By Talbot Wilson- Argo Group Gold Cup
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, October 8, 2011: Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing knocked off #1 seed Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar/Argo Group today with a perfect performance in the Quarter-finals of the 2011 Argo Group Gold Cup. The World Match Racing Tour leader and #1 ranked ISAF open match racer went down 3-0 to the young Kiwi. Robertson and WAKA team mates Sam Bell, Garth Ellingham and James Williamson led Williams around the course in three straight matches.
The second Semi-final berth went to Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat. He also had a perfect run of three bullets against Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners. Mirsky was overpowering in upwind work and skilfully handeled the 25 kt puffs downwind, in rock and roll conditions on Hamilton Harbour.
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team defeated Staffan Lindberg’s (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team 3-1 in the quarters to be the third team in the Semi-finals. He came through to the Quarter-finals the hard way, coming out in the top two from a three team sail-off tiebreaker in the morning Repechage. Berntsson won a thrilling Repechage sail-off match with Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni. Berntsson lead at the last windward mark by 18 seconds and extendedthat slightly going downwind in the big gusts. He made his penalty turn around the pin and crossed the line just a bow ahead of the Italian for the big win. Berntsson kept his winning way in the quarters defeating Staffan Lindberg’s (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team 3-1.
Racing on Friday was intense. The wind was 12-25 kts from the northeast, so it was slicing right throuth Hamilton’s waterfront buildings and the Hamilton Princess Hotel. Big puffs were rolling down the course and sailors were forced to sail with what wind they had at the moment. Picking shifts wasn’t easy. The favored side varied depending on the timing of the big gusts.
The six–teasm Repechage (second chance) round-robin turned out to include a ‘re-repechage’ as well. This was the second Gold Cup in a row with a three-way unbreakable tie at the top. The tiebreaker included Berntsson, Bruni and Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and it was resolved on the water, not by a count back. By a draw, Berntsson and Bruni sailed first. Then Bruni, the looser, sailed a match with Hansen. Bruni won that to move on to the Quarter-final matches.
In the quarters, Bruni’s match against Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team stood at 2-2 when twilight fell to darkness. The deciding race is delayed until morning.
That single race will fill the Semi-finals and the draw for opponents will be held after its conclusion. The Argo Group Gold Cup. Ativities on Saturday include a sdponsor’s Pro-Am and racing in the semi-finals and the 5-8 competition. The winner of the Gold Cup takes $50,000 of the $100,000 prize purse. The remainder is divided among the second through eighth place teams.
Exciting live coverage of Argo Group Gold Cup action is available daily, at www.wmrt.com. The ‘WMRT Morning Show’ and ‘WMRT Today. Show’ with Hannah White are also shown on www.wmrt.com, providing a preview and wrap up of the racing each day from Hamilton Harbour.
The Argo Group Gold Cup schedule, skipper bios, groups and pairings for the Qualiying Rounds are posted on the web at www.argogroupgoldcup.com.
Daily press conferences at the Royal Bermuda YC are open to the public and start at 5:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday.
The Argo Group Gold Cup is followed on the World Match Racing Tour by their prestigious season ending finale, The Monsoon Cup, sailed in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.
For more information on WMRT, please visit: www.wmrt.com
For more information about the Argo Group Gold Cup, go to
About Argo Group:
Working Together to Serve Specialty Markets
Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NasdaqGS: AGII), is an international provider of specialty property and casualty insurance, reinsurance and managed risk solutions. The companies that make up Argo Group share a firm commitment to working together with our independent agents and wholesale and retail brokerage partners to deliver innovative products for niche markets.
Argo Group clients and shareholders alike benefit from our deep understanding of the markets we serve, our ability to manage through all insurance cycles, our well developed and prudent risk management practices and controls, and our track record of growth and profitability. Through our operating companies, we offer a comprehensive line of high-quality products and services designed to meet the unique coverage and claims-handling needs of our clients in four business segments: Excess and Surplus Lines, Commercial Specialty, Reinsurance and International Specialty, which includes our Lloyd's syndicate.
At Argo Group, we've built a company with a fundamental purpose of securing the future and a straightforward vision to achieve outstanding results realized together.
Organization-wide, our strategy—easy to define and rewarding to deploy—is to grow hand-in-hand with our clients.
Although Bermuda is an Atlantic island paradise in its own right, many people mistakenly believe Bermuda is part of the Caribbean. In fact, the island rests hundreds of miles north of the Bahamas, a mere 650 miles east of North Carolina. Flights from New York and other eastern US cities are less than two hours. From London, direct flights are about seven hours. All of Bermuda fits in a cozy 20.7 square miles surrounded by 75 miles of dramatic coastline. Bermuda is famous for hospitality and sparkling pink-sand beaches. Activities include racquet sports, dramatic golfing, spectacular spas, and cultural festivals in all seasons. Of course Bermuda is famous for sailing as a destination for ocean races from Marion, Newport, and Charleston, for Cruising rallies for other East Coast ports and as host to many national and international competitive events.
From chic international cuisine in posh dining rooms to conch stew and local Rockfish at a roadside café, we have a taste to please every palate and budget. While Bermudians do value island tranquility, we like to have a bit of fun, too. From swanky clubs to friendly neighborhood pubs, these after-hours establishments satisfy every thirst. Cocktail in hand and warm sea breeze at your back, set sail on one of our evening cruises along our famous coastline.
For details on all the excitement and events Bermuda has to offer, call your travel agent or visit us at www.bermudatourism.com
About the ISAF World Match Racing Tour
The World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) is the leading professional sailing series featuring 8 World Championship events across the globe, sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with "Special Event" status.
The World Tour awards over US$1.75million in prize money with points awarded at each event culminating in the crowning of the "ISAF Match Racing World Champion". The prize fund includes a US$500,000 overall prize pool for the top nine teams in the Championship.
Events take place in identically supplied racing yachts to place the focus 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.
Media and television highlights coverage reaches in excess of 183 countries around the world.
For more information, please visit: www.wmrt.com