Tag Archive | "Francesco Bruni"

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Taylor Canfield consolidates World #1 spot in Match Racing Rankings

Posted on 17 April 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] Taylor Canfield (ISV) retained World #1 in the Open Rankings having overcome World #2 Ian Williams (GBR) in the final of the ISAF Grade 1 Congressional Cup in Long Beach, California, USA.

A best of three final was raced to decide the 50th Congressional Cup Champion, with one win a piece it was all to play for going into the last race. During the pre-start a loud crunching noise indicated a collision between boats and the fortunes of fate swung to Canfield in the last minute.

First he noticed the six-inch chunk missing from the transom behind his feet, then he reached for the protest flag and moments later saw the on-water umpires affirm his protest with a blue flag, matching Williams’ ID for that race.

Canfield stayed out of trouble to take the honours and extend his advantage at World #1.

Taylor Canfield extends his grip on the #1 spot at the match racing rankings. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

The top five remain as per usual in the Open Rankings but further down there is significant movement following a busy period of match racing regattas.

Francesco Bruni (ITA) is one of the month’s biggest movers having climbed 54 places to World #48. The former World #1 only counts five regattas to his name and having finished third at the ISAF Grade 1 Congressional Cup the Italian was significantly promoted back in the top 50.

The Italian will sail on the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour and will look to work his way back to the top as the tour unfolds.

Croatia’s Tomislav Basic moved up from World #31 to World #21 after he won the ISAF Grade 3 Slovenian National Open Match Race Championships in Izola, Slovenia. The Croatian counts eight regattas to his points total and of those eight he has won six. His personal best ranking of World #10 came in February 2000.

Having won the ISAF Grade 3 Match Race Thailand Championship Maximilian Soh (SIN) moved to a personal best ranking of World #36. The Singaporean is on a run of seven straight victories at Grade 3 and 5 regattas and has been rewarded having previously sat at World #50.

Korea’s Gunwoo Park has broken into the top 100 for the first time in his career following a third at the Match Race Thailand Championship. Park counts six regattas to his points total and climbs from World #107 to World #66.

With several ISAF Grade 3, 4 and 5 regattas taking place in the latter part of February, all throughout March and the early part of April further movement is visible in the April release.

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Luna Rossa participates in the 50th edition of the Congressional Cup

Posted on 09 April 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Luna Rossa] Today at 11 AM local time (8 PM in Italy) will be the kick-off of the 50th edition of the Congressional Cup, the oldest and most prestigious match race event, second only to America’s Cup, where participation is by invitation only.

This year the event organizers invited Luna Rossa who decided to include the competition in the team’s preparation program for the 35th America’s Cup.

Francesco Bruni, winner of the Congressional Cup in 2010, will be the helmsman and will compete against nine crews counting some of the biggest names in the international match racing scene: Taylor Canfield, the skipper from the U.S. Virgin Islands currently number one in the international match race ranking list, British Ian Williams (second), New Zealander Phil Robertson (fourth), Australian Keith Swinton (fifth) and Frenchman Mathieu Richard (sixth). The team of Simone Ferrarese, defending champion and eighth in the world ranking list, is also participating in the event.

The Luna Rossa team consists of Francesco Bruni (helmsman), Adam Minoprio (tactician), Xabier Fernandez (mainsail trimmer), Simeon Tienpont (pitman), Pierluigi de Felice (trimmer), Max Sirena (bowman)

“The Congressional Cup is one of the most prestigious and challenging match race events in the international sailing scene,” said Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa. “The match race will be the focal point of our preparation for the 35th America’s Cup and, given the high level of the crews, this event will be an important test after the winter break.”

The Congressional Cup, organized by the Long Beach Yacht Club, will run from Wednesday the 9th to Sunday the 13th of April. The crews sail with the Catalina 37 one-design monohulls that, following an initial draw, will be rotated on a daily base among the teams. The event format is a Round Robin, followed by semi-finals and final.

The Luna Rossa team consists of Francesco Bruni (helmsman), Adam Minoprio (tactician), Xabier Fernandez (mainsail trimmer), Simeon Tienpont (pitman), Pierluigi de Felice (trimmer), Max Sirena (bowman).

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Alpari World Match Racing Tour Announces 2014 Championship Skippers

Posted on 11 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] The Alpari World Match Racing Tour has today announced the eight Tour Card skippers for the 2014 World Championship series. Defending Tour Champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) leads the line up of the world’s top match racers alongside four-time Tour Champion Ian Williams (GBR), Keith Swinton (AUS), Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Mathieu Richard (FRA) and Phil Robertson (NZL).

Joining the race for the 2014 title is also one of the challenging teams for the 35th America’s Cup, Luna Rossa (ITA).

Francesco Bruni will represent Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli’s long term America’s Cup challenger Luna Rossa. Bruni, a former Laser, 49er and Star class Olympic sailor, was tactician aboard the Italian team’s AC72 catamaran in San Francisco during the 34th America’s Cup last year. He has now stepped into the driving seat for their match race training. Bruni competed at the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda in 2013, when he triumphed over Sir Ben Ainslie in the final.

“The participation in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour is part of team Luna Rossa’s preparation program for the 35th America’s Cup,” confirms Bruni. “The Tour is one of the most selective competitions at international level and is the best field to measure ourselves in a real race.”

Completing the Tour Card skipper line up for 2014 is Australian David Gilmour, following in the footsteps of his famous father, Peter Gilmour, four-time ISAF Match Racing World Champion and America’s Cup veteran.

The 22yr old match racer is no stranger to the Alpari World Match Racing Tour after competing at the Monsoon Cup in 2012 and 2013, and the Korea Match Cup 2013. He was also winner of the ISAF Nations Cup 2013 and is a two-time winner of the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in Perth.

“I am really proud to be racing on the 2014 Tour as a first time card holder,” commented Gilmour. “It has been a major goal of ours to win the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and it’s a tough field this year, but I believe I have the right team with me that can really challenge for the world title.”

Gilmour has recently joined Team Australia representing the Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup. He will be dividing his time during 2014 between competing on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and training with Team Australia.

All eight Tour Card Skippers are automatically guaranteed a berth at the six Tour Championship events for 2014. At least an additional four skippers are selected by each event to make up the final team tally.

But the man to beat in 2014 will be defending champion, US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield. His USone Sailing Team won the Chicago Match Cup in 2013 and a third place at the Monsoon Cup was enough to secure the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour overall and the World Championship title.

“USone is extremely happy with our 2013 performance as a first time Alpari Tour card holder. We have a special and talented team, which will remain the same for 2014. However, with new teams and new events, it’s a clean slate and the standards are high. We will be competing with the same enthusiasm and drive to retain our title.”

Wanting to claim Canfield’s title more than anyone this season will be British match racing legend Ian Williams. The GAC Pindar skipper has won the Alpari World Match Racing Tour four times (2007-8 and 2011-12). Victory this year would see Williams better Australian Peter Gilmour’s record and enter the record books as the person to have the most Match Racing World Championships in the history of the sport.

Williams comments: “Team GAC Pindar are very much looking forward to the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour season. It is great to see new Events coming onto the Tour and I am especially looking forward to going back to Poland for the first time since we won the Sopot Match Race in 2005.”

A familiar foe of Williams, who has been awarded a Tour Card this season, is France’s Mathieu Richard, back for an impressive 11th year on the Tour. Richard won Korea Match Cup last year, when his GEFCO Match Racing Team concluded the season seventh overall.

For Sweden’s Bjorn Hansen’s this will be his eighth year on the Tour. His eWork Sailing Team finished just off the podium in fourth place last year, following their second place in 2012.

Back for his seventh consecutive year competing at Alpari World Match Racing Tour events, and his third year as Tour Card Skipper, is Australian Keith Swinton and his Black Swan Racing team. Swinton finished sixth on the Tour last year, down two places from their 2012 position – their best to date.

Phil Robertson will be once again representing New Zealand with his Waka Racing Team. This will be his sixth year on the Tour having finished third last year and in 2012.

As AWMRT Executive Director James Pleasance commented “We have a fantastic line up on the Tour this year, testament to the level of professionalism the World Championship has now reached. We are also delighted to welcome Luna Rossa to the 2014 Tour as part of their training for the 35th America’s Cup. While the America’s Cup has moved to foiling catamarans, there is no better place for the teams to hone their match racing skills than the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.”

Alpari World Match Racing Tour – 2014 Tour Card Holders
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone Sailing Team
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour

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Monsoon Cup: Williams makes sense of the madness to draw level with Canfield

Posted on 27 November 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] Through wildly unpredictable and fickle conditions, the reigning World Champion from Great Britain steered the GAC Pindar team to a scoreline of 5-1 in the Qualifying phase of the concluding event of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. This puts Williams neck and neck with the defending Monsoon Cup champion from the US Virgin Islands.

The tricky conditions were some of the most confusing the 12 professional teams had ever encountered. Ian Williams commented: “It’s amazing, I think we’ve been here eight times now, and we’ve never had the same conditions. It’s really exciting racing, no lead was ever safe today. We had so many lead changes, and I think in only two of our six matches the lead stayed the same throughout the race.”

Asked the secret to such consistent success in such wildly inconsistent conditions, Williams said: “Having Bill Hardesty calling tactics! We managed to stay fast today, and then you just hope that you’re going fast up the right side of the course.

Ian Williams is now tied with Taylor Canfield at the top of the Monsoon Cup round robins. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Taylor Canfield is another skipper who has managing to make sense of the conditions without really knowing why. So far the US Virgin Islander has a perfect record in Malaysia, having sailed away with the Monsoon Cup on his very first visit last year. He’s showing all the signs of being able to repeat that feat, bouncing back from some close matches to scrape some valuable wins today. “No match is easy, all the guys that are here, deserve to be here,” said the USone skipper, whose luck ran out against him in the match against Frenchman Mathieu Richard. “We got a little bit too aggressive in the pre-start against Richard, and it hurt after that. The guys are doing a good job but I’m still working on my pre-starts. They’ll get better as the regatta goes on, hopefully.”

Even Canfield admits the conditions are very, very difficult to read. “There’s no consistency, it’s all up in the air. There are certain breeze directions in Kuala Terengganu where it will become a one-sided race course – but we haven’t seen that yet. It’s kind of all over the place. Really puffy, shifty, a lot of current. The priorities change all the time – trying to figure out where the current relief is, whether that’s going to be more important than getting to good breeze. Sometimes you can’t see the breeze on the water which isn’t always easy. It’s making the best of what you have.”

Francesco Bruni is racing here on a wild card invitation with Luna Rossa. The America’s Cup sailor sits on 4-2 scores. On being asked about his loss to Williams the Italian said: “In the Monsoon Cup you need to look for the split, that’s your chance. Ian went left, so we have to go right. That’s your best hope when you are behind. It’s very tricky here. This is probably the least predictable [of all the Tour venues], and the water is not super clear so the wind doesn’t mark the water, which is another reason why it’s double tricky.”

Ian Williams is now tied with Taylor Canfield at the top of the Monsoon Cup round robins. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Bjorn Hansen and the Ework Sailing Team also did well, ending up tied with a number of other teams on a 4-2 scoreline. The Swedish skipper is very aware of Canfield’s grip on the overall Tour title for 2013, but is waiting to see how the chips fall in Malaysia. “Taylor is sailing well, but we have seen he can have bad regattas too. He was 11th in Sweden, and we know we have to perform at our best to be able to go all the way. It’s good just to focus on winning the regatta and then see what Taylor has managed to do at the end of this week.”

Phil Robertson remains upbeat despite being on a 3-3 score at the halfway stage of Qualifying. “We’ve had a really good day,” said the WAKA Racing skipper. “It’s awfully hard and very shifty, light and puffy. We sailed really well yesterday, even though we lost two and won one. We came off the water thinking we had had a really good day. It just didn’t show on the score card. All we can do is sail as best as we can and get more points on the board.”

Adam Minoprio’s Movember moustache was drooping after a frustrating day for the other Kiwi team here, Team Alpari FX. “Pretty annoyed really. Today against Keith Swinton we had good solid consistent breeze for once, and we smashed him at the start and all around the race course. But in the trickier conditions the win eluded us. We were getting good starts, but in one heat we ran into bad gas from another race – and two tacks in two knots of breeze kills you. Those things happen in yacht racing, but it seems that yesterday and today things haven’t gone our way. Hopefully we’ve started some momentum but then as soon as we do, we have to come off the water again. It’s just the way it is, we have to rise above it. If we can’t, then we don’t deserve to win.”

So far 9 of 17 flights of Qualifying have been completed. Tomorrow the aim is to conclude Qualifying, after which the top eight teams will move forward to the Quarter-Finals. The wind is expected to be more reliable than we saw today.

Qualifying Results after 9 flights
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone – 5-1
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar – 5-1
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa – 4-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team – 4-2
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team – 4-2
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 3-3
Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team – 3-3
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team – 2-4
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX – 2-4
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour – 2-4
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing – 2-4
Jeremy Koo (MAS) Team KFC – MYA/KRT – 0-6

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Monsoon Cup 2013 Preview – Can Taylor Canfield hang on to the Alpari World Match Racing Tour lead?

Posted on 23 November 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Monsoon Cup] Taylor Canfield (ISV) and his USone team currently lead the Tour rankings into the last event with a 10 point lead over defending Tour Champion Ian Williams (GBR) and his GAC Pindar team. Williams made a brave move at the penultimate Tour Stage in Bermuda choosing to race Canfield in the Quarter Final to mitigate the USone teams’ championship advantage going into the last event. However, it was not to be and Canfield beat Williams to finish 3rd in Bermuda and now tops the Alpari Tour leaderboard with 92 points, 10 points ahead of Williams.’

Although Williams has Francesco Bruni (ITA) of America’s Cup team Luna Rossa to thank for limiting the damage in Bermuda, Williams is now in a familiar place having been second on the leader board at this point last year, and he knows the Quarter Finals in Malaysia will be key. If Canfield makes it to the Semi Finals, but not the Finals next week, then Williams will have to win the event to claim a record breaking fifth Alpari World Match Racing Tour and ISAF World Championship. If Canfield makes the Finals then the Championship is his.

But both skippers will have their work cut out for them in Malaysia as just 26 points separate the top 6 skippers on the leaderboard , all of whom are in contention for the title.

Taylor Canfield (ISV) USOne. Ranking – 1 (92pts)
Crew: Hayden Goodrick, Rod Dawson, Mike Rehe, Dan Morris

Taylor Canfield is one of the brightest match racers on the Tour since joining the Tour in 2010. As the Sailing Director at the Chicago Match Race Center, he devotes his career to match racing full time. His participation within competitive sailing this year has ranked him 1st in the ISAF Match Race Rankings. His participation on the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour has been impressive, where he’s gained three-podium finishes. He finished second in Korea Match Cup, won the Chicago Match Cup on home ground and also finished third at the penultimate event, the Argo Group Gold Cup. Holding his position as the No1 on the leaderboard, his aim is to defend his Monsoon Cup crown and claim his first ISAF Match Racing World Championship title.

Taylor Canfield wins the 2012 Monsoon Cup. Kuala Terengganu, 8 December 2012. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Ian Willams (GBR) GAC Pindar. Ranking – 2 (82pts)
Crew: Gerard Mitchell, Mal Parker, Bill Hardesty, Matt Cassidy

Ian Williams is no new comer to this event having raced in every edition. The four time ISAF Match Racing World Champion has won back to back World titles in 2007-2008 and 2011-2012 and won both awards – the Monsoon Cup and the World Championship in 2008 and 2011. Williams had a very encouraging start to 2013 winning Stage 1, Match Race Germany but with only one subsequent podium finish on the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour season, Williams needs to regain his form on the waters of Kuala Terengganu to end his season in style. With only a 10 point difference to first place, the World Championship title is within his grasp, which, if he was able to win, would make it a record breaking 5th time for Williams and the GAC Pindar crew.

Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team. Ranking – 3 (81pts)
Crew: Gustav Tempelman, Phillip Kai Guhle, Sebastian Wedel, Mathias Bredin

Bjorn Hansen is considered to be one of the sailing legends of Scandinavia. He started match racing in 1994 and since then he has been a permanent fixture in the top 10 on the ISAF Rankings. Hansen is also a veteran on the Tour and known as a tenacious and tricky opponent, especially at his favorite venues, one of which is Kuala Terenggnau. After wining on home ground at Stena Match Cup Sweden this year, the third time since 2007 Hansen will be targeting the Monsoon Cup the Season Finale of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Hansen and his eWork Sailing Team have got their eyes on the prize and are bringing their A game to town.

Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX. Ranking – 4 (77pts)
Crew: Chris Main, Tom Powrie, David Swete, Nick Blackman

After a successful year with Camper on the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 season, Adam Minoprio is back into professional match racing on the Tour. He has a good history at the Monsoon Cup – winning the Asian Qualifying Series in 2007, a qualifier to the event and two years later winning the ISAF Match Racing World Championships at the age of 24 – the youngest ever to win the championship. Pulling back together 3 of his World Championship winning crew plus the experience of Chris Main, he brings back his style of aggressive match racing and cunning tactics. A style that has seen him advance to the Quarter Final stages and beyond throughout this season. Holding 4th on the Tour leaderboard he’s in a great position to leap frog the current leaders and take home the World Championship trophy for a second time.

Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing. Ranking – 5 (75pts)
Crew: Olof Lundgren, Ted Hackney, Jakob Gustafsson, Ricky McGarvie

After finishing 4th on the Tour last year, missing the podium by a whisker, Keith Swinton is back on Tour and ready to take a step up. His passion for sailing goes back to the age of eight and the list of competitions, classes and achievements under his belt belies his age. His performances this year have steadily improved over the season. As the frontman of Black Swan Racing he picked up his game at Stage 4, Chicago Match Cup finishing second behind Taylor Canfield in a thrilling 5 match final on Lake Michigan. Taking out the World Championship may be a big ask for Swinton but he knows the boats and as he has regularly showed he can still cause havoc amongst the other title contenders.

Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing. Ranking – 6 (66pts)
Crew: Garth Ellingham, James Williamson, Nick Catley, Adam Martin

Phil Robertson made his debut in 2011 as a Tour Card Holder on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. With a consistent team over three seasons, his WAKA Racing team has pulled off some tremendous results on the Tour this season. At Stena Match Cup Sweden, Stage 3 of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour this year, he finished second, coming so close to taking out Swedish sailing legend, Bjorn Hansen. WAKA Racing put together an outstanding performance but lost to Hansen in the 5th,and last, match of the finals. With a great sense of humor and playful tactics on the water, he can be fun but never to be underestimated. The King of the Late Charge can deliver quite a sting to his opponents and is very capable of taking it all the way to the finals.

Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team. Ranking – 7 (53pts)
Crew: Greg Evrard, Thierry Briend, Olivier Herledant, François Verdier

Mathieu Richard is back on competitive form this season. Though not having a Tour Card for 2013, the team qualified to the Season Finale of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour by securing 7th place on the leaderboard after the penultimate event of the Tour. Richard had a flying start finishing third at the season opener, Match Race Germany and then came back to win the Korea Match Cup for the second time, but poor performances in Sweden and Bermuda will see him eyeing the podium and looking for a Monsoon Cup win. He currently holds seven event titles since he joined the tour in 2007 and finished in second place overall on the 2010 Tour.

Taylor Canfield wins the 2012 Monsoon Cup. Kuala Terengganu, 8 December 2012. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Johnie Bertsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team. Ranking – 8 (41pts)
Crew: Johan Barne, Oscar Angervall, Martin Berntsson, Bjorn Lundgren

2012 Swedish Sailor of the Year, Johnie Berntsson is one of the most respected sailors among the Tour Card Holders. His team came together in 1997 and have been amongst the top group on the match racing ladder ever since. The Stena Sailing Team had a great to their 2013 campaign but have endured a bumpy ride ever since with near misses at the Quarter Final stages in Korea and Sweden. In 2011 he finished second in the Monsoon Cup which bounced him up to a third place finish on the overall Tour standings. With lack of consistency in the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour season, the pressure will be off Berntsson and his Stena Sailing Team but the smiling assassin still carries the formula to win and will stir up the current leaders at the Monsoon Cup.

Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Angglo Sailing Team. Ranking – 9 (33pts)
Crew: Cédric Chateau, Steven Liorzou, Mathieu Renault, Pierre-Alexis Ponsot

Pierre Antoine Morvan discovered competitive match racing in 2003 while studying at the University of Rennes. As a first time Tour Card Holder in 2012, he finished sixth overall but is looking to better that this year and needs a finals result to do that. Known as the Cool Frenchman, Morvan and his Vannes Angglo Sailing Team also compete at a host of other graded match racing events around the world alongside their Tour commitments. A fierce competitor, Morvan will be looking to put in a big performance and turn the pecking order on its head during the Qualifying session at theMonsoon Cup.

Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa. Ranking – 10 (25pts)
Crew: Pierluigi de Felice, Max Sirena, Xabier Fernandez, Nick Hutton

Runner up on the 2011 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, the name Franceso Bruni needs no further introduction. After taking on the role of tactician on-board Luna Rossa for the 34th America’s Cup this year, Bruni is back on the helm to throw all his match racing experience onto the waters of Kuala Terengganu. His comeback made the headlines when he out of his skin to win the Argo Group Gold Cup, the penultimate event of the Tour Series loosing only 3 matches throughout the competiton. This made him the first Italian to lift the King Edward VII Gold Cup one of the most prestigious trophies in competitive match racing. The Luna Rossa team are now gearing up again, to get their hands on the Monsoon Cup trophy and a share of the biggest prize purse in sailing.

David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour. Ranking – 13 (12pts)
Crew: William Mackenzie, Luke Payne, Peter Nicholas, 5th crew TBC

Wild Card David Gilmour is a rising star on the Match Racing scene having formed Team Gilmour in 2010 at the Warren Jones Youth Regatta he has seen a steady rise on the ISAF Match Race Rankings taking event wins at the 2012 Warren Jones, 2013 Korea Match Cup Qualifier, 2013 Detroit Cup along the way. A win at the 2013 ISAF Nations Cup has been the highlight of Team Gilmour’s year so far. The Monsoon Cup Wild Card is well earned as 7th place finishes in Korea this year and at the Monsoon Cup last year show that he has the skills and controlled aggression required to take on the best of the best. Team Gilmour are sure to add some spice to the Qualifying stage and beyond this year.

Jeremy Koo Wui Ken (MAL) Koo Racing Team. Liga Layar Champion (Malaysian Qualifier Event)
Crew: Sean Ong Khong Shing, Mohd Fauzi Mustaffa, Lool Sing Yew, Shahrizal Hashim

Jeremy Koo is considered one of the most experienced sailors in Malaysia. He started sailing at the age of 9, and throughout his sailing career he has won numerous dinghy regattas in Asia. He started match racing in year 2006 with Team China, competing in the 32nd America’s Cup and Elba Island Match Racing, and he went on to crew for his sister in the same year for The Monsoon Cup. After forming a team in 2009, he has been leading the sailing scene for Malaysia with participation in the China Cup Racing One Design 40’s, 2013 Korean Match Cup Qualifier finishing second, winning the Hong Kong Nautica Typhoon Series and finishing third in the China Coast Sea Race.

This year, his team proved they were unstoppable as they sailed their way through to win for the forth-consecutive time in the Malaysian Qualifying Series and book their ticket to the Monsoon Cup 2013. As the helmsman of Koo Racing Team, he is looking forward to do his best again for his own country the host of The Monsoon Cup.

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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 will race Adam Minoprio in Argo Group Gold Cup Semi Finals

Posted on 12 October 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Argo Group Gold Cup] As the top finisher in the Group 2 Stage 1 Qualifying round, Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) BART/Argo Group, who had defeated Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team earlier Friday to qualify for the Semi Finals, was first to pick his opponent for the Semi Finals of the Argo Group Gold Cup. Ainslie saying, “its not a nice lineup to pick from, but I choose to race Adam Minoprio.”

Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX replied, “We look forward to racing Ben. We sailed against him in the semis two years and missed. We hope to do better.”

The other two semi finalists are Argo Group Gold Cup defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone sailing against Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa. Bruni said, “We are just happy to be in the semis.” Canfield added, “All the teams are tough.

This is certainly a star-studded semi final, one of the best in King Edward VII Gold Cup history. They are all reaching for the coveted ‘Golden Grail’ of match race sailing.

Sir Ben Ainslie from Lymington, England is fresh out of the 34th America’s Cup where he was the spirit of the now famous Oracle AC72 comeback from the brink of sudden death. He has won the Agro Group Gold Cup twice, in 2009 and 2010. Ainslie is the most successful sailor in Olympic history having won four gold and a silver medal. Sailing with Ainslie are Iain Percy, Matt Cornwell, and Christian Kamp.

Sir Ben Ainslie takes his semifinal berth. Hamilton, 11 October 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Francesco Bruni, from Palermo, Sicily was the America’s Cup tactician for Luna Rossa and will play a key role in their next challenge. He is one of the most complete, eclectic and winning active Italian sailors in 30 years of the sport. He has won 7 world, 5 European and 15 Italian championships in different classes: from Laser to Offshore, from Star to 49er. He has also reached first place in ISAF’s Match Racing World ranking. He has raced with Team Luna Rossa in three America’s Cup campaigns (2003, 2007, 2013). Bruni’s crew is Pierluigi de Felice, Xabi Fernandez and Nick Hutton.

Taylor Canfield from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands blasted away the competition at last year’s Argo Group Gold Cup and is the defending champion. Having picked up an Alpari World Match Racing Tour card for 2013, he is currently tied for second on the Tour and is #1 in the ISAF Open rankings. He won the Tour’s Chicago Match Racing Regatta. Taylor and the USone team from the Chicago Match Race Center are defending the King Edward VII Gold Cup title. Sailing with Taylor are Rod Dawson, Dan Morris and Hayden Goodrick.

Adam Minoprio from Auckland, New Zealand is a former ISAF #1 Open ranked sailor. He was 2009 World Champion and is back as a Tour Card Holder for the 2013 season. He has had success this season finishing second in Germany, third in Korea and sixth in Sweden.

Minoprio returned to match racing after competing in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race where he finished second. In Argo Group Gold Cup competition, Minoprio and finished second in 2009, and fifth in 2010 and 2012. Maybe here in 2013, it is his turn to hoist the cup. Joining Minoprio on the boat are Dave Swete, Nick Blackman and Tom Powrie.

In Quarter Final action Friday, Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa swept his first three races against Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing to be the first skipper to reach the Semi Finals. Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone defeated Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 3-1, Ainslie defeated Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team 3-1 and Minoprio went the full 5 match distance taking Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 3-2.

Taylor Canfield eliminates Ian Williams at the quarter finals and swings the WMRT wide open! Hamilton, 11 October 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Quotes of the Day:

Francesco Bruni: “It is always very interesting out there on Hamilton Harbour as the race is never really finished until the very end – this is because in general – and especially today- it is a very shifty and puffy place to sail. What we have had is some very good boat speed and we have played it statistically very well. It is not always easy and in this kind of sailing it is never a one-way track. It makes match-racing here very interesting. Whenever you sail very close to shore with an offshore breeze, it becomes very hard to predict the shifts. The water is so clear here – however – you can see the shifts on the water sometimes. What you do have here is never really an issue of current – it is all driven by wind shifts.“We have been to the semi-finals here before, but did not win our match then against Johnnie Berntsson. This time we are hoping to make it all the way.”

Taylor Canfield: “During this race today we were always sailing with our head out of the boat. The toughest part was the wind direction and it was a lot like the finals last year. We really had to pick the best places to tack and at the same time we were trying very hard to extend our lead. With an IOD that is difficult … but at the top mark we were able to flop over Ian Williams and lead into the mark. We were able to hop back into a comfortable position once we got a little distance with him. Williams was carrying a penalty so that also gave us an edge.

“This was one of the hardest quarter finals because we were presented with going up against the defending world champion on our first meet-up. We were on the edge of being pushed out of the title but it looks better for us now.

“Granted we were a little bit out of phase on the first day of this event with two losses, but since then we started doing the things that work for us. When Williams picked us first – I believe they wanted to go all the way. We are feeling good about the win. We were able to hold him back.

“We are happy to get into the semi finals and everyone is on form so we just have to keep our cool. We have been managing to stay cool through it all. It is great so far.”

Ben Ainslie: “It was really difficult out there and the day was windy with a lot of tricky shifts. Obviously we are really happy to be through the semi-finals. We are juggling a lot here in and out of the boat so staying focused has been a bit of a challenge but we are enjoying the racing and doing well.”

Iain Percy, Ainslie’s main trimmer added: “We always enjoy racing against Bjorn Hansen because he is such a gentleman. It was light and tricky winds so anything can happen and it really always comes down to the last weekend here. We just have to stay on form and although we are a little bit out of phase with match racing, it really does all come down to the last weekend.”

Adam Minoprio: “Hamilton Harbor is a really special place to sail. The shifty conditions mean that you have to really know who is going to get the shifts but that is what makes it unique. The fifth and final race against Keith Swinton was three times around and the breeze was really shifty so our boat was going from 8 knots to 2 knots at times. It was really tricky.

“I can say by the final race it was all about the shifts and we prevailed to win the day. The last race came down to the shifts and we came into the top mark and Swinton tacked to find breeze and we kept our course. We got the shift and powered ahead and that is what gave us the race.”

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Bruni and Williams tops in Argo Group Gold Cup Groups

Posted on 11 October 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Argo Group Gold Cup] Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa and Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar, both ended the Stage 1 Qualifying matches with 8-1 records in their groups. By rule, as the top seed in Group 2, Williams got first pick of the skipper he would race in the Quarter Finals. Williams surprised everyone by choosing to race Argo Group Gold Cup defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone who had finished with a 7-2 score and two days unbeaten in Group 1.

Williams explained his choice by saying that he wanted to go all out to protect his standing on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. He is currently leading the tour by 9 points over both Canfield and Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club’s Argo Group Gold Cup is the penultimate event on the Tour.

When asked about this matchup of top skippers, Canfield quipped, “We’re ready… Bring on the challenge.”

The second pick then went to Francesco Bruni who had finished tops in Group 1 at 8-1. He said he didn’t want to follow suit and chose Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) BART/Argo Group, so he chose Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing who finished Group 2 at 5-4.

Robertson remarked, “No drama. We’ll take it as it comes.”

Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX who finished Group 1 at 7-2 went next and chose Keith Swinton for a New Zealand-Australia match up. Swinton had to win all 3 of his last qualifying races to make the cut for the quarters.

Commenting on Minoprio’s choice he said, “Fantastic, We’ve been chirping at him all week every time he sailed past us.”

As the last teams unchosen, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team and Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) BART/Argo Group will sail each other in the quarters. Hansen said it will be good to race Ainslie and his team. “We want to knock him out of the competition.” Ainslie answered, “It will be great racing.”

Francsco Bruni is on a roll at the Argo Group Gold Cup. Hamilton, 10 October 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / ALPARI World Match Racing Tour

Quotes of the Day:

Taylor Canfield: “We sailed very well in our last race of the round robin against Adam Minoprio today. We had a great start and although we pushed them over early, we had a convergence and we got a red flag penalty. We did our penalty turn and throughout the race we eventually gained on them and in the last downwind leg we managed to pass them. We started this regatta at 1-2 and we came back to finish out the round robin at 7-2 so we are feeling pretty good about our comeback. We are looking forward to the quarter-finals now.”

Keith Swinton: “We had to win all three races to go through to the quarter finals and we managed to do that today. All of our races have had their moments. Over the week, we’ve been sailing pretty well but sometimes the boat draw did not go our way. We have had really good starts and we came from behind to get here but today we really hit our struts, we are finding our feet and we are feeling good now.. It is always great to go into the quarter-finals and we are looking forward to tomorrow.”

Phil Robertson: “Our last race today was pretty much the decider. We had to race against Richard in the first race and we lost to him so points-wise we had to win the final race against Morvan. We were behind for most of the race but fortunately for us Morvan got a red flag penalty. He infringed on us and we won that race. It is extremely hard to get into the quarter -finals but we are battle-hardened now and ready to race tomorrow.”

Ian Williams: “We had a tough loss to Hansen. All the flags were green [no penalty] or yellow, a penalty on us.”

Ben Ainslie: “We were behind in the last race and were lucky that Will Tiller missed the 3 lap signal flag. He sailed through the finish line after just two laps and so we won.”

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