Detroit Cup: Gilmour wins in sudden death final

Published on August 30th, 2015

Detroit, MI (August 30, 2015) – In a fourth and final day of challenging wind conditions on the Detroit River, the world number 8th-ranked team who led the 2015 Detroit Cup from the start also managed to see it through to the finish and win in a sudden death, one-match Final. In light and shifty conditions, and at the edge of time limit for concluding the event, Sam Gilmour and his Neptune Racing Team of Adam Negri and Christopher Smith defeated another team from Perth, Australia – Matt Jerwood and his Redline Racing team – to win the event in an all-Aussie Final.

Throughout the double Round Robin and Semi-Finals, Gilmour and team were nearly flawless, losing only two matches in 17 sailed, and his win this year matches his brother David’s victory in 2013.

Being the last event of four in the Grade 2 USA GRAND SLAM , the win also solidified Gilmour’s victory in this series, which earns him an invitation to the Grade WC Congressional Cup in Long Beach in 2016, one of the oldest match race events in North America and a signature event on the World Match Racing Tour.

“We are extremely thrilled to have won the Detroit Cup,” said Gilmour. “This is an important part of the USA GRAND SLAM, and its an honor to have won this too. We also want to thank Bayview YC for their outstanding hospitality and making us feel so welcome here in Detroit.”

The impressive consistency shown by Gilmour and his team was even more remarkable given the difficult wind conditions and the start-stop nature of the racing. This year’s Detroit Cup was characterized long waits for breeze, interspersed with puffs that had Brian Keith and his race management team working fast to set up a course and run races before these would die out, leading to another postponement.

Nonetheless the racing was always kept fair, and when not, it was abandoned and re-sailed: for example, in the deciding Match 5 of the first-to-three point Semi-Finals between Jerwood and Chris Steele of New Zealand, a huge 30° right wind shift that occurred just moments before the start was a massive benefit to Jerwood at the expense of Steele. The Aussie team started at the signal boat end of the line and due to the shift and the favorable current, they never tacked before reaching the two-length zone of the top mark, thus prompting an abandonment of the match.

Being the winner of Stage One in the Round Robins, Gilmour was free to choose his opponent in his half of the Semi-Finals. In choosing Nathan Hollerbach from Chicago, he was selecting not only the reigning US match racing Champion, but a local favorite to the spectators at the host venue at Bayview YC, since Hollerbach and his brothers grew up sailing at this club. The shoreside crowd was enthusiastic and hopeful when Hollerbach got ahead of Gilmour a couple times in their three-race series, but more subdued when the Aussie’s managed to pull ahead and take the win in all three matches.

The other half of the Semi-Final was less certain and extremely hard-fought: Steele took the first match, Jerwood the second, followed Steele in the third, Jerwood again in the fourth, and finally in the concluding fifth match. Their pre-starts were particularly entertaining, with numerous moves not normally seen due to the strong river current, such as liberal use of spinnakers by both boats to get downwind of the start line.

In the one-match Petit Final, Chris Steele managed to find the correct side of a dying breeze to get ahead and stay ahead of Hollerbach and take 3rd place.

For more information, results, photos and videos, including livestream video commentary provided by Seahorse Magazine’s Dobbs Davis, visit

Final standings, 2015 Detroit Cup:
1. Sam Gilmour (AUS)
2. Matt Jerwood (AUS)
3. Chris Steele (NZL)
4. Nathan Hollerbach (USA)
5. Chris Poole (USA)
6. Chris Van Tol (USA)
7. Ryan Seago (USA
8. Patrik Sturesson (SWE)
9. David Storrs (USA)
10. David Niemann (USA)

match results
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2015 Grand Slam Racing Dates
August 6-9: Manhasset Bay Match Race for the Knickerbocker Cup
August 13-16: Oakcliff International
August 21-23: Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam
August 27-30: Detroit Cup

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