Canada's Cup: Team U.S.A. wins in closest ever cup finish

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

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In the most dramatic finish ever seen in Canada’s Cup competition, U.S. Challenger Robert Hughes and Heartbreaker came from behind on the final leg of the final match race on Monday to cross the finish line less than half a boatlength ahead of

Defending team Honour. The win brought the final score of the championship to 5-4 and finally gave Hughes the victory that has eluded him in two prior Cup challenges in 2001 and 2003.

Team Heartbreaker could not contain their enthusiasm as they loaded the Cup into their inflatable tender, racing from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s island headquarters to the mainland, hoping to catch their flights back to Michigan. “We can’t wait to bring the Cup to her new home at Macatawa Bay Yacht Club,” said Team Manager Mary DeVries. “This means so much to us – we’ve all been brought along by Bob Hughes’ vision, and now we’ve succeeded at what he started years ago.”

Extremely light winds on Monday made both races long, mentally frustrating affairs. With America’s Cup tacticians Gavin Brady and Dave Dellenbaugh battling it out every bit as much as the helmsman they directed, the final margin of victory was less than 3 seconds. Honour held a 19-second lead at the final upwind mark, and only 200 yards from the finish line, Heartbreaker was still trailing. “It was one little puff,” said losing skipper Alec Krstajic. “That was the match. One tiny little puff of wind that Heartbreaker brought right to the finish – the whole thing came down to that.”

Hughes hopes to work with other prominent Great Lakes clubs in both the U.S. and Canada to build on the momentum of this exciting and suspenseful Canada’s Cup match. With thousands of on-line spectators for IonEarth’s superb GPS-based coverage, and massive interest in the 21st running of the Cup, it’s clear that the interest in match racing on the Great Lakes is at an all-time high. Macatawa Bay is targeting 2009 for the next defense of the Cup – and according to Macatawa Bay, the event should remove any doubt that the Canada’s Cup Championship stands for supremacy in match racing on the Great Lakes. The entire series of races will be available to view at IonEarth later this week.

Alan Block

Photo: Bob Hughes' Heartbreaker wins Canada's Cup Match. © Meredith Block/Blocksail)

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 October 2007 )