Taylor Canfield heralds Gold Cup trumph as ʽunbelievable’ – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Taylor Canfield heralds Gold Cup trumph as ʽunbelievable’

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Taylor Canfield joined an exclusive group of company after winning the Bermuda Gold Cup and Open Match Race World Championship with Stars+Stripes USA in Hamilton Harbour yesterday.

To the victors go the spoils: champions Stars+Stripes (Photograph by Charles Anderson)

The US Virgin Islands skipper conquered old foe Ian Williams and GAC Pindar and the blustery conditions to triumphantly raise the Gold Cup for the third time overall and second in two years.

Canfield won the first-to-three points final 3-0.25 and in doing so joined the revered likes of New Zealand’s Sir Russell Coutts and Bermuda’s A.F. “Bert” Darrell as skippers to have won the prestigious showpiece three or more times.

Gold Cup final day

“We love to be here racing and to come away with the win is just a bonus so we are thrilled,” said Canfield, who also clinched a second world match-racing title.

“It’s unbelievable. I can’t thank my team enough. I put us in a lot of tough spots this week and they got us out of almost every one of them.

We’re no 1: Taylor Canfield gives the signal after his Stars+Stripes outfit beat Ian Williams in the final of the Bermuda Gold Cup and World Match Racing Championship on Hamilton Harbour yesterday. The Gold Cup title is Canfield’s third (Photographs by Charles Anderson)

“I think we were the fastest boat out there because of how focused everyone was on board, no matter where we were. These guys push right to the end no matter what. If we’re behind or ahead they wanted more all the time and everyone stayed super focused and did their jobs well the last two days.

Gold Cup final day

“We are so thrilled. It’s obviously just great to be here racing and awesome the World Match Racing Tour and Bermuda as a whole came together to put on this event during these hard times.”

Taylor was in full control of the final after jumping out to a 2-(-0.75) advantage.

The 31-year-old skipper came from behind to win the opening race.

Williams led the first lap around the racecourse.

It ends with a crash: Ian Williams’s challenge in the final came to grief at this moment (Photograph by Charles Anderson)

But the lead swapped hands for good on the second beat when Canfield passed Williams on starboard tack, rolled back on port and tagged a penalty on his rival in a luffing match.

Too close for comfort: Ian Williams gets in tight in pursuit of Taylor Canfield (Photograph by Charles Anderson)

Williams closed the gap on the final downwind run but was hit with another penalty after his spinnaker made contact with Canfield’s boat.

The second race was virtually over before the boats were on course side as Williams was hit with two penalties and involved in a dramatic collision in the prestart.

Phil Robertson, of New Zealand, won the Petit final against Denmark youngster Jeppe Borch (Photograph by Charles Anderson)

Having incurred an early penalty, things quickly went from bad to worse as he picked up another after getting tangled up with Canfield among the spectator boats outside the pin end of the line in the area known as “Coffin Corner”.

Phil Robertson, of New Zealand, won the Petit final against Denmark youngster Jeppe Borch (Photograph by Charles Anderson)

The mishap occurred as Williams, on port, attempted to wipe Canfield by sailing below the commentary boat. Canfield, who had the right of way on starboard, appeared to try and put his bow between the commentary boat and Williams. Instead his bow collided with Williams and spun him into the commentary boat.

Williams was required by the rules to complete one of his penalty turns immediately after crossing the start line, as Canfield made his way upwind and sailed the rest of the way virtually uncontested to move to match point.

Taylor Canfield and Stars+Stripes in charge (Photograph by Charles Anderson)

Adding insult to injury, Williams later was assessed a penalty of 0.75 points by the race officials, which left him with no margin for error and having to win four consecutive races to win the championship.

Spinnakers up: action in the Bermuda Gold Cup and World Match Racing Championship final (Photograph by Charles Anderson)

Still, he battled on courageously and finally got a foothold in the match after winning the third race to signal “game on”.

Williams seized early control after Canfield was hit with a penalty in a luffing match in the prestart and then had to restart after crossing the line early attempting to tack away from Williams’s transom and avoiding the committee boat.

Canfield made up considerable distance on the leader on the run to the finish but ultimately ran out of racetrack.

Action in the Bermuda Gold Cup and World Match Racing Championship final (Photograph by Charles Anderson)

However, Williams’s reprieve proved temporary as Canfield came from behind for the second time in the final to win the next race and clinch the dual regatta.

Williams led around the first two marks and seemed firmly in control when the penalty he incurred in the pre-start was offset after Canfield’s spinnaker made contact with his backstay on the first downwind run.

But again Canfield’s never-say-die attitude and decision to opt for the right side of the course heading up the final beat paid off as he passed Williams and then covered his rival the rest of the way to seal the deal with a race to spare.

“I guess it was exciting for the spectators today,” Williams, the two-times Gold Cup winner, said.

“It was a pretty rough one for us as you can tell. The umpire decisions were critical today and we were on the wrong side of them.

“But we just have to accept that and move on and try and come back stronger next year.”

Earlier, dethroned world champion Phil Robertson beat Gold Cup debutant Jeppe Borch 2-0.25 in the first-to-two points Petit Final to round off the podium.

Results

Semi-finals

(first to 3pts)

Flight 1 (Thursday)

M1: Ian Williams (Britain) bt Jeppe Borch (Denmark)

M2: Taylor Canfield (United States) bt Phil Robertson (New Zealand)

Flight 2 (Thursday)

M1: Williams bt Borch

M2: Canfield bt Robertson

Flight 3

M1: Williams bt Borch (Williams wins 3-0)

M2: Robertson bt Canfield

Flight 4

M2: Robertson bt Canfield

Flight 5

M2: Canfield bt Robertson (Canfield wins 3-2)

Final first to 3pts)

Flight 1

Canfield bt Williams

Flight 2

Canfield bt Williams (Williams penalised 0.75 points for collision)

Flight 3

Williams bt Canfield

Flight 4

Canfield bt Williams (Canfield wins 3-0.25)

Petit final

(first to 2pts)

Flight 1

Robertson bt Borch

Flight 2

Borch bt Robertson (Borch penalised 0.75 points for collision)

Flight 3

Robertson bt Borch (Robertson wins 2-0.25)

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Published October 31, 2020 at 12:02 pm (Updated October 31, 2020 at 11:26 am)

Taylor Canfield heralds Gold Cup trumph as ʽunbelievable’

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