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8 October 2009, 09:13 am
Ainslie, Williams And Richard Lead The Charge In Bermuda
Young New Zealander Phil Robertson and his WAKA Racing team take a race from match racing veteran Peter Gilmour
Young New Zealander Phil Robertson and his WAKA Racing team take a race from match racing veteran Peter Gilmour

Argo Group Gold Cup 2009
Hamilton, Bermuda

Brits Ben Ainslie and Ian Williams and French skipper Mathieu Richard top the three round robin groups after an action-packed day two at the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda.
British Olympic gold medal winner Ben Ainslie was first out of the box in the first match of flight three for group two on Wednesday morning. He took the win from Bermuda's Olympian Paula Lewin Crews. Ainslie went on to win three matches on Wednesday. With another first in Tuesday's dying breeze, he stands at the top of group two with 4-0, four wins and no losses.

Following Ainslie in group two with 3-1 records are Adam Minoprio (NZL), Sébastien Col (FRA), and Bjorn Hansen. Dave Perry (USA) is 2-2, Álvaro Marinho (POR) stands 1-3 while Rasmus Viltoft (DEN) and Lewin Crews are winless at 0-4.

Group three took to the water after the fourth flight for group two and also completed four flights after a slight pause to allow a powerful wind and rain squall to pass. They raced the two pre-squall with jib and main only, but the rainstorm dampened the wind enough to allow the boats to sail with spinnakers. group two and three will complete their round robin on Thursday, weather permitting.

Former Bermuda Gold Cup champion Mathieu Richard (FRA) was in perfect form taking all four of his matches today to stand 4-0 going into the group's last three flights scheduled to be completed along with group three's final three on Thursday. Last year's champion Johnie Berntsson (SWE) lost one match today to Chicago, Illinois skipper Don Wilson (USA) and is tied for second in the group with three time Gold Cup champ and past World Tour champion Peter Gilmour (AUS) at 3-1. Gilmour lost his flight three race to Phil Robertson (NZL).

Group one then returned to the water late in the afternoon and after several breakdowns were repaired the racing was about to get underway in 22 knots of wind when Eric Monnin (SUI) and Torvar Mirsky (AUS), undefeated on Tuesday, tangled rigs. The jumper struts on Mirsky's rig were damaged and he could not sail so he returned to the Royal Bermuda YC. His match one, flight five with Keith Swinton (AUS) will be sailed on Thursday.

In group one, flight five, match two, between Ian Evans (USA) and Monnin, Evans got a black flag for too many outstanding penalties and the win went to Monnin.

Then in match three, reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) and Damien Iehl (FRA) had a battle down to wire. Iehl was ahead but had to make a penalty turn before finishing. He made the turn but came out on port and did not keep clear of Williams. He was penalized again and the win went to Williams.

Williams' next match was short lived after Swinton broke his boom at the vang fitting doing a gybe during the pre-start. With Swinton unable to start the umpires black flagged him handing the win to Williams. Williams then went on to defeat Mirsky in the final match of the day and leads group one with six wins.

The other matches in that flight turned into survival tests with the boats taking one death roll after another coming downwind in blustery 25 knot gusts. Iehl gave Mirsky his first defeat of the competition, and taking one final roll right at the finish, Reuben Corbett (NZL) defeated Evans.

Match racing action in the Argo Group Gold Cup, stage eight of the World Match Racing Tour, continued on Wednesday with the one-hour early 07:00 skippers meeting and the 08:00 first warning for flight two for group two. With the sun barely up in Bermuda, in a breeze that built all morning with gusts in the low twenties, spinnakers were only used for the first flight of the day. Group two flights three and four were non-spinnaker matches.

Penalty flags flew everywhere just like the matches on Tuesday, every match in group two, flight two garnered a penalty or two. In group three racing later in the day there was even a collision between Wilson and an umpire boat, a collision between boats racing and rumours of a boat colliding with the harbour wall. Mattias Rahm (SWE) was black flagged in flight one of group three against Phil Robertson (NZL), getting an immediate disqualification for three simultaneous penalties.

This was the second black flag DSQ in the 2009 Argo Group Gold Cup.

The third black flag came out in the group one, flight five, match two, between Evans and Monnin, with Monnin getting the automatic, instant win. The fourth black flag came out in the group one flight six, match four, between Swinton and Williams with the win going Williams way.

Racing will get underway on Thursday at 09:00am weather permitting. The forecast is for 40 knots of wind to come through so there might be some waiting around before the action starts again.

Results

Group 1

Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar sponsored by Argo Group 6-1
Eric Monnin (SUI) Search.ch 4-1
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 4-2
Reuben Corbett (NZL) 3-3
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 3-4
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 2-3
Robbie Allam (GBR) 1-5
Ian Evans (USA) 1-5

Group 2

Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin 4-0
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand and BlackMatch Racing 3-1
Sébastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team and K Challenge 3-1
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team 3-1
Dave Perry (USA) 2-2
Álvaro Marinho (POR) Seth Sailing Team 1-3
Rasmus Viltoft (DEN) 0-4
Paula Lewin Crews (BER) 0-4

Group 3

Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 4-0
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 3-1
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 3-1
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team 2-2
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 2-2
Blythe Walker (BER) 1-3
Donald Wilson (USA) 1-3
Charlie Enright (USA) 0-4

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Leaderboard
(Top eight teams after Stage 7 of 9)

1. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 88 Points
2. Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing, 86 Points
3. Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 72 Points
4. Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing, 71 Points
5. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar, 70 Points
6. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 48 Points
7. Sébastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 41 Points
8. Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin, 40 Points

The winner of the annual World Match Racing Tour is crowned as ISAF Match Racing World Champion. Find out more at www.sailing.org/matchworlds.

Talbot Wilson
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