in the Bermuda Gold Cup semifinals. Hamilton, 11 October 2008. Photo copyright World Match Racing Tour
In our first match we forced a penalty on the Brits when they attempted to swing below our stern but crashed straight into us on port, their fleet racing skills showed through in the end though and they sailed away to have a big enough advantage to do their penalty turn on the finish line. We took the next race out comfortably when they misjudged the start and were over the start line when the gun went, we sailed very well tactically in this race and defended our lead well to level the scores. In our third match we had an even start but they again showed excellent speed and won by a narrow margin to go to match point. The fourth match saw a split tack start, we were extremely confident in the right hand side of the course during our pre-start manoeuvres so Adam fought hard for the committee boat end of the line, we won the boat and backed our call against the Olympians to make huge gains in better pressure on the first upwind. They fought back hard and on the second upwind we were 'tack for tack' but still maintained a 2 boat length lead by the top mark to take the victory and again level the scores. The deciding match saw a very heated pre-start, we were in total control of the start and had the Team Origin Crew on the ropes, locked out above the committee boat end of the start line. They bailed out and attempted to gybe around to start, instead of bearing away and going for a conservative start we went for the kill and tacked to follow them. Both of us were bearing away to gybe for the start and they gybed straight in front of us, our only avenue was to continue with our gybe inside them but the British team kept altering their course at us and there was a collision. There were protest flags from both boats but the penalty went against them while we also had better speed off the line that gave us the advantage we needed to take out the semi final 3-2 and progress through to the final tomorrow.
An all Swedish affair in the other semi final saw the inform Johnnie Berntsson defeat Mattias Rahm convincingly 3-0. We are absolutely ecstatic to have beaten such a respectable competitor in Ben Ainslie here in Bermuda, but we very weary of the form that Johnnie Berntsson has discovered and are looking forward to the challenge of winning our first World Tour Event tomorrow. We would like to congratulate all of the semi finalists as it is such a huge achievement to make it through to the final 4 of 24 competing teams.
BlackMatch would like to thank their sponsors FedEx Express and Ross Munro from Line 7 New Zealand, we are very proud to have the support of such world renowned companies. We would also like to thank our yacht club the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and also our friends and family for their great support this year, we hope we can go one better and take out the final tomorrow.
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