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16 October 2005, 12:14 pm
Four Way Tie After 23 matches
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King Edward VII Gold Cup Qualifier 2005
Hamilton, Bermuda

With winds gusting up to 25 knots on the Bermuda Harbour in Hamilton, sailing got under way with gusto on Saturday in the ISAF Grade 3 Qualifying event for the Investors Guaranty presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup. Three teams including Cameron DUNN from New Zealand, Takumi NAKAMURA of Japan and Elizabeth KRATZIG representing the Czech Republic lead the field with three wins and one loss after 23 races were sailed on the day.
Good starts were the key since the boats had to sail without spinnakers due to the 20+ knot gusty conditions. Most boats that won the start stayed ahead for the whole course because downwind spinnaker sailing gives the best chance for passing. Penalties, however, did make a difference.

In DUNN's match with Ian AINSLIE (RSA), DUNN got a penalty after colliding with the stern of AINSLIE's yacht, but then forced his rival up beyond the upwind mark and was able to make his penalty turn before AINSLIE could recover.

John CUTLER (NZL), substituting for Karol JABLONSKI (POL) on the day, built up an early lead over NAKAMURA, but then tacked too close and was given a penalty. Closing on the finish line with a three boat length lead, CUTLER tried to expunge his penalty right at the last moment, but failed to keep clear of his opponent and got another flag.

KRATZIG, the lone woman in the Open qualifying event, had an excellent day. She rounded the weather mark behind Alec CUTLER, the Bermuda National Match Race Champion, but then forced CUTLER out past the downwind mark and took the lead.

KRATZIG from Miami, Florida, USA, who is sailing under the Czech Republic colours said she has a good day and had been helped from a good team made up of Jonathan FARRAR, an IOD Champion, Mark MENDELBLATT (USA), Mark STRUBE (USA) and Lenka SMIDOVA (CZE).

King Edward VII Gold Cup Qualifier Entrants
(- ISAF World Match Race Ranking)

After a practice day on Wednesday for the seeded skippers and for the women's winners, who will transition from J/24's to IOD's, the real Gold Cup sailing starts with the six unseeded skippers and the two top women from the Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship facing the daunting challenge of racing against an awesome field of world class sailing talent in hopes of reaching the finals. All of the Gold Cup skippers have a chance at winning The King Edward VII Gold Cup and a share of the $100,000 purse.

Eight top match race sailors are the seeded skippers entering the competition on Thursday and include ISAF Match Racing World Champion James SPITHILL (AUS), number one in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings Ed BAIRD (USA) and three-time America's Cup winner Russell COUTTS (NZL)

The other five skippers are Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Gavin BRADY (NZL) and Chris DICKSON (NZL).

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Eric MONNIN in action yesterday:© Bob Grieser/PPL
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