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Patrick Cooper remains in charge at Bermuda international regatta

Bermuda’s Patrick Cooper, left, battles rival Tod Williams of Fishers Island for the lead during this week’s Bermuda International Invitational Race Week regatta in the Great Sound (Photograph supplied)

Patrick Cooper has maintained his advantage in the 72nd Bermuda International Invitational Race Week regatta with two races remaining,

The two-times defending champion has a five-point advantage over the second-place team led by English helmsman and multiple regatta winner Giles Peckham, who is representing the Cowes Daring fleet and has returned this year from a long hiatus.

Cooper’s team, which also includes Martin Siese, Andrew Butterworth and Bill McNiven, put one hand on the coveted Vrengen Gold Cup after clinching the ‘A’ series on Tuesday but trail the American team, led by joint helmsmen Courtney Jenkins and Tom Price, by four points with three races gone in the B Series.

The defending champions did not enjoy the best of times competing in the Great Sound on Wednesday having finished third and sixth in the two races contested.

“Not our best and we struggled a little bit with the boat trying to get it up to speed,” said team tactician and former helmsman Siese.

“We are pretty happy with our third but obviously not so happy with our sixth, but we are still in the hunt and luckily we minimised the damage and are still leading overall.

“We have got another day to go that we are looking forward to and hopefully we can hold on tomorrow.”

Jenkins and Price, who are representing Maryland-based Gibson Island Yacht Club, coped best around the windward-leeward racecourse in the favourable 15-17kt breeze to keep the pressure on Cooper and company.

“I have been here many times and haven’t finished in the money for a while and this time I’ve got a shot, so I am feeling particularly good right now,” Jenkins said.

“I lost in a tie-breaker to Patrick Cooper a couple of years ago and have not won this event before. That’s why I keep coming back because someday I want to win this event.

“It is very close and today was a different day altogether because we had more wind from the same direction.

“The sailors that like more wind probably were able to sail a little better today than they had been in the fluky light air the preceding two days and we saw some different leaders today.

“One of the other reasons we did well today was because we had a good boat, which is Patrick Cooper’s personal boat. Half of it is luck and I got lucky and drew a good boat.”

Sadie Price, daughter of joint helmsman Tom, Biff Hearn and Murray Lee are the remaining crew members on the American team.

Durham, the remaining helmsman flying the island’s banner at the regatta, sits in third in the B series and overall.

Durham and crew Michael Richold, Roger Beach, Ahzai Smith and Heath Foggo sailed consistently in the conditions on the way to posting a fourth and first

“We had a good day,” Durham said.

“First race we were leading but had some hiccups which caused us to fall back and finish fourth.

“The second race we won leading the entire race, so today was a good day and hopefully we can continue this form tomorrow for the last day.

“We were supposed to have a break today but we didn’t because the weather is supposed to be bad on Friday, so hopefully we can keep this same form going into tomorrow.”

Also among those returning from a hiatus this year is American helmsman Steve Madeira, whose team sits seventh.

“Our results are not particularly stellar although we did a little better today,” said Madeira, who is representing the Northeast Harbour IOD fleet.

“It’s quite competitive which makes it fun, and that’s what you are here for.”

The regatta is being contested in the International One Design racing sloop which is the only class participating in this week’s regatta.

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Published May 08, 2024 at 4:06 pm (Updated May 09, 2024 at 8:11 am)

Patrick Cooper remains in charge at Bermuda international regatta

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