Canfield close to double

  • Fight to the finish: Johnie Berntsson’s crew, left, lead Taylor Canfield and Co early in Race One of the final before Canfield came back to claim the victory (Photograph by Charles Anderson/RBYC)

    Fight to the finish: Johnie Berntsson’s crew, left, lead Taylor Canfield and Co early in Race One of the final before Canfield came back to claim the victory (Photograph by Charles Anderson/RBYC)

Taylor Canfield and USone Sailing Team are on the verge of a second Argo Group Gold Cup title.

The American skipper holds a 2-1 lead in the first to three points final over two-times Gold Cup winner Johnie Berntsson, of Sweden, going into today’s final day of the $100,000 regatta in Hamilton Harbour.

Canfield, the 2012 Gold Cup winner, came from behind to win the opening race in yesterday’s final.

Berntsson got off to an excellent start and led Canfield around the first lap.

But the lead swapped hands on the second beat after the American made big gains on the right side of the course.

The race was then all but over after Berntsson got luffed by his rival just before the second leeward gate and was hit with a penalty for failing to stay clear of the windward boat.

Another excellent start gave Berntsson early control of the second race and on this occasion there would be no way back for Canfield as the Swede led all the way around the racetrack to even the series at 1-1.

Berntsson suffered an early setback in the third race, though, when he was hit with a penalty for colliding with Canfield’s boat in the pre-start. The Swede led most of the way around the track but was unable to put enough distance between himself and his rival to complete his penalty turn before crossing the finish line where he was pipped by Canfield.

“It’s always fun racing Johnie,” Canfield said. “These guys are the most experienced at this event and have been doing this a lot longer the rest of us and we always have great matches with them.

“The biggest thing is when we were behind we stayed close and pushed to the finish line. Even though we lost race two we always kept the pressure on.

“Same in race three. Even though he was ahead he had a penalty and we kept pushing to close the gap so that he didn’t have enough room at the finish line to do his turn.

“Those races when we’re ahead we’re going to try and open the lead as much as we can and when we’re behind we’re going to push as hard as we can to keep it close.”

Canfield beat Italy’s Ettore Botticini (3-0) in the quarter-final and Great Britain’s Lucy MacGregor (3-1) in the semi-final.

Berntsson advanced to the final after seeing off American Charlie Lalumiere (3-0) in the quarter-final and Australian Torvar Mirsky (3-1) in the semi-final.

Mirsky, the 2011 Gold Cup winner and Men’s Open Match Race world champion, leads MacGregor 1-0 in the first to two points Petite final.

“We had a close race with the girls,” Mirsky said. “The start was close. We crossed the line ahead first but the first cross was to them so it was close up the beat but with the shifts lined up for us we were able to keep ahold of it.”

MacGregor was forced to make a change to her crew ahead of today’s second race with Bermudian Olympian Paula Lewin coming in as a replacement.

“I am tremendously excited,” Lewin said. “Lucy sprang it on me last minute.

“I came to the club just to see what was going on and found out she was one down and scrambled quickly to figure some childcare and I’m delighted to be going sailing.”

MacGregor, the reigning women’s Open Match Race world champion, added: “We are very lucky that Paula has agreed to sail with us, which is very exciting.”

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Published May 12, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated May 12, 2018 at 2:12 am)

Canfield close to double

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