Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Torvar Mirsky leads on opening day of Argo Group Gold Cup

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Beautiful blue skies and sunshine are what competitors awoke to on day one of the Argo Group Gold Cup. Racing conditions of 5-7 knots presented itself to the eight teams in Group 1 who were able to complete four flights in total this morning.

The first match of the day was between Damian Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team and Reuben Corbett (NZL). At the first leeward mark, Iehl gybed onto port in front of Corbett forcing him to gybe which earned Iehl a double penalty. Ihel then luffed Corbett inside the zone and earned a third penalty for his trouble. Iehl was black flagged and the match automatically went to Corbett. Umpire Henry Menin said “Iehl had two penalty flags and if he had more flags on the boat they would have pulled them out, too.”

“This is the first time I have ever received a black flag, the boats are heavy and hard to manoeuvre” said Iehl.

Torvar Mirsky leads on the opening day of the Argo Group Gold Cup, sailed in very light conditions. Bermuda, 6 October 2009. Photo copyright Bermuda Gold Cup Charles Anderson

Following that display, the penalty flags flew fast and often. In the feature match of the morning, current Tour leader Tovar Mirsky was able to put a penalty on Eric Monnin (SUI) and his team. Monnin drew the penalty in the pre-start dance when he was pushing Mirsky away from the line. Mirsky still won the start and held the lead all the way around the course.

“We started well,” the young Aussie said. “It was tough sailing in the light and shifty conditions. We were able to roll some of our competitors downwind to get the wins. In the race against Monnin he couldn’t get far enough ahead of us to make up his penalty turn.”

Monnin made a gallant effort, non-the-less. He came within a boat length at the finish even after making his penalty turn. That loss set Monnin at 3-1 and he had earlier defeated two time world champion Ian Williams.

Despite his loss to Monnin, Williams defeated fellow Brit Robbie Allam after an amazing comeback. “We got a leeward overlap and Robbie didn't keep clear so our penalty got offset. He then gybed in front of us and took control so he got a red flag immediate penalty. So it was great for us being in behind with a penalty going in coming out with no penalty and ahead.” said Williams. He joined Monnin with a 3-1 score card for the day . Group 3 will sail their final three flights of the round robin on Wednesday.

Ian Williams lies second on the opening day of the Argo Group Gold Cup, sailed in very light conditions. Bermuda, 6 October 2009. Photo copyright Bermuda Gold Cup Charles Anderson

Group 2 got off to a slow start and just finished one flight before the wind shifted and went from the 5-7 knot south westerly to about 3 knots or less from the south southwest.

Bermuda favourite Paula Lewin Crews, sailing with an all woman crew, was beaten by Adam Minoprio (NZL) in the first flight when the wind dropped away to a whisper at her start. Minoprio is the top ranked match racer in the world in the International sailing Federation (ISAF) rankings and second on the World Match Racing Tour.

Following that last match of Flight 1, the wind completely failed and the sailors were called back to Royal Bermuda Yacht Club to wait for the wind to come back. The committee had hoped to get in four flights for each group on the first day but the wind gods wouldn’t cooperate.

The sailors will have their skipper’s meeting one hour earlier on Wednesday at 07.00hrs and sailing is scheduled to start at 08.00hrs. Organizers are keen to finish four flights for all three groups before foul weather is expected with a front late Wednesday and into Thursday pushes through.

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