2008 Gold Cup News

Two young teams defeat America’s Cup veterans in Gold Cup Semi-Finals

By Dobbs Davis/World Match Racing Tour

Hamilton, Bermuda – The upsets continue here in Hamilton Harbour as Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and his Berntsson Racing Team and Adam Minoprio (NZL) and the Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing team advance to tomorrow’s Final round at the King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group. Berntsson decisively defeated fellow Swede Mattias Rahm and his Stena Bulk Sailing Team on a straight 3-0 score, while Minoprio took it all the way to the fifth match to defeat Ben Ainslie (GBR) and his Team Origin. This is the first World Match Racing Tour final for both teams, where they will vie for the top prize of US$50,000.

“We’re certainly excited to get to our first Tour Finals,” said Minoprio, after having gotten to the Semi’s in two, it feels great to finally have a chance at the top prize. In jest, Minoprio added “And we plan to make all that we can at having got past one of the world’s top sailors!”

Berntsson’s apparent romp over Rahm was in contrast to their intense rivalry, as the two trained together in preparation for this event at their home club in Sweden, the Royal Gothenburg Sailing Club (GKSS), so their matches were indeed tight fights, especially in the pre-starts. Nonetheless, Rahm has had an up and down cycle of success here in Bermuda, winning and losing three matches each day in alternation. “We were always challenged by Mattias, he has a very good team with a lot of experience, but the breaks just went our way today,” said Berntsson.

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“Tomorrow is our winning day in the cycle, so we should make it 3-0 [in the Petit-Finals] against Ben,” said Rahm.
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Ainslie had been a senior afterguard member and back-up helmsman of Emirates Team New Zealand in the last America’s Cup, and Rahm had been a member of the Swedish Victory Challenge.
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Sailing conditions today were nothing less than ideal for match race sailing, with sunny skies and shifty 8-12 knot conditions making for close matches in all flights of both the afternoon Semi-Finals and morning Consolation round for 5th-8th place. Hundreds of water-borne and shore-based spectators lined the course, with many attending as part of the Bermuda Festival of Sail, a public event centered in Barr’s Park adjacent to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club to celebrate Bermuda’s history of sailing.
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Also running concurrent to the Gold Cup is the RBYC’s Junior Gold Cup, sailed in Optimists and attracting 40 entries, with 12 youth champions from outside Bermuda competing here, so all ages and talents are represented this weekend in the Festival of Sail.
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In Consolation Round action, reigning World Champion and current World Tour leader Ian Williams (GBR) and his Team Pindar first got past Mathieu Richard and his French Match Racing Team/French Team Spirit in one match, then went on the meet young Keith Swinton (AUS). In his first Tour event, Swinton remarkably not only emerged from the pack of 24 teams here to make the Quarter-Finals, but defeated Tour runner-up Sebastian Col and his French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge today, only to finally fall to Team Pindar to finish 6th overall.
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FINALISTS<br />
Adam Minoprio (NZL) vs Johnie Berntsson (SWE)
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SEMI FINAL RESULTS<br />
Adam Minoprio (NZL) vs Ben Ainslie( GBR), 3-2 <br />
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) vs Mattias Rahm (SWE), 3-0
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FIFTH TO EIGHTH<br />
5th Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar<br />
6th Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing<br />
7th Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge<br />
8th Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit
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About Stage 8<br />
The top sailors of the world will be in Bermuda for the penultimate event on the World Match Racing Tour 2008 – King Edward VII Bermuda Gold Cup. A very strong line up with 8 of the top 10 from the Tour leader board in a scramble for Match Racing World Championship points – With 24 teams in three groups all trying to squeeze into the knockout rounds it’s going to be a really tough event to win.
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The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club will be leading the festivities and with the Bermuda Festival of Sail being held over the finals weekend there will be something for everyone both on and off the water. The natural amphitheatre that is Hamilton Harbour combined with excellent wind conditions will make for a spectacular sporting occasion.
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Current World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard (top ten teams)
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(After Stage 8 of 9)<br />
1. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar, 92 points<br />
2. Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 88<br />
3. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/ French Team Spirit, 77<br />
4. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 53<br />
5. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge, 51<br />
6. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza, 43<br />
7. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team, 40<br />
8. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 37<br />
9. Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 34<br />
10. Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/Black Match Racing, 33
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<p>
Line 7 Competition<br />
The World Match Racing Tour in conjunction with their official clothing supplier Line 7 is offering you the opportunity to win a Sqaudron Jacket from their marine range. The Line 7 marine range is designed and constructed to the highest performance level offering you confidence to keep warm and dry. The online competition is open now and runs until October 28, 2008.
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For your opportunity to win simply go to <a href="http://www.worldmatchracingtour.com">http://www.worldmatchracingtour.com</a>
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For more information about Line 7 visit <a href="http://www.Line7.com">http://www.Line7.com</a>
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About the World Match Racing Tour:
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<ul>
    <li> The World Match Racing Tour is the leading professional sailing series featuring 9 World Championship events across the globe </li>
    <li> The World Tour is sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with “Special Event” status </li>
    <li> The World Tour awards over US$1million in prize money </li>
    <li> Points are awarded at each event culminating in the crowning of the season ending ‘ISAF Match Racing World Champion’ </li>
    <li> Events utilize the same “match race” format used in the America’s Cup with racing taking place in identically supplied racing yachts which places a focuses on team work and skill. Racing takes place close to the shore for the general public to follow the races as virtual on-the-water stadiums. </li>
    <li> Media and television highlights coverage reaches over 500 million households in excess of 90 countries around the world. </li>
    <li> World Match Racing Tour sponsors include Line 7, Pindar, Custom House, Travel Places, Wedgwood and Sail.TV </li>
</ul>
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