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Cooper clinches maiden Bermuda International Race Week title in style

The International One Design fleet in action during the penultimate day of the Bermuda International Race Week in the Great Sound yesterday. (Photograph supplied)

Patrick Cooper captured a maiden Bermuda International Race Week title with another dominant display in the Great Sound yesterday.

The 53-year-old clinched the honours with two races to spare to finally land a title which had eluded him as a helmsman for more than three decades.

“I have never won this regatta so this is a first for us,” Cooper said.

“It has been a long time coming and means everything because we have done every position in this regatta from last now to first.

“We really enjoy this regatta and it’s been fantastic sailing it over the years.”

Cooper and fellow crew Martin Siese, Bill McNiven, Melinda Bessey and Andrew Butterworth won the second and third races of the ‘B’ Series contested in eight to 12 knot breezes to clinch the overall title in style.

“It could not have gone any better than it has done,” Cooper added. “We have been able to get off the line cleanly and have had great pace.

“The trim has been fantastic on the boat and Martin Siese calling tactics has been brilliant. We have been clean around the course.”

It was the second successive podium finish for Cooper and his colleagues in an international regatta, having finished third in the International One Design World Championships in the Great Sound last year.

“I have been with this crew for probably eight to ten years now and we have progressively got better and better,” Cooper said. “I think we are finally hitting our straps now and doing really well.”

Cooper came from behind to win the first race and set the tone for the remainder of the day.

He trailed rival helmsman Courtney Jenkins, of the United States, coming off the start line but snatched the lead for good after passing his rival on starboard tack before rounding the top mark with clean air on his sails and gradually pulling away.

“We crossed a couple of times and ducked his stern at one point and then the next cross we had it,” Cooper said.

The local team led the entire way on the way to victory in the second race.

“We punched out from the start and managed to get a little bow forward on everyone,” Cooper added. “We caught the first knock so everyone rotated and we just tacked and we were off. The wind went left a bit and we got the shift first.”

Cooper clinched the ‘A’ Series title earlier in the week and is on the verge of securing the ‘B’ Series title and completing an impressive sweep.

Sweden’s Fredric Nilsson sits in second in the ‘B’ Series standings, tied on points with Bermudian rival Hubert Watlington, but ahead on a tiebreak.

Jenkins is second in the overall standings, four points ahead of third place Rick Echard, who is also representing the United States, with two races of the ten-race series remaining.

The international regatta is being held in for the first time in two-years due to the global coronavirus pandemic, with the classic IOD racing sloop the only class represented.

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Published May 06, 2022 at 7:46 am (Updated May 06, 2022 at 7:46 am)

Cooper clinches maiden Bermuda International Race Week title in style

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