Congratulating his Luna Rossa crew of Joe NEWTON (AUS), Magnus AUGUSTSON (SWE), and Charlie MCKEE (USA), SPITHILL said. 'I have wanted to win the Gold Cup for a long time. I have been second and fourth and we really wanted to win it against Russell because this is his event. It all came down to making good starts, and I shut him out on the last one.'
Now in its 57th year, the Bermuda Gold Cup is where legends are born and sailing careers are built. COUTTS, who conceded the last race after the first round, having hit the committee boat at the start, was gracious in defeat. 'It really did come down to the starts in all five races. James is the World Champion and he sailed here very well.'
After a week of variable weather, conditions on the final day were perfect with 15-20 knot winds across Hamilton Harbour. COUTTS won the first start and split off from the young Australian towards the Hamilton shore in search of wind pressure, and won handily.
|RBYC Commodore Jane
CORREIA presents the King
Edward VII Gold Cup trophy
to (from left to right) Charlie
MCKEE, James SPITHILL,
Magnus AUGUSTSON and
© Bob Grieser/PPL
It was not to be. In the fourth encounter, SPITHILL won the starboard advantage and rounded just ahead of COUTTS at the top mark. The pair then remained locked together for the remainder of this duel, with SPITHILL taking the winning gun by little more than a bow length.
In the fifth and final race, SPITHILL dominated the pre-start and pinned COUTTS down so close to the committee boat that he hit it and was forced to do a penalty turn. By the time he had recovered, SPITHILL was ten boat lengths clear and heading to dethrone the king of the Gold Cup. COUTTS saw it all as a hopeless cases and conceded the race after one round so that his Danish crew could catch their flight home.
Lady VEREKER, the wife of Sir John VEREKER, Governor of Bermuda who was one of hundreds of spectators watching this exciting final, said, 'Whether you are a young sailor or on the sidelines as a spectator, these competitors give us something that is uplifting. They have such a great, competitive spirit; they are technically superb to watch and are great athletes. It is such an honor that we can watch them sail right off the harbour wall.'
In in the petite-finals to decide third and fourth place, Steffan LINDBERG of Finland defeated number one in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings Ed BAIRD (USA) from the Swiss America's Cup Defenders Alinghi 2-0. BAIRD, who went down to SPITHILL in the semi finals 3-2, could not overtake the fast moving Finn who dominated both races.
King Edward VII Gold Cup Final Standings