Despite exceptionally light and variable air on the final day of racing at the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda today, the finals were an intense affair for spectators and competitors alike with a number of to-the-wire finishes. It was former World Champions BlackMatch on their return to the World Match Racing Tour after a two year hiatus with Adam Minoprio (NZL) on the helm who charged home to take top honours in the deciding match of the final over “good mate” Keith Swinton (AUS) and Black Swan Racing.
BlackMatch advanced to the finals following an amazing catch up effort on US One Sailing Team on the final run of their deciding match. Canfield chose second ranked Minoprio to race following the quarters yesterday, hoping that their undefeated record would be a good match for the returning Minoprio. BlackMatch were not going to go down without a fight, and though Canfield had a significant lead at the final top mark, Minoprio’s team found the pressure to make up the distance and take the gun to progress onto the final. Swinton who sailed more races than any other team at the event, getting to the quarters through the repechage, defeated Hansen Sailing Team 3-1 in their semi. Hansen, forever the gentleman said “You always have to be a bit lucky when it is like this, but you deserve your luck, and they [Swinton] definitely deserved to win”. Swinton put the win down to their boat handling from additional time on the water, enabling them to make the most of the variable conditions.
Swinton and Minoprio were happy to face off against one another in the final, both saying that if they had to lose, they would rather lose to a good mate (more in the video below). Minoprio, who was with Luna Rossa until the team withdrew from the America’s Cup also completed three legs of the Volvo Ocean Race this year with Team Brunel, and in recent months has been competing on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit with GAC Pindar. “We are not at the office this week. We came to Bermuda for a holiday, and to just see how the sailing goes”, Minoprio said after the quarter finals and the no pressure attitude definitely did the job at this event.
Yesterday in the quarter finals, US One Sailing Team defeated 36 Below Racing skippered by Chris Steele 3-0 to maintain at that point in the event their straight run of wins, Hansen Sailing Team defeated Team SailBox and skipper Monnin 3-1, with the matches between WAKA Racing and BlackMatch as well as GAC Pindar and BlackSwanRacing going to 2-2 for a deciding match. Adam Minoprio of BlackMatch went on to defeat Phil Robertson and WAKA Racing, and current five time World Champion Ian Williams and GAC Pindar went down to Keith Swinton and BlackSwanRacing.
It is definitely all on for the overall tour leading into the final event next January at the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia with five-time World Champ Ian Williams on 90, Hansen Sailing Team on 88 and US One Sailing Team on 85 points. “We know that the Tour win often comes down to performance in the Monsoon Cup so we are going to be well prepared” said Hansen when interviewed with his team after the semi final.
The video below includes interviews before and after the quarter final with a little bit of dock departure footage, leading into all the semi-finalist interviews, as well as interviews with the podium placegetters and plenty of on-water action.
Congratulations BlackMatch Racing, Black Swan Racing and Hansen Sailing Team for taking the podium. Amazingly great racing to watch!
That makes 29 events for me so far this year, the 30th will be the America’s Cup World Series here in Bermuda kicking off with practice racing this coming Thursday.