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Taylor Canfield and Ian Williams stamp their authority on Gold Cup field

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Smooth sailing: Taylor Canfield and his crew hold a 2-0 lead over Phil Robertson, and will expect to finish the job this morning (Photograph by Ian Roman)

Ian Williams and Taylor Canfield will resume their semi-final matches against Jeppe Borch and Phil Robertson today on match point during the final day of the Bermuda Gold Cup and Open Match Racing World Championship in Hamilton Harbour.

The two skippers, who have won four Gold Cups and seven world match-racing titles between them, jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the opening two races of the best-of-five semi-finals.

Britain’s Williams, the defending Gold Cup champion, and Canfield, of the US Virgin Islands, will now look to finish the job, while and Denmark’s Borch and New Zealand’s Robertson aim to bounce back to stay alive when racing resumes.

In a cruel twist, Borch’s back-to-back losses against Williams took some of the shine away from his stunning quarter-final upset of USA’s Chris Poole, the top qualifier, earlier in the day.

Lend us your ear: Phil Robertson, the skipper from New Zealand, needs help from above to turn it around against Taylor Canfield (Photograph by Ian Roman)

The 23-year-old, the youngest skipper remaining in the regatta, edged Poole 3-2 in a thrilling quarter-final match that went the distance.

“It was definitely some close racing Chris Poole,” Borch said. “But in the end I think we played the shift better and had some better starts than him.

“We managed to start ahead and then just extend from there, and that was the key to our win basically.”

He added: “I can’t believe I’m in the semi-finals with my team. We are against some of the biggest guys in our sport and quite an amazing experience.”

Borch and his team-mates have punched well above their weight on their debut match racing at senior level and surpassed their expectations.

Their previous best showing was earning bronze at last year’s Youth Match Racing World Championship in Russia.

“Without a doubt, this is the best performance that me and my team has ever achieved,” Borch said. “Before this event we had a goal of just making the quarter-final and now we are semis, so that’s just amazing.

“This is our first World Match Racing Tour event and our first senior match-racing championship.”

Borch and his crew are also making their debut competing in the International One Design sloop at this dual regatta.

“The IOD is difficult,” he said. “It’s been a very steep learning curve.

“They are not like normal boats we sail which are faster and the manoeuvrability is way higher than these kind of boats here.

“Everybody told us that we weren’t going to do well in our first event in these IODs, but I guess we proved them wrong.

“We had some had some eally good coaches back home that taught us a few tips and tricks how to sail boats like these.”

Borch reached the quarter-final via the repechage and believes taking the longer route might have been a blessing in disguise.

“We were fortunate enough to get seven more races because we did make direct qualification for the quarter-final,” he said. “That gave us a bit of edge compared to the some of the other guys who only had seven races.”

Williams, who is also a six-times world champion, edged Switzerland’s Eric Monnin 3-2 in another quarter-final match-up that went the distance.

“We felt pretty confident with our speed and our starting, and I think we led at every bottom gate,” Williams said.

“But we really just couldn’t pick the bottom gates consistently and he kept coming back into us and really making it hard, so credit to him [Monnin].”

Robertson had an easier time as he swept Australian Torvar Mirsky 3-0, while Canfield beat Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson 3-1.

Exceeding expectations: Jeppe Borch and his young crew are over the moon despite being 2-0 down to Ian Williams (Photograph by Ian Roman)
Quarter-final action between Ian Williams, right, and Eric Monnin. Williams won 3-2 (Photograph by Ian Roman)

“We were pretty confident going into it, so when we are sailing the boat really well we are going to win races,” said Canfield, whose two Gold Cup wins to date came against Berntsson in the final.

Ian Williams’s crew in action (Photograph by Ian Roman)

“We backed ourselves even despite being behind a few times. We were able to sail around him, which we knew we could do if we were behind.”



(Best of five)

Flight 1

M1: Jeppe Borch (Denmark) bt Chris Poole (United States)

M2: Ian Williams (Britain) bt Eric Monnin (Switzerland)

M3: Phil Robertson (New Zealand) bt Torvar Mirsky (Australia)

M4: Taylor Canfield (United States) bt Johnie Berntsson (Sweden)

Flight 2

M1: Borch bt Poole

M2: Monnin bt Williams (Williams disqualified for incurring three successive penalties)

M3: Robertson bt Mirsky

M4: Canfield bt Berntsson

Flight 3

M1: Poole bt Borch

M2: Williams bt Monnin

M3: Robertson bt Mirsky (Robertson wins 3-0)

M4: Berntsson bt Canfield

Flight 4

M1: Poole bt Borch

M2: Monnin bt Williams

M4: Canfield bt Berntsson (Canfield wins 3-1)

Flight 5

M1: Borch bt Poole (Borch wins 3-2)

M2: Williams bt Monnin (Williams wins 3-2)


(Best of five)

Flight 1

M1: Williams bt Borch

M2: Canfield bt Robertson

Flight 2

M1: Williams bt Borch

M2: Canfield bt Robertson

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Published October 30, 2020 at 8:15 am (Updated October 30, 2020 at 8:18 am)

Taylor Canfield and Ian Williams stamp their authority on Gold Cup field

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