Monday, October 12, 2009

Ben Ainslie wins Argo Group Gold Cup

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Ben Ainslie got the gold he’s been chasing all week. In the Argo Group Gold Cup final today, the three time Olympic gold medal winner (plus one silver), Ben Ainslie (GBR) took the finals 3-1. He has finally etched his name on the coveted King Edward VII Gold Cup along with a host of match race sailing legends. Ainslie and Team Origin also take home the first place prize purse of $50,000. Ainslie sailed for Team Origin with his crew of Matt Cornwell, Iain Percy, and Christian Kamp.

“We had two good races at the beginning today,” Ainslie commented. “ There were big splits out there and the crew were helping and we got it right in those two races. In the third race we didn’t slow down enough to avoid a confrontation with Adam. We have found out some of our tactical weaknesses and the Team and I have some areas to work on.”

Highlights from the last day of the 2009 Argo Group Gold Cup. Bermuda, 11 October 2009. Video copyright World Match Racing Tour

When asked how winning the King Edward VII Gold Cup compared to winning Olympic gold, Ainslie quipped, “Bermuda has a lot better atmosphere and I know more people here.”

When he was down 0-2 and carrying a penalty Adam Minoprio made it a match and pulled a classic match racing manoeuvre to gybe on the approach to the finish, get a luffing overlap on Ainslie and push him away from the pin end of the finish line. Minoprio was barely able to turn away from Ainslie and clear his stern and wipe out the penalty on his tack and make it back to the line first for the win. But Ainslie was on his game today and that one win wasn’t enough.

Adam Minoprio (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing skipper, and his team of Tom Powrie, David Swete and Nick Blackman took second place. Minoprio is the top skipper in the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) rankings and was second in the World Match Racing Tour going into the Argo Group Gold Cup. He is back on top of the Tour rankings now and headed for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship at the Monsoon Cup with $20,000 in his pocket for coming second.

Ben Ainslie and Team Origin win the 2009 Argo Group Gold Cup. Bermuda, 11 October 2009. Photo copyright World Match Racing Tour

Ian Williams (GBR and Eric Monnin (SUI) matched up earlier in the Petit Finals. For winning two races out of two, Williams took third place in quick order and his $10,000 prize while Monnin stands in fourth and has a cheque for $7,000.

Williams expressed the thanks from all the skippers and crews for the special hospitality extended to all of the sailors by the people of Bermuda. He especially thanked the team’s hosts who take them into their homes as guests. “Staying in homes as guests, Williams said, “is just one of the things that makes the Argo Group Gold Cup a unique event on the Tour.”

In yesterday’s consolation matches to decide the 5th through 8th places, Bermudian Blythe Walker and his Max Re team lost their first match to Mathieu Richard (FRA) representing the French Match Racing Team. Last year’s King Edward VII Gold Cup winner Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team won their first match against Torvar Mirsky.

The second matches of the consolations saw Berntsson defeat Richard for fifth place, so Richard took sixth place. Blythe Walker had a win against Mirsky for seventh place pushing Mirsky into eighth.

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