Borch, Berntsson advance from repechage into Gold Cup quarter-finals – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Borch, Berntsson advance from repechage into Gold Cup quarter-finals

A pair of Scandinavian crews, Jeppe Borch’s Borch Racing Team from Denmark and Johnie Berntsson’s Berntsson Racing Team from Sweden, advanced to the quarter-final round of the 70th Bermuda Gold Cup and 2020 Open Match Racing World Championship after placing first and second respectively in today’s repechage round.

Borch and Berntsson are somewhat on opposite sides of the ledger at this regatta. The upstart Borch, 23, sailing his first Bermuda Gold Cup, is the youngest skipper remaining in the regatta. Berntsson, 48, is one of the event’s grizzled veterans: a 12-times competitor, six-times finalist and two-times winner of the King Edward VII Gold Cup. In the lightest conditions of the week, a four to eight-knot westerly, they shared one common thread – they won enough races to advance to the quarterfinals.

Berntsson’s two losses in the seven-race repechage round were to the two youngest skippers, Borch and 23-year-old Matthew Whitfield, of Britain. But he shook them off and put forth a dominant performance against 25-year-old Jelmer van Beek’s Team Dutch Wave in the final race to stamp his ticket to the quarter-finals.

The Berntsson Racing Team, left, are in the quarter-finals against defending champion Taylor Canfield (Photograph by Charles Anderson)

“You’re always nervous in light air because you never know how things will turn out, but we were quite calm on board,” said Berntsson), who won in 2008 and 2014. “We were confident in our speed. Of course, there can be wind shifts after we choose a side, but generally we were quite confident. Anders [Dahlsjö], my tactician, did a very nice job today. We made one tactical mistake in seven races, 14 upwinds – that’s a very good record and I’m proud of my team.”

Borch also seemed calm and collected in the light winds. His crew stormed out of the gate to win their first five races and finished the round at 6-1 for the top spot. Now, the skipper who placed third overall at the 2019 Youth Match Racing World Championship finds himself in the quarter-finals alongside multiple world champions and event champions.

“It was difficult for us to set a goal coming into this regatta,” Borch said. “The other teams are really good and have been in the game for so long. We’re coming in as underdogs and especially now in the quarters, we’re in the big boys’ game now.

“It’s a dream come true of mine. I don’t know how many videos I’ve watched online of those guys, to be in the quarter-finals against them is huge,” Borch said.

Quarter-final pairings

With Halloween just a few days away, Borchn’s dream could quickly turn nightmarish. The event’s top-ranked skipper, Chris Poole of the U.S. and his Riptide Racing Team, chose to race Borch’s team in tomorrow’s quarter-finals.

Ian Williams, skipper of Team GAC Pindar, selected Eric Monnin’s Capvis Swiss Match Race Team. Phil Robertson’s China One Ningbo selected Torvar Mirsky’s Mirsky Racing Team, which left Taylor Canfield’s Team Stars+Stripes to race Berntsson Sailing Team.

The match-ups are intriguing:

Canfield’s two victories at the Bermuda Gold Cup in 2012 and 2018 came at the expense of Berntsson, who lost the two series by a combined score of 6-1. Can Berntsson turn the tables on Canfield this time?

Robertson, from New Zealand, versus the Australian Mirsky continues the trans-Tasman rivalry at the Bermuda Gold Cup. In years past, New Zealander Russell Coutts took on Australians Peter Gilmour and James Spithill with some great success, while the final in 2015 saw New Zealand’s Adam Minoprio defeat Australian Keith Swinton.

Williams, the defending champion and six-times world champion, and Monnin are familiar foes at the Bermuda Gold Cup with a combined 25 appearances, although their head-to-head record through the years was unavailable at press time.

Poole, 31, versus Borch represents the next wave of match racers. Just five years ago, Poole finished the Bermuda Gold Cup with a 1-9 record in last place. For him to turn that performance around is a testament to his own growth as well as his new crew, featuring Sam Baron-Fox, Matt Cornwell and Chris Draper.

The first warning signal is scheduled for 9.30am tomorrow.

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Published October 28, 2020 at 6:41 pm (Updated October 29, 2020 at 10:59 am)

Borch, Berntsson advance from repechage into Gold Cup quarter-finals

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