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26 October 2003, 08:09 am
Gilmour and Dickson to Square Off in Final
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Chris Dickson (NZL) of Team ORACLE BMW Racing©Sergio Dionisio/Oceanfashion Pictures

King Edward VII Gold Cup
Hamilton Harbour

Peter GILMOUR (AUS) and Chris DICKSON (USA) yesterday advanced into the Final Round of the King Edward VII Gold Cup and are now one step away from winning the 55-year-old classic event that features a $30,000 first-place prize.
Gilmour defeated defending champion Jesper RADICH/Team Radich (DEN) in three straight matches, while, in the other 'first to three points" semi-final match, Dean BARKER/Team New Zealand's Omega Match Racing Team (NZL) put up a good fight against Dickson, but in the end was eliminated in four matches. A series to determine places 5th through 8th was also held.

Light, 10-12 knot Northeast wind put a premium on capitalizing on the wind shifts that characterize Hamilton Harbour. In the first race of the semi-final match-up, Radich gained a penalty for being over early, but led throughout the two-lap racecourse, right down to the last leg. Within 50 yards of the finish line, Gilmour picked up an advantageous shift, rolled over Radich and crossed the finish line to win. He won the next two and advanced into the final.

"It was tricky out there," explained Gilmour, a two-time Gold Cup champion (1997, '95). "Right before that first start, the breeze dropped and we realized we had a bad start. The boys did a fabulous job keeping us in the race. Match racing is a game of momentum and mistakes shift the outcome. It really could have gone either way."

Radich conceded that the mistake cost him the series. "I made some bad mistakes," he said. "I pushed too hard at the start. There was doubt today that he was the better sailor."

Dickson, also a two-time Gold Cup champion (1989, '87), started slow in the series by losing the first match to Barker, but recovered nicely to win the next two matches. In the fourth race, it looked like a good start for Barker as he split from Dickson off the line and headed toward the right side of the course, in better breeze. Halfway up the beat, Dickson got a speed advantage when the wind oscillated back toward his side of the course and put him, seemingly, into the lead. By the first cross Barker was still leading, but by the weather mark rounding, Dickson slid inside and rounded first. He held onto the lead and extended at the second weather mark rounding to win the race and advance into the final.

"It was a little like being on the ropes," said Dickson of the comeback. "We found enough speed at the mark roundings and well done to our trimmers. This is our first time as a match racing crew together." Sailing with Dickson this week are Dirk DE RIDDER of the Netherlands and New Zealanders Ross HALCROW and Gavin BRADY.

On racing against Gilmour in the final, Dickson commented, "We've been doing this for 16 years. It's a sign for the teams here that what we are doing pays off. There are days when the old bulls can come through. We have more experience and we move a little slower. Tomorrow's race may be sedate, but we'll be sailing with more finesse."

Today's Semi-Final Round between Radich and Barker will be followed by the final race of the Renaissance Reinsurance Junior Gold Cup and an exhibition race between two Bermuda Fitted Dinghies.

In the series to determine 5th through 8th places, Russell Coutts/Team Alinghi (SWI) defeated Bill Hardesty (USA) and Jes Gram-Hansen/Team Colorcraft (DEN) defeated Paula Lewin/Team ACE (BER).

Semi-Final Round, 'first to three points'
Peter Gilmour/Pizza-La Sailing Team (AUS) def. Jesper Radich/Team Radich (DEN) 3-0
Chris Dickson/Oracle BMW Racing (USA) def. Dean Barker/Team New Zealand's Omega Match Racing Team (NZL) 3-1

Flight 1
P. Gilmour def. J. Radich
D. Barker def. C. Dickson

Flight 2
P. Gilmour def. J. Radich
C. Dickson def. D. Barker

Flight 3
P. Gilmour def. J. Radich
C. Dickson def. D. Barker

Flight 4
C. Dickson def. D. Barker
Dana Paxton (As Amended by ISAF Secretariat)
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