Johnie Berntsson wins 2014 Argo Group Gold Cup - Williams and Canfield knocked out in semis - Eric Monnin ended Ian Williams winning streak by beating him 3-1 in the Semi Finals
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Match Racing and his crew Robert Skarp, Bjorn Lundgren, and Oscar Angervall won Johnie's second Argo Group Gold Cup at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. He defeated Eric Monnin in the finals. Taylor Canfield wes third and Alpari World Match Racing Tour leader Ian Williams was fourth. ©Talbot Wilson
Argo Group Gold Cup: Stage 6 of the Alpari World Match Racing Touró www.argogroupgoldcup.com
By Talbot Wilson
Hamilton BERMUDA, October 26, 2014ó Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team has won the 2014 Argo Group Gold Cup and $50,000 of the $100,000 prize purse. Berntsson defeated Eric Monnin (SWI) Swiss Match Racing Team 3-1 in brilliant match racing conditions on Bermudaís Hamilton Harbour. This is the second time the jovial Swede has won the cup, repeating his triumph of 2008.
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar and Taylor Canfield (IVS) US One were the two competitors who had reached the Semi Finals with the best record. Coming into the Argo Group Gold Cup they were ranked 1 and 2 on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. They lost to Monnin and Berntsson in the Semi Finals. In the Petite Finals, Canfield defeated Williams 2-1 to claim third place, leaving Williams in fourth.
The first eight finishers in the Argo Group Gold Cup shared the $100,000 prize purse
Johnie Berntsson $50,000
Eric Monnin $20,000
Taylor Canfield $10,000
Ian Williams $ 7,000
Bjorn Hansen $ 5,500
Pierre Morvan $ 4,000
Steffan Lindberg $ 2,500
Marek Stanczyk $ 1,000
Two special trophies are presented at the Argo Group gold Cup. The Wedgwood Heritage Trophy was first presented at the 1990 King Edward VII Gold Cup competition. It is presented to the sailor who best represents the traditional values and history of sailing. This yearís winner is Eric Monnin as a consistent presence at the Gold Cup, always gracious and always a gentleman.
The Jordy Walker Trophy recognizes Marek Stanczyk of Poland as the most improved young match race sailor who competes in World Match Racing Tour events or other events that automatically qualify a skipper for a Tour event. He comes from Poland and has less opportunity to sail in international match racing events and but has improved his skills tremendously.
Jordy Walker, a man who gave his heart and soul to sailing and the sport of sailboat racing, used his time, money and talent to promote the sport he loved, to introduce the modern format of match racing to Bermuda. And, in fact, he brought match racing to the World in 1988 through the establishment of the WMRA and its match racing championship events he helped establish around the globe.
Quotes from the Final Four
with Laurie Fullerton
We are so lucky, happy to win this time. We were never safe. The races we won we had to fight hard for. Eric Moninís team really drive the boat so fast. We were lucky to win by such small margins really by inches.
My crew did such a good job calling tactics and keeping us going fast. In the end, it was not easy racing today and by the finals the conditions changed from the light shifty conditions in the morning. It had all changed and we sailed well in this breeze.
As far as winning the King Edward VII Gold Cup, this is the top event for us. This is a huge win for us. One of the best events for us and one of the greatest wins we will ever have. We will be back.
I have been to the Gold Cup 11 times, and have been in the finals four times before. We finished fourth each time. Today, we finished in second place. It meant so much to our team to reach the finals. Next year we hope to come back and finish the job.
I am happy we played the shifts and worked the way we did as a team. Perhaps our luck changed a bit as the day went on but we felt all day that the corners were better than the middle of the course. We chose to play the wind and not sail as close. That was our strategy.
We were looking to get that big win but we fought hard for every point. Hopefully, we will come back and win it next time. We have been sailing well all year and we are feeling pretty good about it. It just wasnít meant to be today. I would say all the competitors did a great job.
Obviously when we woke up this morning, a fourth place was not what we envisioned. But, we sailed the best we could and we want to thank the organizers and the competitors for a great regatta.
2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour Standings after Stage 5
1 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 94pts
2 Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 88pts
3 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 76pts
4 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing 63pts
5 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 58pts
6 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 56pts
7 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 39pts
8 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa 20pts
Visit Bermuda for Match Racing at its Best
October is a perfect time to sail and vacation in Bermuda and the Argo Group Gold Cup is a showcase "spectator" event culminating in the exciting finals weekend October 25th-26th. All Gold Cup racing is spectator friendly with courses set in Hamilton Harbour from just off of the RBYC marina wall to the harbour shore along the gardens of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel. Special rates for Gold Cup week will be available at the Hamilton Princess Hotel. http://www.fairmont.com/hamilton-bermuda/
This year will mark the 64th staging of races for the King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy. Previous winners include some of the greatest names ever to match race. Since the event was reformatted to be sailed under the Match Racing Association in 1985, multiple big-name winners include Chris Dickson (NZL), Russell Coutts (NZL), Peter Gilmour (AUS), and Ben Ainslie (GBR). The 2013 defending champion is Francesco Bruni (ITL).
The Argo Group Gold Cup is the penultimate sixth stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, in which the teams compete for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship. Match racing in Bermuda for The King Edward VII Gold Cup is recognized as one of the classic heritage events on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
The 12th annual RenaissanceRe Jr Gold Cup will also be sailed October 23-26 in Bermuda. Argo Group Gold Cup and RenaissanceRe Jr Gold Cup finals weekend is a spectacular time to visit Bermuda.
Photo : ©Talbot Wilson