Ainslie leads at Bermuda Gold Cup

Great Britain's Ben Ainslie has won a lot of gold, but never the King Edward VII Gold Cup. Today he moved into the quarter finals of the Argo Group Gold Cup with a perfect 7-0 record thus far. That's the first step towards the Cup, but Ben is reminded of the lesson from world champion Ian Williams who was also 7-0 at this stage in 2008 series – and then didn't even make it to the finals!

Today, Ainslie defeated Seb Col (FRA), Adam Minoprio (NZL) and Bjorn Hansen (SWE) on another flawless day of sailing for the multi-medal Olympian. Ainslie doesn't do much match racing but when he does he does it well.

The two top teams in each group automatically move up to the quarter final stage. Joining Ainslie in Friday's quarter finals is Adam Minoprio with a 4-3 score . Group 1 is represented by Eric Monnin (SUI) and Ian Williams (GBR) both sharing a 6-1 scoreline. The top two in Group 3 were last year's Gold Cup winner Johnie Berntsson (SWE) with 6-1, and 2007 Gold Cup champion Mathieu Richard (FRA).

The remaining slots in the quarter finals will go to the top two from the repechage round robin still in progress. This will be completed on Friday morning.

Organizers had hoped to get all of the round robin racing completed today but a frontal passage with possible lightning, coupled with a departing cruise ship in Hamilton Harbour, delayed the start. Once racing began around 10:30, the committee banged of start after start in short order. Winds were fresh out of the northwest blowing 18-20kts most of the day.

As usual, the competition was fierce. Umpires handed out multiple penalties. Peter Gilmour (AUS) and Paula Lewin (BER) were both black flagged today, and Damian Iehl got his second black flag of the event. This brings the total to eight black flags for a regatta and it is still only half way through!

Racing continues Friday at 9:00AM with the last flights of the repechage followed by quarter final action.

For results and photos go to www.argogroupgoldcup.com.
Daily news highlights are available on www.sail.tv GPS tracking is available on line.
To download the race viewer go to www.race-trax.com/downloads/race-trax-race-viewer

Biographies of all twenty-four 2009 Argo Group Gold Cup skippers are posted at http://www.bermudagoldcup.com/content/view/81/42/

Stage 8 of the World
Match Racing Tour

The Argo Group Gold Cup, sailed for the King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy, is now stage 8 of the World Match Racing Tour, the International Sailing Federation match racing world championship. The Bermuda classic is the oldest match racing competition in the world for one-design yachts. The trophy presented to the winning team was originally given at the Tri-Centenary Regatta at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1907 by King Edward VII in commemoration of the 300th Anniversary of the first permanent settlement in America. C. Sherman Hoyt, a renowned American sailor, won the regatta and was presented with this now historic cup.

Through the years Bermuda has won the Cup twenty-one times, the United States seventeen times, New Zealand ten times, Australia five times, the United Kingdom three times, Sweden once and in 2002 Denmark claimed the King Edward VII Gold Cup for the first time. The 2006 winner was Ian Williams (UK) who defeated a fleet including the 2005 winner, Luna Rosa Skipper James Spithill, who in that year had shut out Russell Coutts' incredible string of wins. Mathieu Richard of France became the third consecutive first-time winner of the King Edward VII Gold Cup in 2007. In 2008 the cup went to Sweden's Johnie Berntsson and his Berntsson Racing Team in the final 3-1 victory over Adam Minoprio's Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Team.

The Argo Group Gold Cup is the ninth out of ten events on the 2009 World Match Racing Tour's World Championship schedule. It is sailed in Hamilton Harbour adjacent to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. The venue brings world-class match racing close to shore where spectators can easily see the competition.

The twenty-four invited crews include eight official “World Tour Card” teams and two winners of qualifying events, the Knickerbocker Cup and the Bermuda National Match Race Championship. Teams will be divided into three groups of eight to sail a round robin elimination series Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The leading eight skippers go on to the Quarter and Semi Finals, to be sailed on Friday and Saturday respectively.

The finals take place on Sunday with the top two teams in a ‘first to three points' head to head battle and the losing semi finalists in a ‘first to two points' Petite Final. Between the second and third races, the course is taken over for the final race of the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup, which will have been underway simultaneously since Thursday in the Great Sound.

The King Edward VII Gold Cup was a founding member of the World Match Racing Tour. The tour is a series of international events. It has extensive television coverage and worldwide promotion. The one-hour television broadcast of the 2008 event appeared in November on Eurosport, ESPN, Versus Network, the Sky network and other regional broadcasters. This network reaches more than 300 million homes in 90 countries. An exciting summary video of all the tour events can be viewed at http://www.worldmatchracingtour.com/.

 

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