Canfield delight at striking gold again

  • Up for the Cup: Taylor Canfield, left, and crew Victor Diaz de Leon, George Peet, Mike Buckley and Erik Shampain (Photograph by Charles Anderson/RBYC)

    Up for the Cup: Taylor Canfield, left, and crew Victor Diaz de Leon, George Peet, Mike Buckley and Erik Shampain (Photograph by Charles Anderson/RBYC)

Taylor Canfield and USone Sailing Team swapped high fives and sipped champagne from the King Edward VII Gold Cup before taking the traditional plunge in Hamilton Harbour after winning the Argo Group Gold Cup for a second time on Saturday.

Canfield beat Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson 3-1 in the first to three points final of the $100,000 regatta.

The triumph, achieved in light breeze, was Canfield’s first since he claimed a maiden title in 2012.

“It was so tough to be on the podium the last couple of years we were here but it’s good to come back finally and get another win so we are ecstatic,” Canfield said.

“The list of names on this trophy goes on and on. It’s incredible. To be there once is awesome, to be there twice unbelievable.

“We sailed against a very talented team that’s also won the event twice now and I think Johnie Berntsson and his team deserve all the credit. We’ve always had some great matches against them so we are excited to have another final against them.”

Canfield started the day on match point after taking a 2-1 lead in the first three races of the final held on Friday.

Berntsson seized early control of the fourth race when he protected the windward end of the line in the pre-start and with more momentum sailed over the top of Canfield with both skippers on starboard tack.

But halfway up the beat the Swede tacked to port too soon and had to do two extra tacks to make the windward mark while Canfield was able to lay it and close the gap considerably.

Berntsson led by three boatlengths after rounding the marker but had lost momentum.

Canfield gybed to starboard and Berntsson followed, but got rolled by his American rival.

Canfield then tightened the screws by gybing to port and when Berntsson tried to match he luffed, forcing the Swede to steer clear and lose momentum. Berntsson appealed in vain for a penalty on Canfield, who then extended his lead to about seven boat lengths at the leeward mark.

Berntsson, the 2008 and 2014 Gold Cup winner, put up a good fight to try and force a fifth and deciding race. But the damage had already been done as Canfield sailed all the right angles to protect his lead the rest of the way to clinch the championship and the $30,000 winner’s purse.

“I think the crucial point was when we were tacking below the layline on the first upwind,” Berntsson said. “We were in control and we were calling it quite early but we extended to be sure but we were not even sure at that time.

“If we had not done that we would have had a better situation for the first downwind and maybe could sail uncovered by Taylor. Now he had a striking distance and we were slower around the mark so that was really the decider of the match.”

Canfield added: ”Those two tacks he had to do at the top definitely cost him several boat lengths and gave us a chance back in the race.

“I had a great layline to the first top mark and kept the pressure on him and I think with a good team if you keep the pressure on the guy in the lead you have a good chance of passing him, and that’s what we did.”

Australian Torvar Mirsky swept the first to two points Petite Final over Britain’s Lucy Macgregor, who competed in the last race with Bermudian Olympic sailor Paula Lewin among her crew.

Stephan Baker, of the United States, won the 16th annual RenRe Junior Gold Cup with Bermuda’s Christian Ebbin finishing second in the overall fleet of 35 international sailors.

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Published May 14, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated May 13, 2018 at 11:54 pm)

Canfield delight at striking gold again

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