Monday, October 11, 2010

Ainslie wins King Edward VII Gold Cup

Hon. Paula Cox MP JP presents Ben Ainslie with the King Edward VII Gold Cup
By Talbot Wilson - Argo Group Gold Cup

Ben Ainslie and his TeamOrigin crew with the King Edward VII Gold Cup

Ben Ainslie, Great Britain’s four-time Olympic medalist won the Argo Group Gold Cup and the $50,000 cash prize for the second year in a row. He and his TeamOrigin crew defeated Denmark’s Jesper Radich 3-1, a victory that has lifted Ainslie to 3rd in the World Match Race rankings.

Ainslie used classic match racing tactics to continually attack Radich and his Gaastra Racing Team whose second place finish earned the team $20,000. Ainslie is only the second skipper to win the King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy in two successive years since the event was reformatted in 1984. Russell Coutts also pulled a double in 1992 and 1993.

As expected, the action on the water was tense and aggressive. Radich took the first race, extending his winning streak to thirteen races in this Argo Group Gold Cup, but that was his unlucky number.
Ainslie got down to business. He shut out Radich the rest of the day, taking three straight races to seal the deal. At the end of the final two-lap race, Ainslie led across the finish by close to half of the leeward leg. He dropped his spinnaker 50 yards from the finish and hugged his mates as they crossed the line to the tune of boat horns and cheers from the spectator fleet.

“We made it hard for ourselves all week, but we were battle hardened and I think it helped us today” Ainslie said, adding. “Today’s final was classic match racing all the way and it was fantastic sailing against Radich. “

“We did put the match in the umpires hands. All of us know that when you play at this level, the race is sometimes decided by the umpire. We were lucky in both the third and the final race that the call went our way.

“There were plenty of flags in the final. Both teams made some mistakes and it was very tight. That is match racing. Some of our calls went our way at the right times.

“It has been a tough week for all of our guys from TeamOrigin and the win has been great for us. The day before we flew out from England, we learned that Sir Keith Mills had taken TeamOrigin out of the Cup. It has been hard on all of us. I have to thank the team for making the best of things this week.”

Gracious in defeat, Jasper Radich said, “It has been an honor racing against the best in the world. Ben and his team are definitely that. I have to say I highly disagree with the umpire in the last race. It was a tough way to end the finals. I would have liked to have gone to the full five races.

“Agreeing with Ainslie he also added, “When you race at this level it can come down to umpires calls..

“I have to say that with conditions like we have had in Bermuda all week, match racing can't get any better. Sailing here is ideal. The boats have a certain momentum and it gives you the opportunity to really go on the attack. I am proud to be able to give them a fight. As I said, Ainslie and his team are the best in the world.”

Earlier in the day, 2008 Gold Cup winner Johnie Berntsson of Sweden won the Petite Finals to take third place and $10,000 over Eric Monnin’s Swiss Match Race Team two wins to nil. Monnin’s fourth place finish earned him $7,000 for the week.

Saturday Matches had already determined fifth through eighth places. Adam Minoprio (NZL) was fifth for $5,500, Taylor Canfield (USVI) was sixth winning $,4000, Reuben Corbett (NZL) who was seventh took $2500 and Torvar Mirsky (AUS) at eighth won $1,000.

Click here for biographies of skippers, details for Argo Group Gold Cup and a full schedule for events.

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