Patrick Cooper completes Race Week clean sweep
Patrick Cooper completed an impressive clean sweep of Bermuda International Invitational Race Week titles in the Great Sound yesterday.
The local helmsman had already won the ‘A’ Series and Overall Series and was on the verge of clinching the ‘B’ Series going in to the final two races of the regatta.
Cooper needed to finish no lower than fourth in the penultimate race of the regatta to seal the deal, which he won convincingly to complete the sweep.
The local team were among a trio of boats that broke away from the main bunch heading up the first beat and took the lead for good rounding the top mark, which they extended over the remaining legs on the windward/leeward racetrack.
Cooper and fellow crew Martin Siese, Bill McNiven, Melinda Bessey and Andrew Butterworth stamped their authority throughout the regatta having won all but two races of the ten-race series, including five on the trot.
They finished no lower than second and did not compete in the final race having already clinched the ‘B’ Series title with a race to spare.
“It has been a very good week in general,” Siese, the team’s tactician, toldThe Royal Gazette. “Most of the things we tried worked, which always does not happen in sailing. Everything was good.
“Beautiful conditions and generally our trimmers did a good job trimming. Patrick on the helm did a really great job driving and I think were just that little bit faster than everybody else. That was the difference.
“Even if we were not right on the start at the start line, 500 yards later we were clear enough to be able to take when we wanted to.
“It made the tactics quite easy to call because once you are clear to tack and be able to tack when you want the wind tells you where to go.
“So we got clear quick enough, soon enough and we basically sailed at the front of the fleet all week, which was a wonderful thing.”
Bermuda’s Hubert Watlington edged American rival Rick Echard for second in the ‘B’ Series by a one point margin. Echard was also pipped by compatriot Courtney Jenkins for second overall on a tiebreak.
“We tried to chase down Courtney Jenkins, we tied and he won the tie breaker,” Echard, who represented North East Harbor, Echard said. “It was close and a good fight.”
Jenkins, who competed under the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron banner, added: “It’s good to have throw outs.
“We were able to hold on to our second place overall on a tiebreaker, which is even better because we have lost a number of regattas on tiebreakers.
“This time the tiebreaker went our way and the North East Harbor team sailed very well, and that’s why we were tied.”