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Martin Siese retains IOD Race Week title

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Champions: L-R: Melinda Bessey, Patrick Cooper, Martin Siese, Andrew Butterworth and Bill McNiven (Photograph supplied)

Martin Siese and his fellow crew retained the coveted Vrengen Gold Cup on the final day of the 71st Bermuda International Race Week in the Great Sound on Friday.

The regatta leaders clinched the title after the remaining two races in the ‘B’ series were cancelled due to the strong winds.

“It feels wonderful for us to repeat last year’s performance,” Siese told The Royal Gazette. “I must admit personally it feels even better to have been on the helm and manage to match what Patrick Cooper did last year, so very happy with how the week went.”

Siese held a five-point advantage over rival helmsman and four-time regatta champion Peter Wickwire of the Nova Scotia IOD fleet, heading into the final day of racing.

The IOD fleet in action on the final day of Bermuda International Race Week in the Great Sound on Friday (Photograph supplied)

Wickwire won the only race contested in the blustery conditions to close the gap to four, but was unable to make further inroads as the adverse weather brought racing to a grinding halt.

“It was sailable the first race but once we finished they sent us in because it was a bit over the limit,” Siese added.

The defending champions found themselves towards the back of the fleet after getting off to a poor start but managed to work their way back to the front to finish second behind Wickwire.

“Wickwire had a really big lead but we actually closed right in on him up at the top,” Siese said.

“He still had the lead which he held until the finish. But we were happy to finish second because that’s all we needed once they cancelled all the racing.”

Siese and crew won both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ series on the way to securing overall honours.

The experienced sailor competed alongside fellow crew Bill McNiven, Andrew Butterworth, Melinda Bessey and Cooper who were all equal to the task on the boat.

“They did a great job in those conditions so hats off to the crew,“ Siese added.

Wickwire finished second overall with Royal Thames Yacht Club helmsman and previous leader Henry Arnold rounding of the podium finishers, a further sixteen points adrift.

“I think the week went well,” Somers Kemp, the principal race officer, said. “It was definitely a windy week, so challenging to get all the races in and were probably lucky to get one in today to be fair.

“It was quite windy out there and started to be a little bit of boat breaking conditions, so made the right decision to postpone the rest of the day.

“The good thing is both series ‘A’ and ‘B’ will count and the overall series looks good with eight races. So not too bad considering the weather conditions we had to play with this week.”

Meanwhile, only two classes were represented at the regatta this year.

Mark Cloutier and crew Adam and Debbie Barboza, Chris Powell, Christian Dunleavy, Walter Smith and George Buckley won all four races to clinch the J105 title on the opening day of racing in the Great Sound last Sunday.

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Published May 06, 2023 at 7:14 am (Updated May 06, 2023 at 7:14 am)

Martin Siese retains IOD Race Week title

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