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7 September 2007, 11:56 am
Russian Team Grabs the Lead
Image of the racing at the event
Martin ANGSELL and Chris VAN TOL in the quarter-final

Knickerbocker Cup 2007
Manhasset Bay, USA

Andrew ARBUZOV (RUS) has taken the lead with a 5-0 score after the completion of the quarter finals at the ISAF Grade 2 Knickerbocker Cup 2007. ARBUZOV, Keith SWINTON (AUS) and John LOE (USA) all were 8-3 after the round robin and took on defending champion Martin ANGSELL (SWE), Chris Van TOL (USA) and Dave PERRY (USA) in the quarter finals.
Racing was competitive and aggressive on a hot, humid, and hazy day on Manhasset Bay in western Long Island Sound. After about an hour of a light southwesterly, the wind veered south, giving the competitors a picture-perfect day for racing. By end of day, it was ARBUZOV, VAN TOL, ANGSELL and LOE who moved on to the semi-finals.

It was classic match racing all day Saturday, with skill and aggressive racing seen throughout the day. The pre-starts were close and exciting - the kind that catches your breath wondering if they can possibly avoid a collision. And the downwind finishes under spinnaker were intense. In the match between Dave PERRY (USA) and Chris VAN TOL (USA), VAN TOL executed a penalty turn right at the finish line, with PERRY under spinnaker coming on strong. In a photo finish, with only an inch or two between the boats, the win went to VAN TOL. Two teams were black flagged and thrown out of their match, and a third team was black flagged for un-sportsmanship conduct. The umpires had a very busy day on the water. According to Chief Umpire Bruce COOK, Seawanhaka- Corinthian Yacht Club, 'There were multiple rule violations, due to the fact that racing was very aggressive and competitive, with a large number of very close matches. We were seeing at least one penalty in each flight, which is a lot. The quality of racing is very good; that may be one of the reasons we are seeing so many penalties.'

What a difference one day makes. Take Martin ANGSELL, the defending champion. After a first day of racing that looked like his team would be heading back to Sweden early, they picked up speed as the week progressed and are now in second place going into the semi-finals. John LOE and his young team who came north from the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans, just squeaked into the forth slot in the semis. He is going to have a lot of work ahead of him to beat the likes of Andrew ARBUZOV, Angsell and VAN TOL, all veterans of previous Cups.

Knickerbocker YC must have done something right to secure two days of perfect wind conditions. Sunday's forecast is for heavy thunderstorms. Let's hope they are wrong, for we wouldn't want to deny these four match racers their chance to have a go at each other. Just think of the possibilities. Angsell might end up defending his title after all, VAN TOL might spring into (even more) action, and the young team from southern US may keep on having a lot of fun slaying the giants. And we can't forget about the Russians who won every match in the quarter finals. This should be one very exciting end to a terrific Cup race.

Andrea Watson (As Amended by ISAF)
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