Hamilton, Bermuda: With only one match remaining in the Round Robin, Ben Ainslie’s (GBR) Team Origin, Ian Williams’ (GBR) Team Pindar, and Johnie Berntsson’s (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team are the only three teams of 24 which have definitely qualified for the next Quarter-Final stage at the King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group.
The top two teams from each group move on to the Quarter finals and the third and fourth place finishers in each group sail off in a “Repechage” round robin on Thursday afternoon for their second chance to win one of the last two Quarter final slots. Following the Quarter-finals on Friday, winners move into the Semi-Finals on Saturday and the top two go to the Finals on Sunday. There is a $100,000 prize purse with $50,000 going to the winner, $20,000 for second and $10,000 for third. Fourth through eighth divide the remainder.
Among those in contention are the three French teams - Mathieu Richard’s French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit, Sebastien Col’s French Match Racing Team/K Challenge, and Damien Iehl’s French Match Racing Team – as well as Andrew Horton (USA), Keith Swinton (AUS), and Adam Minoprio (NZL) and his Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing Team. And if they win in their final matches, other contenders in the Repechage include Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and his Mirsky Racing Team, David Perry (USA), and Mattias Rahm (SWE) and his Stena Bulk Sailing Team.
Amongst the leaders, Ainslie’s record remained unblemished at 6-0 despite tough matches against Rahm and Brian Angel (USA). This is Ainslie’s first match racing event since his gold medal winning Olympic campaign, yet he has clearly been on point in Group 1 and sailing in excellent form. “We sailed much of today like the fleet racers we are,” said Ainslie, “focusing on staying in phase in these shifty conditions.” The northeasterly breeze today was much abated from yesterday, down to 6-12 knots, but very shifty within the confines of Hamilton harbor, where all but the largest leads were safe from attack.
Also in Group 1, defending Gold Cup champion Mathieu Richard had a great day to earn a 5-1 score on three wins in three matches sailed, but will be pitted against his countryman Iehl on the same score to determine who will be runner-up to Ainslie to go through to the Quarters.
Williams’ Team Pindar, currently the top-ranked team on the World Match Racing Tour leaderboard, also had a perfect day and stands on top of Group 2 with a 5-0 score. He has a make-up match to sail against Horton after the last race of Flight 7 tomorrow, where, depending on the outcome of other matches and the inevitable tie-breaks, the outcome may decide who goes through to the Quarters and who must race again in the Repechage.
Meanwhile in Group 3, Berntsson is assured of going through, but runner-up Sebastian Col will have to win his match against Mirsky to also avoid having to qualify through the Repechage.
Current results, after six flights:
Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin, 6-0
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit, 5-1
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 5-1
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 3-3
Chris Van Tol (USA) Van Tol Match Racing Team, 2-4
Takumi Nakamura (JPN) Team Albatross, 1-2
Brian Angel (USA) King Harbour Yacht Club, 1-5
Sally Barkow (USA) Team 7 Racing, 1-5
Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar, 5-0
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing Team, 4-2
Keith Swinton (USA) Black Swan Racing, 4-2
Andrew Horten (USA), 4-1
Rasmus Viltoft (DEN), 3-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team, 2-4
Erik Koppernaes (CAN), 1-5
Jon Singsen (USA), 0-6
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, 5-1
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K Challenge, 4-2
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 3-3
Donald Wilson (USA), 3-3
David Perry (USA), 3-3
Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA) ETM Match Racing, 2-4
Eric Monnin (SUI) Search.ch, 2-4
Blythe Walker (BDA), 2-4