Skipper Taylor Canfield and his Team Stars+Stripes crew – Mike Buckley, Victor Diaz de Leon, Mike Menninger and Eric Shampain – have won the 70th Bermuda Gold Cup and 2020 Open Match Racing World Championship after a penalty-marred victory over Ian Williams’s Team GAC Pindar.
Canfield and crew won three of the four races in winds ranging from 12 to 20 knots on Hamilton Harbour. They showed grit and determination in clawing back from deficits and a killer’s instinct in laying penalties on Williams and crew. They also showed great boat speed when free and clear on the racecourse.
“It’s unbelievable. I can’t thank my team enough,” said Canfield. “I put us in a lot of tough spots this week and they got us out of almost every one of them. Thanks to Bermuda for getting us here. We’re excited to be out racing again, and to come away with a win is unbelievable. We’re thrilled.”
Canfield and crew accepted the King Edward VII Gold Cup, the sterling silver World Match Tour Championship trophy and the $30,000 winner’s check of the $100,000 prize purse.
Williams and Team GAC Pindar – Christian Kamp, Gerry Mitchell and Richard Sydenham – placed second and won $15,000. Williams, the two-time Gold Cup champion and six-time Open Worlds champion took the loss in stride, but was rueful of the umpire’s calls, whose decisions had an impact on the outcome.
“It’s a lot about styles,” Williams said. “We try to keep the umpires out of the game and (Canfield) likes to bring them into it, and it worked for him today.”
New Zealander Phil Robertson and his China One Ningbo crew – Bradley Farrand, Peter Nicholas, Johanna Thiringer and James Williamson – placed third overall and earned $12,000 after defeating Jeppe Borch’s Borch Racing Team from Denmark in the Petite Final.
At the awards ceremony after racing, dignitaries such as the Governor of Bermuda, John Rankin, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore David Benevides, the President and CEO of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, Dr. William P. Curry, and the CEO of Bermuda Tourism, Glenn Jones, all spoke of how Bermuda has worked to contain and minimise the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone associated with the regatta was tested multiple times while on the island, and not one person failed the tests.
“We were able to prove to the world that we can host a professional sporting event safely and responsibly without sacrificing the action on the water,” said Jones.
They were on hand to witness the awarding of the Jordy Walker Trophy, recognising the most improved young match race sailor at the Bermuda Gold Cup, to 23-year-old Borch. Borch’s crew, including August de la Cour, Seabastian Pieters and Nikolai Rasmussen, placed fourth overall and won $11,000 in their first Grade 1 match racing regatta.
The Wedgwood Heritage Trophy, awarded in honour of Lord Piers Wedgwood, is presented to the sailor or support staff who best represents the traditional values and history of sailing. This year the trophy was presented to Tim Patton, who’s barge is a mainstay of the Bermuda Gold Cup. Asked for comment Patton replied, “When I’m done here, I’m taking the rest of the day off.”
From Williams’s perspective, the key point in the regatta was the pre-start of Race 2. Williams and Canfield had worked their way into the spectator boat crowd outside the pin end of the start line. Canfield was hounding Williams and got a penalty on him.
Canfield peeled off for a bit and sailed back towards the line and Williams began to follow. Canfield then decided to go back for another try at a penalty. Williams, on port, attempted to wipe Canfield by sailing below the commentary boat. Canfield, holding starboard, appeared to try and put his bow between the commentary boat and Williams. But his bow seemed to hit Williams’s at about the traveler and spun Williams bow into the commentary boat.
Damage was done to the bow of both boats as well as the commentary boat. Williams, who’d lost the first race, saw that as the turning point in the series. Not only did he receive a second penalty from the umpires, but he later was assessed a penalty of .75 points, which put him down 2-(-.75) after two races. That meant that he would have to win four consecutive races in order to win the championship.
“The big collision in Race 2 was the critical moment,” said Williams. “Not only was it a race win-loss on the penalty call, but also a lot of points on the collision. It’s essentially a 4-point delta. It was super critical. We’re not happy with it but you have to suck these things up.”
“The guys onboard were telling me to back off. I saw an opportunity and went for it,” said Canfield. “I hate hitting boats, but felt like there was no way to avoid it. He got another penalty and a three-quarter point penalty. Everyone makes mistakes and this time he made the mistake.”
70th Bermuda Gold Cup/2020 Open Match Racing World Championship Final Standings
1. Taylor Canfield (31, Miami, USA) – Team Stars+Stripes, 13-7, $30,000
Crew: Mike Buckley, Victor Diaz de Leon, Mike Menninger, Eric Shampain
2. Ian Williams (43, Lymington, England) – Team GAC Pindar, 13-6, $15,000
Crew: Christian Kamp, Gerry Mitchell, Richard Sydenham
3. Phil Robertson (33, Auckland, New Zealand) – China One Ningbo, 13-5, $12,000
Crew: Bradley Farrand, Peter Nicholas, Johanna Thiringer, James Williamson
4. Jeppe Borch (23, Copenhagen, Denmark) – Borch Racing Team, 14-11, $11,000
Crew: August de la Cour, Seabastian Pieters, Nikolai Rasmussen
5. Chris Poole (31, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA) – Riptide Racing, 8-4, $8,000
Crew: Sam Barron-Fox, Matthew Cornwell, Chris Draper
6. Eric Monnin (45, Immensee, Switzerland) – Capvis Swiss Match Racing Team, 7-5, $8,000
Crew: Simon Brügger, Hugo Feydit, Mathieu Renault, Ute Wagner
7. Torvar Mirsky (34, Sydney, Australia) – Mirsky Racing Team, 6-4, $8,000
Crew: Nick Blackman, Kinley Fowler, Mal Parker
8. Johnie Berntsson (48, Stenungsund, Sweden) – Berntsson Sailing Team, 10-8, $8,000
Crew: Herman Andersson, Anders Dahlsjö, Eric Malmberg
9. Nicklas Dackhammar (30, Gothenburg, Sweden) – Essiq Racing Team, 8-6
Crew: Nils Bjekås, Björn Lundgren, Jakob Wilson
10. Anna Östling (36, Lerum, Sweden) – Team WINGS, 5-9
Crew: Julia Lines, Annie Wennergren, Linnea Wennergren, Janel Zarkowsky
11. Matthew Whitfield (23, Plymouth, England) – Dragon Racing Team, 4-10
Crew: Quentin Bes-Green, Max Brennan, Carson Crain
12. Lance Fraser (27, Toronto, Canada) – Team RCYC, 5-9
Crew: Andrew McTavish, Rob Scrivenor, Katrina Williams
13. Jelmer van Beek (25, The Hague, Netherlands) – Team Dutch Wave, 4-10
Crew: Robin Jacobs, Jorden van Rooijen, Rutger Vos
14. Mati Sepp (52, Tallinn, Estonia) – Gleam Energy Sailing Team, 4-10
Crew: Ago Rebane, Karl Tagu, Aleksei Zigadlo
15. Kelsey Durham (26, Smiths, Bermuda) – Triangle Racing Team, 0-7
Crew: Alex Ellis, Charlie Lalumiere, Edward Lebens
16. Pauline Courtois (31, Brest, France) – Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, 0-7
Crew: Cédric Chateau, Thierry Douillard, Sophie Faguet, Maelenn Lemaitre