Taylor Canfield and the USone team were one of the most high-profile casualties to make an early exit from the Stena Match Cup Sweden at the end of Qualifying.
The Americans needed to win all their matches on a light-wind day in Marstrand, but it wasn't to be. Since the Chicago Match Cup eleven months ago, Canfield has never finished outside the Semi-Finals of regattas in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, including victories at the Argo Group Gold Cup and Monsoon Cup at the end of last year.
Canfield added, "Yeah definitely tough, tough situation we're in, still carrying two decent finishes on tour so far, five and a two so, with one drop we're not entirely out of it at this point so, we're just gonna have to keep performing like we have in the past, Chicago, our home event and then Bermuda which we sailed well at last year and then into Monsoon Cup so, I think three big events that we're really comfortable in and hopefully we can just perform in all three and bring home the title."
The early exit of Mathieu Richard was another surprise, even if his GEFCO Match Racing Team were a Wild Card entry for this regatta, the third of the 2013 season in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. The French team had won the previous Tour event in Korea a month earlier, but it shows just how tough it is for the 12 teams at these events to make it through to the last eight. The other French crew, Vannes Agglo Sailing Team skippered by Pierre Antoine Morvan, and local qualifier Henrik Eyermann also went home for an early bath.
Winner of Qualifying was the other Wild Card entry Simone Ferrarese from Italy. "Getting first is important because you can choose your opponent but there are two sides to this. You can go for someone you think is worse than the other teams - but usually all the teams are good and choosing can sometimes be bad."
The Italian was particularly happy with his very first match of the regatta. "Winning against Ian Williams was a big match. He wanted to beat us after the Congressional Cup win, but all of our matches here have been tight."
Phil Robertson and WAKA Racing had been leading the regatta up to today, but slipped up in the lighter, shiftier conditions, including against local sailor Bjorn Hansen. "He's always strong here and he knows the boats really well and how they respond to every situation. Hard to beat."
Hansen has the most experience of Marstrand's tricky winds, so does he agree with others' assessment that he knows the quirks of the breeze better than anyone? "No,"
smiled the skipper, "but no one knows them better than my tactician Gustav! With the southerly wind it's very difficult. We had puffs coming from almost anywhere, but if someone asks me what is my favourite breeze, it's the westerly we had on other days, It's a more stable breeze, good for the many spectators, and good for me."
It was a good day for Scandinavia, with the Stena Sailing Team skippered by Johnie Berntsson scraping through, and Finland's Staffan Lindberg justifying his invite from the qualifier event with a solid finish after a shaky start to Qualifying. "Let's hope we keep that momentum going and build on it. We feel like we have an extra gear. We had a shocking first day, nothing felt right, but now it feels like normal. Now the crew is working well. It's good to beat the Tour Card holders. They do all these events and we just do a few like this one and we beat them. We know we can, but it's always tough."
This evening Ferrarese and other sailors at the top of the leaderboard will select their opponents in readiness for the Quarter-Finals which start tomorrow morning. Tune in at 09:00 hours for the Live Streaming of racing online.
Quarter Finals Pairings
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team vs Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing vs Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar vs Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari vs Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team
STAGE 3: Stena Match Cup Sweden - Qualifying Round Final Standings
Skipper/ Nationality/ Team/ Win-Loss/ Points
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team 9-2, 9
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 8-3, 8
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team 7-4, 7
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX 7-4, 7
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 7-4, 7
Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team 6-5, 6
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team 6-5, 5.5
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 5-6, 5
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 4-7, 4
Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team 4-7, 4
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 3-8, 3
Henrik Eyerman (SWE) Team Henrik Eyerman 0-11, 0