2015 Argo Group Gold Cup News

UPDATE: 1155 ADT

Group B has completed its round robin with Taylor Canfield's US One, Björn Hansen's Nautiska Racing and Adam Minoprio's BlackMatch advancing to the quarterfinal round. Canfield won the group at 7-0, followed by Hansen at 5-2 and Minoprio at 5-2. Minoprio, however, finished with 4.5 points because of a penalty yesterday for causing damage to the boat.

Group A is on Hamilton Harbour and has three flights to complete plus one holdover match-between Berntsson Racing Team and SoftBank Team Japan-from yesterday. The top three in the group-currently Eric Monnin's Swiss Match Race Team, Ian Williams' GAC Pindar and Dean Barker's SoftBank Team Japan-will join the three Group B teams in the quarterfinals.

Morning Briefing: Oct. 8

oct8 morning sDay 2 at the 67th annual Argo Group Gold Cup sees Group B on the water first to complete the three flights in its round robin. Taylor Canfield’s US One streaked out to a 4-0 lead yesterday with victories over Francesco Bruni’s Artemis Racing, Reuben Corbett’s team, Nicolai Sehested’s Tre-For Match Racing and Bjorn Hansen’s Nautiska Racing.

Canfield has three matches remaining and of those the match in Flight 6 against Adam Minoprio’s BlackMatch team could be key to determining who wins the group. Minoprio trails Canfield by 1 point after winning three of his four matches yesterday.

Once Group B is done Group A will take to the water for the remaining three flights in its round robin. Eric Monnin’s Swiss Match Race Team leads the group with a 3-1 record. The crew put forth a solid performance in yesterday’s strong winds but has three difficult matches against Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar, Johnie Berntsson’s team and Blythe Walker’s Team RenRe.

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Blustery Conditions Greet Fleet At Argo Group Gold Cup

oct8 goldcup sWind gusts up to 28 knots make for an eventful opening day on Hamilton Harbour

HAMILTON, Bermuda - The 67th annual Argo Group Gold Cup commenced today with wind conditions that kept crews on their toes and will keep the repair crews up late tonight.

The early leaders in the $100,000 match racing regatta, an event of the World Match Racing Tour, are Eric Monnin's Swiss Match Race Team and Taylor Canfield's USone. Monnin won three of his four races to top Group A with 3 points and Canfield leads Group B with 4 points. Each group is slated to sail seven races in the rounds robin.

The conditions were a handful, even for the experienced crews. The crews in Group A this morning saw wind gusts up to 28 knots during the second and third flights, making boat handling as difficult as it gets. The International One-Design (IOD) sloop is narrow at the waterline and when the spinnaker starts oscillating from side to side in a gust, it takes the boat with it.

Experienced skippers such as Dean Barker (SoftBank Team Japan) and Blythe Walker (Team RenRe) wiped out in spectacular fashion and the boats took a beating. The official breakdown list included four torn spinnakers, one broken gooseneck (the boom-to-mast attachment point), one broken mast crane (where the backstay attaches to the mast, affecting mainsail trim and headstay tension), one lost anchor chalk and a few collisions, including one with a concrete pier.

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UPDATE: 1315 hours (ADT)

Eric Monnin’s Swiss Match Race Team has streaked out to an early lead at the 67th annual Argo Group Gold Cup. With Group A having completed four flights, Monnin’s crew won three to top the early standings.

Monnin, last year’s runner-up, could be a dark horse contender this week. Trimming main and helping with tactics is Frenchman Mathieu Richard, the 2007 champion. Richard has a fine touch for the IOD and could be a difference maker.

Second is held by Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar crew, which has 2.5 points from three victories. Williams lost his first match to Blythe Walker’s RenRe team from Bermuda, in which he was penalized for running into Walker’s transom around the leeward gate. Williams then went on to win his next three matches.

Monnin’s match against Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan was another slam-bang affair. With the wind gusting to 28 knots, the two crews were rocking and rolling downwind. The IOD is a hard boat to handle in those conditions because the beam is so narrow that the spinnaker pulls the boat from side to side. Baker wiped out numerous times and was forced to douse the spinnaker to get the boat back under control. During one wipe out the crane at the top of the mast broke, which forced a postponement of his match against Johnie Berntsson.

Barker and Berntsson both have 2 points from three matches, while Phil Robertson’s WAKA Racing has 2 points from four matches. Chris Poole, Joachim Aschenbrenner and Walker all have 1 point from four matches.

The wind has abated to a more manageable 15 knots and Group B is preparing to head to the water.

Hansen finally on site as racing begins today

oct7 morning sRacing for the 67th annual Argo Group Gold Cup begins today with the eight crews in Group A and B each scheduled to sail as many as four flights in their rounds robin.

Swede Björn Hansen, skipper of the Nautiska Racing Team and a 12-time entrant in the regatta, was the last skipper to arrive, landing last night during the opening reception. His travel schedule from Europe was badly delayed due to Hurricane Joaquin. The No. 1 seed in Group B, he and his crew are practicing this morning while Group A begins racing.

Group A takes to the water at 9 am (ADT) with Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar team squaring off against Blythe Walker’s Team RenRe. Other Group A matches in the first flight include reigning champion Johnie Berntsson’s racing team versus Phil Robertson’s Waka Racing, American Chris Poole’s RipTide Racing versus last year’s runner-up Eric Monnin’s Swiss Match Race Team, and the youngest skipper in the fleet, Joachim Aschenbrenner, against Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan.

VIEW the Round Robin Flight Schedule

Around 12:30 pm Group B is scheduled to head out and the organizers hope to complete the first four flights in as well. The first flight in Group B features Bjorn Hansen’s Nautiska Racing Team against Adam Minoprio’s BlackMatch team, Keith Swinton’s Black Swan Racing against Christ Steele’s 36 Below Racing, Nicolai Sehested’s Tre-For Match Racing against Reuben Corbett’s Corbett Racing, and Taylor Canfield’s US One versus Francesco Bruni’s Artemis Racing team.

The Bermuda Weather Service is forecasting breezy conditions with the possibility of showers throughout the day.