Duo primed to seal spots in the final
Ian Williams and Johnie Berntsson have moved to within match point of their respective 69th Argo Group Gold Cup semi- final encounters.
Williams opened a 2-0 lead over Lucy Macgregor in one match and Berntsson leads Harry Price by the same score in the other.
The penultimate round of the $100,000 match racing regatta hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club began after some exciting racing earlier in the day, in the quarter-final round, where Price scored the upset of the regatta by beating Torvar Mirsky 3-2.
Mirsky raised eyebrows on Wednesday when he chose to race Price, the world No 3-ranked skipper and a past youth match racing world champion in the quarter-finals.
“His motives were right, we're the least experienced team out of everyone,” Price, 23 said.
“Obviously, we were very pleased to get through to the semis. We had the toughest match out of the entire group, having to race Torvar, but we just took it one at a time. We won the first, lost the next two, then won the final two.”
Berntsson advanced to race Price by beating Chris Poole 3-0.
“The score doesn't reflect the closeness of the racing,” Berntsson said. “There were lead changes and Chris did a good job to keep us on the ropes.
“In the first race, we stretched away, but the other two were close racing.”
With the match on the line Berntsson started early and as he turned back to restart an extension of his boat hit Poole.
The on-water umpires gave Poole a penalty for failing to keep clear, a decision that left him scratching his head.
“I didn't think he had any rights since he hadn't started properly,” Poole said. “But I guess the lesson is to not put it in the hands of the umpires.”
Williams advanced to the semi-finals after beating Ettore Botticini, of Italy, 3-1, while Macgregor advanced after dispatching Eric Monnin, of Switzerland, 3-0.
Macgregor and her crew led at every mark round and won every race they sailed against Monnin this week, five in total.
Macgregor and Price will now be hoping for change in fortunes as they aim to save their fading hopes of reaching the final when the semi-finals resume and finish today.
The winner of each match will be the first to score three points. The final and petite final will be conducted in the afternoon following the completion of the semi-finals.