In a thrilling five race series yesterday, Peter GILMOUR/Pizza-La Sailing Team won the Investors Guaranty Presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup by defeating Chris DICKSON/Team Oracle BMW Racing (USA).
Gilmour and his team of Yasuhiro YAJI, Mike MOTTL and Kazuhiko SOFUKU sailed to victory and a $30,000 check, the King Edward VII Gold Cup.
"Congratulations to my team,"
said Gilmour, who is a two-time Gold Cup champion. "They were very smooth all week, but this was a real test for all of us. The King Edward VII Gold Cup is one of the grand prix events and we're delighted to have won and look forward to defending next year."
The premium for today's teams was on strong starts and flawless crew work. Each match was a scene of déjà vu with penalties, breakdowns and lead changes throughout the five-race series. Contributing to the drama were wind gusts measured at a maximum speed of 24 knots by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club race committee on the Hamilton Harbour racecourse.
In the first race Dickson started over early, giving Gilmour the advantage to sail into fresh breeze and take the lead all the way to the finish.
"The way to lose a match is to be over early,"
summarized Gilmour. "In the IODs, once you commit to a start and get the main and jib trimmed, the boat just takes off and there is no chance to recover."
Roles were reversed in the second match when the fitting for the boom failed and Gilmour watched Dickson and team sail away with the fate of the match. A strong start in the third match for Gilmour gave him the advantage and the win.
By the fourth match, it was a 'hang on' situation for Dickson who has won this event twice before. During the pre-start, the umpires determined that Gilmour had not given Dickson enough room to tack and flagged him on the penalty. With that deficit, it was difficult for Gilmour to recover.
"It was blowing harder out there than it looked,"
said Dickson, who sailed with Gavin Brady, Roscoe Halcrow and Dirk de Ridder. "The boats were a real handful for us. Both crews did a fabulous job of controlling the boats."
The fifth and final match would now decide the winner of the Gold Cup. An exciting pre-start sequence saw Gilmour incur a penalty and a red flag, which meant that he had to immediately take a penalty turn. Working their way up the first beat, the two boats came at each other for the first crossing. Dickson tacked too close to Gilmour and was given a penalty.
By the second crossing, Dickson was still ahead and led to the last windward mark rounding. Down the last downwind leg Dickson tried to engage Gilmour into a 'no spinnaker' duel to offset his penalty. It was soon apparent that Dickson might be able to gain an advantage by setting his spinnaker and trying later. Both boats went to the spinnaker hoist, but an error onboard Dickson's boat caused the spinnaker to get wrapped around the jib and headstay, giving Gilmour the time he needed to sail around Dickson and to victory.
In the Petit-Final for third and fourth places, Jesper RADICH/Team Radich (DEN) defeated Dean BARKER/Team New Zealand's Omega Match Racing Team (NZL) 2-1. After both teams split the scoreline with one win apiece. Barker looked to have the 'first to two points' series locked up in the third and deciding race. Although Barker incurred a penalty and was unable to exonerate himself, he did have a strong enough lead on Radich to undertake a penalty turn sailing downwind, moments before crossing the finish line. As the boat neared its turn, it became obvious that the spinnaker had not fully dipped below the ruling 'line' or the point at which the spinnaker pole meets the mast. With this error, the umpires ruled that the turn was invalid and Barker slipped over the line with Radich getting the win and third place overall.
"To be honest, we were looking at how the spinnaker had come down and not reached below the pole,"
said Radich, the 2002 Gold Cup champion. "When we crossed the finish line first and won, we weren't sure whether to cheer when someone makes a mistake."
In the Renaissance Reinsurance Junior Gold Cup, sailed on the Gold Cup course following the first Petit-Final race, local Bermuda superstar Oliver RIIHILOUMA won the 10-race series featuring 30 sailors from nine nations competing in Optimist dinghies. Lukasz PRZYBYTEK (POL) was second and Paul Snow-Hansen (NZL) third.
In the traditional Bermuda Fitted Dinghy exhibition match, held before the start of Final Round racing, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club's "Contest III" won the race by default when its opponent, the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club's "Elizabeth" struggled on the first beat and swamped with water. The situation was more than the struggling six-man team could manage.
The Bermuda Fitted Dinghy, a 14-foot dish of a hull with an overwhelming 1500 square feet of sail area utilize more cloth than the Gold Cup's International One-Designs, which at 33 feet are over 2 1/2 times the length.
Final Round, 'first to three points'
Final results: P. Gilmour def. C. Dickson 3-2
Match 1 P. Gilmour def. C. Dickson
Match 2 C. Dickson def. P. Gilmour
Match 3 P. Gilmour def. C. Dickson
Match 4 C. Dickson def. P. Gilmour
Match 5 P. Gilmour def. C. Dickson
Petit Final Round 'first to two points'
Match 1 D. Barker def. J. Radich
Match 2 D. Barker def. J. Radich
Match 3 J. Radich def. D. Barker
Overall Results: Listed with Skipper/Team and crew (prize money)
1. Peter Gilmour/Pizza-La Sailing Team (AUS), Yasuhiro Yaji, Mike Mottl, Kazuhiko Sofuku ($30,000)
2. Chris Dickson/Team ORACLE BMW Racing (USA), Gavin Brady, Ross Halcrow, Dirk de Ridder ($18,000)
3. Jesper Radich/Team Radich (DEN), Chresten Plinius, Peter Poulsen, Anders Kristensen ($11,500)
4. Dean Barker/Team New Zealand's Omega Match Racing Team (NZL), Ben Ainslie, James Dagg, Tony Rae ($9,000)
5. Russell Coutts/Team Alinghi (SWI), Dean Phipps, Simon Daubney, Warwick Fleury ($7,500)
6. Bill Hardesty (USA), Matt Reynolds, Jeff Reynolds, Darris Witham ($6,500)
7. Jes Gram-Hansen/Team Colorcraft (DEN), Rasmus Køstner, Michael Arnhild, Christian Kamp ($6,000)
8. Paula Lewin/Team ACE (BER), Carola Cooper, Peta Lewin, Lisa Neasham, Christine Patton ($5,500)
The ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be released on 29 October, included the results from all ISAF Graded Events up to and including the King Edward VII Gold Cup.