There are now five flights completed in both groups of the Investors Guaranty presentation of The King Edward VII Gold Cup.
Cameron APPLETON of New Zealand and Anthony KOTOUN of the U.S. Virgin Islands now stand at 5-0 apiece as they march toward their goal of winning a berth to compete against the top seeded sailors in the Grade 1 event beginning Tuesday.
A nearly perfect Bermuda day set the stage for high-level match racing amongst some of the world's best sailors who excelled through light and shifty breezes to advance to day three of the qualifying round of The King Edward VII Gold Cup. Sixteen sailors are divided into two groups and the top three from each group will advance to race against seeded skippers when the qualifying rounds end Monday.
As the unseeded competitors seize their opportunities on the race course to test their skills against the current competition, the focus in this regatta is quickly turning towards the upcoming close encounters with sailors like America's Cup legend Dennis CONNER, three-time America's Cup helmsman and six-time Gold Cup winner Russell COUTTS and last year's Gold Cup winner Peter GILMOUR.
Today's strong performances by both Appleton and Kotoun as well as New Zealander Scott DICKSON and American Brian ANGEL who stand at 4-1 respectively will give the remaining teams a tough climb to the qualifying round and their shot at sailing in the final Gold Cup events.
"Today my crew really performed in these lighter conditions,"
Koutoun said. "We came out here with some very skilled light air sailors who made the best of these random conditions. My crew managed to sniff out the correct side of the course each time and we came up smelling like roses."
The light air conditions, particularly in the morning flight of races, were "a true test of patience,"
said Dickson who won two of his three races today. "Light air sailing is a different set of skills and you have to be at your best. It is tough in the shifty, dying breezes to be in the right place."
The afternoon flights belonged to Cameron APPLETON who dominated his two races in Flight 4 and 5 beating Bermudian favourite Adam BARBOZA in a close, final race.
"Although we are now at 5-0, you can never relax here and each day our teams confidence grows as we win,"
Appleton said. "We have two tough matches tomorrow and we must keep our guard up. Today was very important and we saw that we could match race well in very light and fickle winds. Today we felt we sailed as best as we could."
The spectator fleet continues to grow as the competition narrows down here in the qualifying rounds. And, according to one of the country's most avid sailing fans, His Excellency Sir John VEREKER, Governor of Bermuda, the event just keeps getting better.
"We have such a high caliber of sailors coming in for this race and I think this really helps put Bermuda on the world stage in sailing,"
he said. "We are also famous as hosts and when we welcome the sailors to Bermuda this week, they become a part of our lives here and we hope they continue to come back each year."
Group 1 (After Five Races)
C. Appleton 5 - 0
B. Angel 4 - 1
C. Larson 3 - 2
P. Campbell-James 2 - 3
A. Barboza 2 - 3
Y. Funazawa 2 - 3
R. Ferrarese 1 - 4
B. Hardesty 1 - 4
Group 2 (after five races)
A. Kotoun 5 - 0
S. Dickson 4 - 1
E. Monnin 3 - 2
C. Dunn 2 - 3
E. Kratzig 2 - 3
M. Woodworth 2 - 3
J. Singsen 1 - 4
B. Walker 1 - 4