USA, GBR lead at Match Racing Worlds

Published on October 27th, 2020

Hamilton, Bermuda (October 27, 2020) – If the conditions on Day 1 of the 70th Bermuda Gold Cup and 2020 Open Match Racing World Championship were spectacular, today they were nearly perfect. What’s the difference? A steadier, stronger breeze more oriented to the length of Hamilton Harbour as opposed to the width.

The southwesterly wind between 10 and 16 knots propelled six crews into the Quarterfinal Round. Chris Poole’s Riptide Racing, Phil Robertson’s China One Ningbo, and Eric Monnin’s Capvis Swiss Match Race Team advanced from Group A while in Group B it was Ian Williams’s Team GAC Pindar, Torvar Mirsky’s Mirsky Racing Team, and Taylor Canfield’s Stars+Stripes that moved on.

The six will be joined by two crews from tomorrow’s Repechage Round, which will feature Nicklas Dackhammar’s Essiq Racing Team, Johnie Berntsson’s Berntsson Sailing Team, Anna Östling’s Team WINGS, and Matthew Whitfield’s Dragon Racing Team from Group A and Jeppe Borch’s Borch Racing Team, Team Dutch Wave, Mati Sepp’s Gleam Energy Sailing Team, and Lance Fraser’s Team RCYC from Group B.

In a coincidental stroke of symmetry, the group victors were both decided in come-from-behind victories. Poole defeated Robertson in Group A by gaining the lead around the second windward mark. In Group B, Williams snatched the win from Mirsky in a masterful bit of positioning in the final half of the run to the finish.

“I guess we had it but Ian kept the pressure on and we choked a bit,” said Mirsky, “so we’ll learn from it going forward.”

“We’re a little bit disappointed to be honest,” Robertson said. “We had a comfortable lead after the first lap and let him get back into it up the second beat.”

Poole got back into his match versus Robertson by playing the right side of the second upwind leg. He went through the leeward gate nearly two boat lengths behind but saw the wind shifting back to the right and knew that he wasn’t going to get past Robertson by following him up the beat.

“Coming down to the leeward gate (Robertson) was looking to go (around the) right (gate) and we were like, ‘Well we have to split at this point.’

“We were looking at the clouds and they were showing pressure shifting back to the more westerly direction since the rain had moved off, so we committed to a left turn.

“We rounded and came back at him in a good righty, enough to force him back left. At that point we had to dig our heels in for the righty and it came good in the last couple of lengths to the top mark.”

Poole rounded the windward mark with his bow tucked inside Robertson’s leeward quarter. With that position he was able to give Robertson a little luff, enough to allow Poole to peel away for a jibe towards the finish with a nearly two boat length lead in hand, which he took across the finish line for the group win.

“(Poole) did a nice job to keep it close enough and get back into the game,” said Robertson. “We learned some tough ones there. Dropping our first race in the last match and dropping down to second in our group is a little disappointing, but it’s good to get that kick in the arse to go into the quarters with something behind you.”

Williams has blended speed with positioning brilliantly through the first seven races, and did it again versus Mirsky. He trailed for three-quarters of the match, although never by more than two boat lengths, and then struck when he was able to get his bow inside Mirsky’s transom when both were on starboard jibe heading down the run to the finish.

The next five minutes to the finish happened in a flash. First, Williams got a penalty for luffing too quickly after establishing the overlap. Then Williams luffed again and this time the on-water umpires penalized Mirsky for not keeping clear. With the penalties offset, Williams merely had to hold his position to keep Mirsky outside the pin end. Mirsky aided Williams’s effort by having a lapse in crew work.

“(Williams) did an amazing job as we were both on starboard to swing his bow behind our transom from above us and then hook us,” Mirsky said. “He got a penalty, but had us in a powerful position above the layline to the pin. Then we got a penalty after that in trying to drop our kite and do the big storm of maneuvers to get to the finish.”

“We rounded top mark right behind (Mirsky) and managed to lengthen up the starboard jibe and get into a situation where we were jibing across his air and trying to get hooked into leeward on starboard,” Williams said. “That’s a great spot to be, and the game from there is to hold him hot and prevent him from getting to the pin end.”

On the flip side of those thrilling matches was the hard-luck day of the Berntsson Racing Team. The Swedish crew finished 1-2 on the day and dropped to fifth place in Group A after losing the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” game. Twice.

Berntsson lost to Robertson when they misread a course change to begin the second lap of their race. Then they lost to Dackhammar when they got penalized for interfering with another match while approaching the finish.

“We got all of our mistakes out of the way in one day,” said the affable Berntsson, who’ll have to forge a path to the quarterfinals through the Repechage Round. “We’ve done it before so it’s nothing new to us.”

The King Edward VII Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Bermuda Gold Cup, is the oldest trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts. First presented in 1907 by King Edward VII at the Tri-Centenary Regatta at Jamestown, Va., honoring the 300th anniversary of the first permanent colony in America, the trophy is the only King’s Cup ever to be offered for competition in the United States which could be won outright.

Tour informationEvent detailsFormatStandingsFacebook

Stage One – Qualifying (single round robin)

Group 1
1. Chris Poole (31, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA) – Riptide Racing, 6-1
Crew: Sam Barron-Fox, Matthew Cornwell, Chris Draper
2. Phil Robertson (33, Auckland, New Zealand) – China One Ningbo, 6-1
Crew: Bradley Farrand, Peter Nicholas, Johanna Thiringer, James Williamson
3 Eric Monnin (45, Immensee, Switzerland) – Capvis Swiss Match Racing Team, 5-2
Crew: Simon Brügger, Hugo Feydit, Mathieu Renault, Ute Wagner
4. Nicklas Dackhammar (30, Gothenburg, Sweden) – Essiq Racing Team, 4-3
Crew: Nils Bjekås, Björn Lundgren, Jakob Wilson
5. Johnie Berntsson (48, Stenungsund, Sweden) – Berntsson Sailing Team, 4-3
Crew: Herman Andersson, Anders Dahlsjö, Eric Malmberg
6. Anna Östling (36, Lerum, Sweden) – Team WINGS, 2-5
Crew: Julia Lines, Annie Wennergren, Linnea Wennergren, Janel Zarkowsky
7. Matthew Whitfield (23, Plymouth, England) – Dragon Racing Team, 1-6
Crew: Quentin Bes-Green, Max Brennan, Carson Crain
8. Kelsey Durham (26, Smiths, Bermuda) – Triangle Racing Team, 0-7
Crew: Alex Ellis, Charlie Lalumiere, Edward Lebens

Group 2
1. Ian Williams (43, Lymington, England) – Team GAC Pindar, 6-1
Crew: Christian Kamp, Gerry Mitchell, Richard Sydenham
2. Torvar Mirsky (34, Sydney, Australia) – Mirsky Racing Team, 6-1
Crew: Nick Blackman, Kinley Fowler, Mal Parker
3. Taylor Canfield (31, Miami, USA) – Team Stars+Stripes, 4-3
Crew: Mike Buckley, Victor Diaz de Leon, Mike Menninger, Eric Shampain
4. Jeppe Borch (23, Copenhagen, Denmark) – Borch Racing Team, 4-3
Crew: August de la Cour, Seabastian Pieters, Nikolai Rasmussen
5. Jelmer van Beek (25, The Hague, Netherlands) – Team Dutch Wave, 2-2
Crew: Robin Jacobs, Jorden van Rooijen, Rutger Vos
6. Mati Sepp (52, Tallinn, Estonia) – Gleam Energy Sailing Team, 2-5
Crew: Ago Rebane, Karl Tagu, Aleksei Zigadlo
7. Lance Fraser (27, Toronto, Canada) – Team RCYC, 2-5
Crew: Andrew McTavish, Rob Scrivenor, Katrina Williams
8. Pauline Courtois (31, Brest, France) – Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, 0-7
Crew: Cédric Chateau, Thierry Douillard, Sophie Faguet, Maelenn Lemaitre

Note: In each group, the top three advance to the Quarterfinal Round, places 4 through 7 advance to the Repechage Round, and the last place crew is eliminated from further competition.

Source: Bermuda Gold Cup


The 70th Bermuda Gold Cup is an event on the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) which promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The World Tour represents a series of independently organized and officially sanctioned match racing events. Teams accumulate points from each of the events towards an overall WMRT global ranking, the top twelve teams from which compete in the WMRT Championship Finals at the end of the season.

2020 World Match Racing Tour Schedule: click here

The WMRT takes place in identically supplied racing yachts which change for each event and has been awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing. The winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion.

Previous Champions include Bertrand Pace (FRA), Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Jesper Radich (DEN), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Ian Williams (GBR), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Taylor Canfield (ISV), Phil Robertson (NZL), and Torvar Mirsky (AUS).

Since its launch in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors. www.wmrt.com

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