Bermuda National Match Racing Championship 2013

Published on September 2nd, 2013

With an invitation to the 2013 Argo Gold Cup on the line, the Bermuda Sailing Association’s Match Racing National Championships, hosted by Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC), was held this past Saturday (Aug. 31) with some of the top Bermuda “twenty-something” sailors vying for the prize.

Starting off with a double round robin, the three skippers – Lance Fraser, Jesse Kirkland, and Josh Greenslade – were met with challenging light and variable conditions in Hamilton Harbour in the Gold Cup IOD class.

The first match was 2012 Olympian Jesse Kirkland versus St Mary’s Sailing Team member Joshua Greenslade, who showed early form in a decisive win. Greenslade enlisted the RBYC senior instructors Tom Herbert-Evans and Sean Evans along with IOD stalwart and Gold Cup veteran Blythe Walker on mainsail. Jesse, a St Mary’s alumnus was supported by Somers Kempe, RBYC Vice Commodore and multiple Gold Cup participant, with Peter Martin and Cameron Pimentel.

In match two Jesse Kirkland was up against 20-year-old, 3-time Gold Cup veteran Lance Fraser, currently ranked 79th in the World Match Racing rankings. Fraser showed his match racing experience with a comfortable win over Kirkland.

The third match had the previous two match winners vying for ranking order going into the next round, and Greenslade showed his speed and an ability to find the breeze in the patchy and shifty conditions with a win over Fraser.

After rotating boats, the second round robin saw a repeat of the results with Greenslade having a commanding 4 points over Fraser and Kirkland at 2 and 0 respectively. In deference to the light conditions and concern over completing a semi-final and final series, the semi-final was dispensed with. A disappointed, but accepting Team Kirkland was finished for the event, Greenslade and Fraser moved on to a best-of-5 final.

Multiple upwind course changes were facilitated by the boisterous mark boat guru, father of Optimist protégé Campbell Patton and Bermuda Sailing Association (BSA) Past-President Tim Patton, ably assisted by local J-105 skipper James MacDonald. These course changes added to the complexities of a rapid fire series that was stretched to the full five races.

After falling behind 2-1 in the first three races to the veteran match racer Fraser, Team Greenslade showing superior boat speed and making few mistakes, regrouped to win the final two races and the Championships. They earned the coveted Argo Gold Cup invitation to compete against some of the best match racers in the world in October in Hamilton Harbour.

Asked later if he was nervous after the third race, being down 2-1 and on the cusp of elimination, Greenslade replied: “Yes, until after the start, then I was comfortable.”

Decompressing after a mentally draining day on the water Lance Fraser commented: “We were out-sailed today. It ended up being a hard fought finals, coming down to a sudden-death final race, and he won the start and we couldn’t get by him. He really deserves the win and I wish him the best of luck in Gold Cup.”

Leatrice Roman, current BSA President and RBYC Rear Commodore of sailing commented that the Match Racing Championships yesterday: “It was a great competition! Well done to Josh Greenslade and the winning team and to teams Lance Fraser and Jesse Kirkland for making it a highly contested event. I was able to watch the entire event and each race had moments of triumph and letdown. Thank you to our Race Officer Tom Clarke and his team along with Chief Umpire Bob Duffy and his team of Olympian and match racer Paula Lewin, Graham Hillier and Jon Corless. It’s great to have the next generation of youth sailors competing in Match Racing and going forward to compete for the highly coveted Argo Gold Cup.”

Click here for the pairings and results.

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