Sept. 21, 2014, Chicago, USA – In a masterful display of tenacious match race sailing in today's blustery conditions, Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One has successfully defended his title to the Chicago Match Cup, the only US event on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT). Canfield's US One team consists of tactician Rod Dawson, trimmer Mike Rehe and bowman Hayden Goodrick, and for their efforts the team wins a $18,750 share of the $75,000 prize money purse.
Canfield started strong in the 15-20+ knot northerly breeze that puffed and shifted all day, dominating all matches in the first-to-three point Semi-Finals against Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team and amassing a convincing winning score of 3-0. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar looked like he would do the same by winning his first two matches against Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets, but then the French team took the third match to bring the score to 2-1. However, in Match 4 Williams once again took control early and kept control to earn his berth in the Finals 3-1.
The momentum Williams had gained in that last match seemed it would carry through to the Finals where he owned the start and took the early lead in the first match. But on the last half of the last run to the finish, Canfield closed the gap and then achieved an overlap and control of Williams, who managed to stay clear in hard spinnaker luff from Canfield. Williams then managed to build enough separation to gybe back to starboard at Canfield, luff him hard, and force a penalty on him for not keeping clear. One last gybe back by Canfield on the finish line only earned him another penalty, thus ceding the win to Williams. Score: Williams 1-0.
|Williams and Canfield tangle in Finals luffing match – photo Ian Roman/AWMRT|
The second match saw Williams back in control in the pre-start, not only pushing Canfield over the line early at the start, but forcing on him a red flag penalty for not keeping clear. After taking his obligatory turn, Canfield was left to follow Williams around the first lap, especially after a right shift on the first run made that leg a parade. But being clever with the wind shifts on the last beat put Canfield close, and then into a lead that he managed to defend to make the score even at 1-1.
In Petit Final action, Richard led in nearly every turn of both matches against Hansen to win this series for third place 2-0.
Mathieu Richard shows winning effort in Petit Finals – photo Ian Roman/AWMRT
In the third match of the Finals, Williams took the right side of the start and never let go control of this match, helped by a right shift that deprived Canfield of any passing opportunities. Williams's narrow lead on the last leg to the finish looked reasonably safe, until Canfield rode a puff to close the gap, overlapped Williams to leeward, and under Tour rules was allowed to luff. According to match umpires Bill Edgerton, Alfredo Ricci and Flavio Naveira, Williams did not keep clear, and was not in the two-length zone at the pin end of the finish, and therefore earned a penalty before crash gybing to try to get to the line before Canfield. Score: Canfield 2-1.
In the last match, Canfield wanted and took the right and successfully defended this side to where Williams never had a chance to get ahead. Even in one dial-down defense on the first beat, Canfield simply extended his lead more. With the breeze dropping slightly, and the big puffs of earlier matches no longer available to enable the trailing boat any opportunity to catch the leaders, Canfield went on to sail comfortably into the finish and his successful defense of the Chicago Match Cup.
“It was fantastic to defend this event in front of all of our families and friends,” said an elated Canfield. “And I really have to thank my team for an incredible performance this week in only losing two matches. In these conditions when you're behind never out of it, and this team is incredible: when we were behind they only pushed harder for us to win.”
Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One, 3-0
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar, 3-1
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets, 2-0
Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One, 3-1