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22 October 2005, 10:16 am
Seeded Sailors Set The Pace In Late Air Opener
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King Edward VII Gold Cup 2005
Hamilton, Bermuda

Bermuda held its breath for the second consecutive day as light winds again stalled the start of the Investor Guaranty presentation of The King Edward VII Gold Cup. While racing was cancelled on Thursday, sailors waited until almost 1500 hours local time for the starting gun again yesterday.
Then after just one round of races in which the four seeded skippers, Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), New Zealand's Gavin BRADY and seven-time Gold Cup winner Russell COUTTS (NZL)all came out on top, a containership leaving Hamilton and huge windshifts, brought racing to a close for the day. The remaining best of five knock out heats are now programmed for an early start today.

The closest race was between LINDBERG, number ten in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, and New Zealand qualifier DUNN, who sails for the Italian America's Cup team Mascalzone Latino.

'The race with Cameron provided some tight racing especially on the last downwind leg, and given the difficulties in getting this regatta started, this was a significant win.' LINDBERG said. 'It felt good out there and we felt that we were where we should be.'

DUNN, who won the qualifying rounds agreed. 'It is better to have one win on the scoreboard than a loss but this is not over yet.'

New Zealand sailor BRADY beat American Betsy ALISON (USA) in their first race but knows that he is up against tough opposition. 'These light air days are more nerve wracking because you can't see or sense the wind's direction and can easily be on the wrong side of a shift,' he said.

Gold Cup champion COUTTS won his first race against Takumi NAKAMURA (JPN) by a large margin and came ashore well pleased with his team's performance.

'We are here to win, so a win today is always a good thing' COUTTS said.

Although the breeze did cooperate for a short time over the course of this afternoon's racing, competition was halted prematurely by the departure of a container ship which held off racing. By the time the ship had passed through the course, the winds had again become their most capricious.

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club race committee must now hold nearly 100 races in the next two days in order to complete the event as originally formatted.

'The sailors will be here at seven o'clock in the morning and our goal is to finish this regatta by Sunday night,' said Principal Race Officer Charles TATEM.

The forecast for Saturday and Sunday is promising. Winds are predicted to range from five to ten knots in the morning, increasing to 15-20 knots on Sunday.

For a complete list of all the news about the King Edward VII Gold Cup CLICK HERE.

Laurie Fullerton, Image: © Bob Grieser/PPL
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