Tag Archive | "Ben Ainslie"

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Podium wide open ahead of Extreme Sailing Series Muscat final showdown

Posted on 22 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] The punishing light winds and beating Arabian sun called for nerves of steel on the penultimate day’s racing of the Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat, which saw a reshuffle of the pack and a shift in power on the leaderboard. Overnight leaders Alinghi managed to hold onto pole position and withstand the onslaught of pressure from the rest of the pack, but it couldn’t be closer at the top, with just 14 points between the top five boats – less than the difference of tomorrow’s final double points race. SAP Extreme Sailing Team did well to put themselves back in the game, heading into tomorrow’s final showdown in second place, but the team of the day was Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan BAR, with three race wins for the Brits, who are now threatening the podium hard. Tomorrow’s final will come down to which team can withstand the pressure, and fans around the world can watch it live at a new time of 1500 local time/1100GMT/1200CET.

Alinghi marked their intent from the first start gun with a race win, but even the light wind specialists struggled for consistency in breeze of around five knots, and it looked like the tricky course may have finally got the better of the Swiss America’s Cup winners with a last place in race 16. Race 19 and the team turned it around, hitting the reset button and clawing back some valuable points, as helm Morgan Larson explained: “Things can come and go out there, you try and stick to the same objective and sometimes the wind doesn’t go your way or you get stuck in a tough spot. I think a lot of the other competitors that came out today had already figured it out, so we got caught up a little bit. You have to have the best day tomorrow, you can’t hold back.”

SAP Extreme Sailing Team played a steady game, keeping their heads cools and their concentration level, slowly chipping away at the points with consistent results throughout the day. A win in the final race elevated the team to second place, and their elated co-skipper and tactician Rasmus Kostner was thrilled with the comeback. “That was really close racing all day. We got some good starts, we got some good positions on the left hand side of the course – we are super happy. Four points (between them and Alinghi) is nothing, you can win or lose that in one race so it’s all on tomorrow. We just need to push on, get everything right – there’s no room for mistakes on a course like this.”

Ben Ainslie sits in fourth place at the Extreme Sailing Series event in Oman. Muscat, 21 March 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

The Kiwis on Emirates Team New Zealand, who were the fastest off the startline today according to the SAP analytics, are breathing down the necks of the Danish, just one point behind, but the legendary America’s Cup skipper Dean Barker knows the team have more to give. “It didn’t feel like a good day for us to be honest. I think we made a couple of silly mistakes. The day could have gone a lot better, and tomorrow is going to be a very busy day. Whoever sails reasonably smartly tomorrow will have a good chance of being successful. You just battle for every point in every race.”

The four-times Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie and his team on J.P. Morgan BAR hit accelerate today, and really applied the pressure, coming together as a team with all the right moves to take three race wins. The British team upgraded their overnight position from sixth to fourth, and their tactician and Olympic champion Paul ‘Goodie’ Goodison is ready for the final battle. “I’m pretty surprised we’re as close to the leaders as we are, but it’s really good. It means there’s still a lot to play for and if we keep improving like we have done the last three days we should be doing alright.” Reflecting on the day, he continued: “I think we had a good set plan before the start. We wanted to be the first boat out on port heading into what we thought was more pressure, and it seemed to work most of the time. Apart from that, when things didn’t go well, we did quite a good job of pulling back. I think a lot of that is where we’re still learning to sail the boat and becoming a bit more confident in our skills, which is starting to show up.”

Realteam were also able to upgrade their overall position today, from ninth to seventh, seeing more of the form we saw at Act 1 in Singapore, where the team took third place, as were Gazprom Team Russia, who took their first race win this year, elevating them from tenth to eighth. “We’re starting to sail better, our starts are better and we’re a bit more in the mix now. Everyone was pretty pleased to get the first bullet, but hopefully it’s the first of many,” commented their helm Paul Campbell-James.

The light winds punished some of the teams hard, including the defending champions and the home team The Wave, Muscat and Groupama sailing team. Neither team were able to put in the consistent performance that will be needed if they want to be stood on the podium tomorrow, but they did enough to keep themselves well in the game – The Wave, Muscat in fifth place on 118 points and Groupama sailing team in sixth with 105 – three points ahead of Realteam. Meet Leigh McMillan and The Wave, Muscat team here.

Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 2, Muscat standings after Day 3, 21 races (21.03.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 132 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 128 points.
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 127 points.
4th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 122 points.
5th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 118 points.
6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 105 points.
7th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 102 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 99 points.
9th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 96 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 88 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour 59 points.

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JP Morgan BAR announce full British line up ahead of 2014 Extreme Sailing Series debut

Posted on 19 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: JP Morgan BAR] With only one day to go before their Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) debut in Singapore, J.P.Morgan BAR announce that America’s Cup sailor, Nick Hutton will join Sir Ben Ainslie’s racing entry, completing the full British line up. It is a return to the global series for the Devon born sailor and his support and guidance will be invaluable for the new team.

Hutton, considered to be one of the most experienced sailors in the Series, has already enjoyed extreme success having won the series in 2010 with Omani entry, The Wave, Muscat. “It’s fantastic to be involved with J.P. Morgan BAR and to be back competing in the Extreme Sailing Series. Winning the series in 2010 was a huge highlight for me and I am absolutely hoping for a repeat performance with BAR, we are in for an exciting year – there are lots of new faces, there’s tough competition, plus some tricky venues so it is a really interesting time to for us to be involved’ he commented.

Sir Ben Ainslie and Nick Hutton during Wednesday’s training session. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Howie Photography

The experienced sailor will join Ainslie, 2008 Olympic gold medallists, Paul Goodison and Pippa Wilson and Match Racing World Champion, Matt Cornwell as the team’s trimmer. “It’s fantastic to have Nick on-board with J.P.Morgan BAR; he brings a huge amount of technical knowledge and experience to an already talented team. We are all looking forward to Singapore; it is our first ESS event competing together so it is a pretty big test for us. There’s eight Acts over the course of the year so this will be a complete learning curve and we are looking to set ourselves up for the challenging series ahead” commented quadruple Olympic gold and silver medallist, Ainslie.

Alongside their partnership with J.P. Morgan, BAR are supported in their Extreme Sailing quest by their technical clothing supplier, Henri Lloyd and Scorpion Ribs, who supply the team chase and hospitality boats for the series.

Full J.P.Morgan BAR crew list
Skipper/ Helmsman – Sir Ben Ainslie
Mainsail Trimmer/ Tactician – Paul Goodison
Bowman – Matt Cornwall
Trimmer – Nick Hutton
Trimmer – Pippa Wilson

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Ambitious Extreme Sailing Series confirmed for 2014: Full starting grid, 3 continent world tour & 2 new venues

Posted on 08 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Extreme Sailing Series organisers OC Sport, alongside Land Rover, one of two Series Main Partners, have today confirmed details of their most ambitious Series to date at the London Boat Show. The award-winning and ‘ISAF Special Event’ world tour will celebrate its eighth year on the international sailing calendar with eight iconic Host Venues spanning three continents, over eleven months and nine elite level teams representing seven nations, who will compete to win the coveted Extreme Sailing Series trophy.

Executive Chairman of OC Sport, Mark Turner, commented: “2014 is the eighth year of this the original Stadium Racing circuit, and significantly our fourth as a world tour. We’ve added two commercially important markets for our stakeholders, and retained six existing venues as well as all the teams from 2013 – we continue on an upward curve with this event which is delivering elite level top class sporting action, as well as strong commercial return on investment for all its stakeholders. That combination remains number one priority for us with this event.”

Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director commented: “The new season brings eight exciting global locations, all important markets for Land Rover, and this includes two completely new cities, Saint Petersburg and Sydney. Each Host Venue will provide a unique mix of excitement, challenge, accessibility and the very highest quality of competition sailing. Land Rover is immensely proud to be a Series Main Partner for the Extreme Sailing Series. The determination, courage and ability to intelligently respond to fast changing conditions are what is required to be at the top of the sport and these are all virtues shared and recognised by Land Rover and our customers.”

For the first time, Singapore will host the curtain raiser to the 2014 Series, with the first starting gun on 20th February. In Singapore the fleet will race within the confines of the ultimate city-centre stadium on the world-famous Marina Bay. From Asia, to the Middle East and the capital of the Sultanate of Oman for Act 2 19-22 March, before the fleet return to China’s ‘Olympic Sailing City’ Qingdao, China’s premier racing destination in May.

A brand new venue for 2014 is Saint Petersburg, Russia. A city with an extraordinary history and Russia’s cultural capital, it is considered to be one of the world’s most picturesque cities. It has all the ingredients for an unforgettable Act, 26-29 June.

The annual UK leg will take the fleet of high-performance catamarans to the heart of the Welsh capital in Cardiff – one of the smallest stadiums on the world tour over the UK August bank holiday weekend, 22-25 August.

From 11 September, the waters separating Asia and Europe will host Act 6 as the fleet return to the magnificent city of Istanbul, Turkey – a favourite amongst the teams with tide and wind, set against a city backdrop instantly recognised the world over, before the penultimate Act of the year at a Host Venue to be confirmed in the Mediterranean in early October.

The final Act of 2014 will be held in one of the most iconic cities in the world as the fleet head to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time, the Harbour City in Sydney Australia in December – a city with one of the world’s most famous waterfronts.

Notably absent for 2014 and not in the Extreme Sailing Series calendar is Brazil, but the tour will return in 2015, following on from the successful final 2013 Act in Florianopolis.

Superb lineup of some of the world’s best skippers for the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

Nine teams – Seven Nations – 45 Elite Level Sailors

2014 will see one of the most exciting and competitive line-ups in the eight years of competition – America’s Cup winners, heroes of multiple Olympic Games, World Champions and round the world sailors – will go head to head on a stadium racecourse that has a reputation as one of the toughest in professional inshore sailing. All teams from 2013 will return in 2014, alongside some new faces, a testament to the long-term sustainability of the Series.

One of three British skippers signed up for 2014 is the world’s greatest Olympic sailor, who played a key role in ORACLE TEAM USA’s astonishing victory in the 34th America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay, Sir Ben Ainslie, who is back in the Extreme Sailing Series after competing in three Acts in 2011 with Oman Air. This year Ainslie will field his own team, J.P. Morgan BAR. And the man who counts four Olympic gold medals and a silver in his trophy cabinet, plus countless world titles in the Laser and Finn classes, is itching to get back involved in the adrenaline-fuelled Extreme Sailing Series. “I remember that it is crazy racing. Anyone who has seen the Series – or taken part in it – will tell you that the style of the courses, the speed of the boats and the number of boats on any side of the course at one time, means there is a lot of action and a lot of potential for crashes and incidents. So it makes for exciting racing and you really have to be on your toes.” Despite Ainslie being one of the most in demand sailors of his generation, he will take nothing for granted on the stadium racecourse. “There are some strong teams that have been going at it for some time. You look at Leigh (McMillan) – he and his team have been the stand-out performers for the past two seasons. Then there’s the likes of Alinghi. So you look at the talent out there and the history they have in this Series and it feels like we’re the new kids on the block.”

Reigning champion Leigh McMillan will be back at the helm of The Wave, Muscat and he will not be giving up his crown without a serious fight, in what could be a hat-trick year in 2014 for the British Olympian “I love the racing. It’s intense, never the same, always changing. So, I am thrilled and excited to be back in 2014 and the treble would be something I would be very proud to achieve,” commented McMillan. “We are expecting 2014 to be quite different this year. The fleet is going to be bigger and more competitive. It’s an exciting prospect, it raises the tempo and we are in a great position to compete and to be competitive. It’s a thrill, a rush, it’s just the best place to be and in 2014 there is no better place to be than in the Extreme 40s.”

Oman Sail will field a second team from the Sultanate, Oman Air, helmed by Brit Rob Greenhalgh. Winner of the inaugural Series in 2007, Greenhalgh is not only one of the most experience Extreme 40 sailors in the fleet, his impressive CV also boasts three Volvo Ocean Races, seven Atlantic crossings, three World Championships titles and a host of European titles.

Another face returning to the starting grid is Franck Cammas at the helm of Groupama, winner of the most recent addition of the Volvo Ocean Race, who is currently campaigning for Rio 2016 in the Nacra 17 class. The Extreme Sailing Series represents a rarity to Cammas – an event he has yet to win, despite two previous attempts, finishing fourth in 2009 and fifth in 2010 – something the French legend intends to put right. “It is very exciting for us to come back. We want to focus more on the circuit, so we can do better. It is special racing for sure. Always the best crew is the winner, so that’s important.” On board with Cammas will be two other French Nacra 17 sailors – his own crew Sophie de Turckheim and Mathieu Vandame, the 2012 F18 catamaran World Champion. They will be joined by two of his original Extreme 40 crew, Devan Le Bihan and Tanguy Cariou.

2013 Extreme Sailing Series runners up Alinghi from Switzerland will be back skippered by Ernesto Bertarelli opting for the same crew including American Morgan Larson calling the tactics in a bid to go one better in 2014. Bertarelli commented: “Finishing second last season, with the same number of points as the winner is a great motivation for the team to fight hard again in 2014! The Series’ combination of one-design boats, short racecourses and an improving selection of venues gives everyone – teams and sponsors – an exciting experience. 2014 is Alinghi’s fifth year and I look forward to the start of the sailing season”. A second team from Switzerland, Realteam, will also return with Jérôme Clerc as skipper for their second year of competition.

The familiar double Olympic gold medal-winning duo of Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher who finished third in 2013, will return for their fifth year of competition on board Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team, while the Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team will line up for their third consecutive year, with Jes Gram Hansen and Rasmus Kostner as co-skippers and determined to finish on the Series podium after narrowly missing out in 2013.

GAC Pindar are one of the longest standing teams in the Series, but will field a brand new team in 2014 as the Australian challengers for the America’s Cup prepare to make their Stadium Racing debut, led by Seve Jarvin, who at 27 will be the youngest skipper of the fleet.

The first Act of the year will start in just over six weeks time, with a local boat, Team Aberdeen Singapore, already confirmed to compete meaning a full starting grid of 10 elite level teams will line up on the world famous Marina Bay.

Extreme Sailing Series ™ 2014 Host Venues:
Act 1: Singapore, 20-23 February
Act 2: Muscat, Oman 19-22 March
Act 3: Qingdao, China 1-4 May
Act 4: Saint Petersburg, Russia 26-29 June
Act 5: Cardiff, UK 22-25 August
Act 6: Istanbul, Turkey 11-14 September
Act 7: Mediterranean 2-5 October
Act 8: Sydney, Australia 11-14 December

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Teams and skippers:
Team / Skipper
Alinghi (SUI) – Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI)
GAC Pindar (AUS) – Seve Jarvin (AUS)
Groupama Team France (FRA) – Franck Cammas (FRA)
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) – Ben Ainslie (GBR)
Oman Air (OMA) – Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
Realteam (SUI) – Jérôme Clerc (SUI)
Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) – Roman Hagara (AUT)
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) – Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN) / Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – Leigh McMillan (GBR)

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Sir Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan BAR to enter Extreme Sailing Series 2014

Posted on 08 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: JP Morgan BAR] Sir Ben Ainslie has announced the continued partnership with long term sponsors J.P. Morgan who will support Ben Ainslie Racing’s (BAR) entry into the Extreme Sailing Series 2014 (ESS). In addition to this, J.P. Morgan also announced that their title sponsorship of the iconic Round the Island Race will continue to reside with J.P. Morgan Asset Management for a further two-year period up to and including 2016. These announcements came at the annual London Boat Show on the stand, exhibiting BAR’s AC45 that broke the Round the Island Race Multihull record last year.

L to R: BAR team members Paul Goodison, Sir Ben Ainslie and Matt Cornwell stand in front of the J.P. Morgan BAR AC45 at the London Boat Show 2014. Photo copyright OnEdition

Paul Goo​dison, S​ir Ben A​inslie a​nd Matt ​Cornwell​

Also revealed were three of the four sailors who will compete with Ainslie in the Extreme Sailing Series 2014: Team GB teammates and Beijing Olympic Gold Medallist’s, Paul Goodison and Pippa Wilson, alongside bowman Matt Cornwell, a previous Match Racing World Champion with Ainslie. The final crew member will be revealed before the first event of the season in Singapore.

Ainslie is looking forward to the season ahead. “It’s great J.P. Morgan BAR will be competing in this year’s Extreme Sailing Series and to have my long term sponsor J.P Morgan onboard with the team. J.P. Morgan has been such an important part of my sailing career for the last seven years, helping me achieve success in the Olympics and supporting BAR’s entry into the 2012/2013 America’s Cup World Series.” The team also continue to be supported by Henri Lloyd as their official technical clothing partner and Scorpion Ribs who are supplying the team chase and hospitality boats for the Series.

Ainslie has previously competed in the Extreme Sailing Series in 2011 for two events after qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics. It will be the first full Extreme Sailing Series for all three Olympic gold medallist.

Eager to get started on the new project Paul Goodison added “I’m excited to be sailing with such a talented British crew. The only experience I have had with the Extreme 40 until now was coaching the Omani boats in Cardiff in 2012, so its going to be good to get out racing.”

Crew List
Skipper/Helmsman – Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer / Tactician – Paul Goodison (GBR)
Bowman – Matt Cornwall (GBR)
Floater – Pippa Wilson (GBR)
Trimmer – TBC

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Extreme Sailing Series to announce exciting lineup of venues and teams for 2014

Posted on 06 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

The Extreme Sailing Series enters now into its eighth year of existence and if one is to judge by the venues and participating teams, organizers OC Sports are set to announce on Wednesday, 2014 certainly promises to be a fantastic year. However, our sources Down Under gave us a preview of what to expect:

A total of 8 cities will play host to an Extreme Sailing Series event this year and five of them have already seen the Extreme 40 fleet racing on their waters. Singapore, Muscat, Qingdao Cardiff and Istanbul are no strangers to the Extreme Sailing Series but two new, and exciting, venues seem to come onboard this year, Saint-Petersburg in Russia and Sydney. It appears that the seventh regatta, or Act as they call it, of the circuit is still undecided but will take place somewhere in the Mediterranean (I truly hope it’s in Valencia!).

Venues of the Extreme Sailing Series in 2014
Act 1: Singapore, 20-23 February
Act 2: Muscat, 19-22 March
Act 3: Qingdao, 1-4 May
Act 4: Saint Petersburg, 26-29 June
Act 5: Cardiff, 22-25 August
Act 6: Istanbul, 11-14 September
Act 7: Mediterranean 2-5 October (still unconfirmed venue)
Act 8: Sydney, 11-14 December

With Land Rover as a sponsor, the Extreme Sailing Series will see a strong year in 2014

In what regards the participating teams, the standard definitely edges up. Not only is Franck Cammas back in the Series after a four-year hiatus, Sir Ben Ainslie, the world’s most successful sailor, will be back after a short stint in 2011 but this time with his own team, JP Morgan BAR. Ainslie skippered Oman Air in 2011 in three events. With their sights firmly set on the 35th America’s Cup and no AC45 action foreseen this year, both Cammas and Ainslie will certainly use the Extreme Sailing Series as a training platform.

The Sultanate of Oman now appears to be backing again two teams, as Oman Air are back in the circuit. Is that related to the rumored entry of Oman in the 35th America’s Cup?

The remaining core group consists of well-known teams in the circuit, such as Alinghi, GAC Pindar, Realteam, Red Bull Sailing Team and SAP Extreme Sailing Team.

The rumor mill wanted Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand entering the circuit this year but that doesn’t seem to be the case. GAC Pindar becomes Australian in 2014 and will be skippered by Seve Jarvin, the young Australian, current 18FT Skiff World Champion. Javin’s team, Gotta Luv it 7, is managed by Iain Murray who also happens to be Manager of the 35th America’s Cup Challenger of Record, Hamilton Island. Could that signal Hamilton Island’s, indirect, entry into the Extreme Sailing Series? We’ll know in a couple of days.

This is a fantastic lineup both in terms of quality teams and landmark cities. Our only complain is that there is no serious entry from Asia. There will certainly be a few local wildcards in Singapore and Qingdao but it certainly is a pity that the Koreans and Chinese seem to be unable to fund teams for the entire circuit.

Core teams and skippers of the Extreme Sailing Series in 2014
1. Alinghi (SUI) – Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI)
2. GAC Pindar (AUS) – Seve Jarvin (AUS)
3. Groupama (FRA) – Franck Cammas (FRA)
4. J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) – Ben Ainslie (GBR)
5. Oman Air (OMA) – Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
6. Realteam (SUI) – Jérome Clerc (SUI)
7. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) – Roman Hagara (AUT)
8. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) – Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
9. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – Leigh McMillan (GBR)

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Ben Ainslie talks to BBC Radio about the America’s Cup and the prospects of a British challenger

Posted on 22 October 2013 by Valencia Sailing

The world’s most successful sailor talks about his recent victory with Oracle Team USA and his very hard efforts to mount a British America’s Cup challenger. He feels “reasonably confident” and thinks the next two weeks will be important. He is clear though that if he’s unable to find sufficient private funding he will not go ahead because there is no point into going into an event like this if the chances to win are very slim.

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Francesco Bruni takes Ben Ainslie 3-2 to win Argo Group Gold Cup

Posted on 14 October 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Argo Group Gold Cup] It was a battle of America’s Cup tacticians Sunday in Bermuda. In one of the most exciting finals in Argo Group Gold Cup history, Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa put a stop to the comeback kid, Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) BART/Argo Group. Bruni won the first two races and then Ainslie took two and looked like he was going to add a Gold Cup comeback to his America’s Cup record.

Bruini would have nothing of that and sailed flawlessly in the final race to win the King Edward VII Gold Cup and US$50,000 of the $100,000 prize purse.

Bruni had great pace at the start of the final race. He was on starboard, to weather of Ainslie and on the line right on time. In the Northeasterly breeze, he took Ainslie all the way up to the wall at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel gaining separation on the way.

When they tacked for the obstruction, Bruni was clearly ahead and then gained on the long port tack to the weather mark. Ainslie couldn’t pull another catch up out of his trick bag

Bruni and his crew Pierluigi de Felice, Xabi Fernandez and Nick Hutton were jubilant. This was the first time an Italian has ever won the King Edward VII Gold Cup. It was a historic victory for Bruni who comes from Palermo, Sicily and had lost only one race in reaching the finals. Ainslie had lost only two, so the cream had really risen to the top.

Both Bruni and Ainslie had come through the Semi Finals Sunday morning with perfect 3-0 records. Ainslie defeated Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX. Bruni handled defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone. Canfield went on to beat Minoprio in the Petite finals and take 3rd place and putting Minoprio into 4th.

Francesco Bruni wins the Argo Group Gold Cup. Hamilton, 13 Oct 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Prize Winners
Francesco Bruni $50,000
Sir Ben Ainslie $20,000
Taylor Canfield $10,000
Adam Minoprio $ 7,000
Bjorn Hanson $ 5500
Ian Williams $ 4,000
Keith Swinton $ 2,500
Phil Robertson $ 1,000

Ian Williams won the Wedgewood trophy and Nicoli Sehestead won the Jordy Walker Trophy as the most improved sailor in Match Race Association or Tour events.

Quotes of the Day:

Francesco Bruni: “I am very happy about our win and I didn’t really think we would be here at the start of it all. We went very well throughout the regatta – we did not come up through a repechage or other ways. We just sailed well almost the entire race. Hamilton harbor is a very tricky race course and everyone makes mistakes including us. We sailed very well all week.

“To win every start against Sir Ben Ainslie in the finals is pretty big. We were quite sure we could separate it and the plan in our mind worked beautifully. Every cross, we were ahead. After we were 2-2 we are very happy we didn’t let it slip away from our hands. We sailed Sir Ben to the wall and he asked for room to tack. It was a huge setback for Ben because when he tacked around we just had him and powered ahead.

“It has been a really great return to the world tour. And, I need to thank Luna Rossa for bringing us here. It has been a great reward for all of us after a lot of hard work.

Sir Ben Ainslie: “It was a great final. Ultimately we were beaten by a better team. They started their races better and they became the team that we could not beat today. We are here to honor the memory of our friend Andrew “Bart” Simpson and we have got a lot of support from everyone here for our Foundation. We sailed well today and we are glad we got the band back together in honor of Bart who was such an ambassador to the sport.”

Iain Percy: “This has been a very memorable regatta. We have been through something very hard and it has been a tough six months. Being in Bermuda has helped us with this and we are grateful to all of the goodwill of everyone here.”

Adam Minoprio: “It is great to be sitting here in the final four. It was a disappointing end to the regatta for us but we have sailed hard throughout this event. This is our sixth time at the Gold Cup so we are just very honored to be here.”

Taylor Canfield: “I can’t deny that it was tough for us not making the finals as we were sailing well enough. We are happy to get 3rd and we learned we are still leading the tour. We were disappointed by the call in the final race against Francesco Bruni by the umpire but we also made small errors that hurt us. Whether you make it through or not it is still an amazing event. I feel privileged to be around an incredible group of sailors. This harbor does get the best of you sometime and it truly did. We are on to the Monsoon Cup next and we actually leading the tour so we are really looking forward to that.”

Francesco Bruni wins the Argo Group Gold Cup. Hamilton, 13 Oct 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

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Sir Ben Ainslie and Francesco Bruni draw first blood in Argo Group Gold Cup semis

Posted on 13 October 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Argo Group Gold Cup] In the very light and shifty conditions, the Semi Finals were delayed after only one race in each match. Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) BART/Argo Group defeated Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX in a runaway. Ainslie was masterful in picking his way through the shifts and taking the best of the puffs.

The sole race between Argo Group Gold Cup defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone and Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa went to Bruni by maybe a bow roller. In the three-lap puff hopper, the lead changed on wind shifts, penalties. Then with Canfield in the lead approaching the final windward mark on starboard, he had a windless mark rounding and a slower spinnaker set.

Bruni came rolling up the port tack layline on a good puff for the day, made a gentle rounding and a perfect, quick set. He took the inside on starboard heading downwind. Canfield was ahead, but to leeward. Bruni made gains on the puffs before they moved down to Canfield. Bruni was able to nip Canfield at the finish to take a point. Best to three wins.

Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team took 5th place by defeating Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing in the first match between skippers who had lost the Quarter Finals. Hansen then faced Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar who had earlier defeated Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA. Hansen took the win and put Williams into 4th place. Swinton then defeated Robertson taking 7th place and leaving 8th for the young Kiwi.

The committee was finally able to get off the 7-8 place match between Swinton and Robertson, but because of the poor racing conditions and the lateness in the day the PRO David Campbell-James decided to look for better racing conditions on Sunday. Racing may start as early as 9:00 ADT to get all the races in… Semi Finals, Petite finals and the big one for the Gold Cup and $50,000.

The forecast for the final day of the Argo Group Gold Cup is for Winds north-northeasterly 8 to 12 knots, veering east-northeasterly 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Ben Ainslie leads Adam Minoprio 1-0 in the Argo Group Gold Cup semifinals. Hamilton, 12 October 2013. Photo copyright Argo Group Gold Cup

Quotes of the Day:

Taylor Canfield: “The first and only race today was frustrating in that we were never able to get up to speed. We had a lead change where we were five boats behind and he rolled into us and we led throughout the next lap. We were pretty far ahead of him and we rounded in good pressure. He rounded shortly after us and he was on our tail with the last shift and he rolled over the top of us. It was very tough to lose it in the last second after leading most of the race. Tomorrow should be a fresh start for us and although it would be nice to have had that one, we will come back tomorrow morning and get right back at it.”

Francesco Bruni: “We got the win today against Taylor and this is only the second time perhaps that we have met on the race course. He is young and I am somewhat like an older diesel engine and he is like a fast sports car so that is something we are up against. He has improved a great deal and we were here at the Gold Cup two years ago when he was sailing. Right now, he is a dangerous opponent…we were leading at one point during the regatta and he turned it around on us very quickly. We will have tough races ahead of us with him.”

Iain Percy: “For the Ainslie Team it was really a funky odd day on the race course. It was very difficult for the race committee. We won the only race. We are really going to have to start it all over again tomorrow with hopefully a better day of racing.”

Adam Minoprio: “It was a tough first race as there was a point where there was absolutely no breeze at the top mark. As much as we tried to close in we just weren’t able to get that wind pressure to give us any speed. Going up against Ben Ainslie is a challenge. He has really not been away from match racing for that long and he is a top competitor at every level. He and his team don’t have any weaknesses – so all we can hope for is that we can capitalize on any mistakes and use that to our advantage.”

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