Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing, Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORGIN and Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar sponsored by Argo Group all faced a restless night with the knowledge that at least one of them will be a casualty in the final Qualifying Session at the Argo Group Gold Cup.
It will cap a remarkable few days in Bermuda, which also saw overall World Match Racing Tour leader Mathieu Richard
ultimately knocked out of the competition by Jesper Radich
(DEN) Gaastra Racing Team.
In contrast to the 10-18 knot winds of the previous two days, sailors were required to adopt an altogether different skill set to deal with a very fickle and incredibly light wind. The reigning champion, Adam Minoprio
has a second chance to qualify on Friday for the Quarter-Finals having failed to qualify directly however he faces formidable competition - this group of six teams includes four of the top ten names in the ISAF Match Racing Rankings. Bjorn Hansen
(SWE) Hansen Global Team, Minoprio, Williams and Ben Ainslie
, are also joined by Álvaro Marinho
(POR) Seth Sailing Team (ranked 15), and Phil Robertson
(NZL) Waka Racing (ranked 21).
Competitors were not alone in finding the fickle conditions frustrating - PRO David Campbell-James was in a no-win situation, but did a great job with what he had: "It was a 360-degree day, with the wind swinging right round the compass as the day progressed."
(SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, one of the six skippers to qualify directly for the Quarter-Finals, reflected: "It was important for us to beat Marinho in Qualifying Session 3. We feel really confident about this week - we're sailing well have yet to make a tactical mistake. It's our fourth time here and we have similar boats at home so we are benefiting from having been able to practice there."
Minoprio, Williams and Ainslie will take some comfort into tomorrow knowing they each won their first races in the Qualifying Play-Off however their toughest matches will come tomorrow. The morning will see a return of 12-18 knots of breeze but with tropical storm Otto heading towards Bermuda, the wind is expected to increase considerably later on, giving skippers in the Quarter-Finals an extra challenge with which to contend.
(AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 6-0
(DEN) Gaastra Racing Team 6-1
(SUI) Swiss Match Racing Team 5-1
(SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 5-1
(NZL) Black Sheep Racing 4-2
Qualifying Session Play-Off Standings
(NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 1-0
(GBR) TEAMORIGIN 1-0
(GBR) Team GAC Pindar sponsored by Argo Group 1-0
(POR) Seth Sailing Team 0-1
(NZL) Waka Racing 0-1
(SWE) Hansen Racing Team 0-1
1. Mathieu Richard
(FRA) French Match Racing Team - 105
2. Adam Minoprio
(NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing - 88
3. Torvar Mirsky
(AUS) Mirsky Racing Team - 76
4. Ian Williams
(GBR) Team GAC Pindar - 72
5. Ben Ainslie
(GBR) TEAMORIGIN - 63
6. Francesco Bruni
(ITA) Azzurra - 53
7. Peter Gilmour
(AUS) YANMAR Racing - 51
8. Jesper Radich
(DEN) Radich Racing Team - 40
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